• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Distinguish between negative and positive freedom and explain the implications of each for the state.

Extracts from this document...


Politics Questions Distinguish between negative and positive freedom and explain the implications of each for the state. Individual freedom is often seen as the core value of Liberalism. Nevertheless, freedom can be divided into two categories: negative and positive. Negative freedom, which is traditionally associated with Classical Liberalism, advocates the belief in non-interference, the absence of all external constraints upon the individual. This implies that individuals should be free to pursue their own interests free from outside restrictions or pressures. Nonetheless, negative freedom does not mean that individuals should have absolute and unrestricted freedom. Classical liberals, such as J.S. Mill, believe that if freedom is unlimited it can lead to "license", namely the right to harm others or to infringe their "natural" rights to "life, liberty and property". In this way, Classical Liberals often support minimal restrictions on the individual so as to prevent individuals from inflicting harm upon each other. ...read more.


The main duty of the sate is therefore to remove inequality in society by allowing a "level playing field" for all. Modern Liberals therefore support entities such as the Welfare State since it aims to help the poor and disadvantaged by redistributing wealth in their favour. In addition, Modern liberals advocate state intervention in the economy, since economic freedom can lead to exploitation. For instance, in the case of businesses, which seek to maximise their own profits, negative freedom allows employers to hire the cheapest labour force available, for example children as opposed to adults. The sate is therefore necessary to prevent such acts. Modern Liberals thus abandon the principles of laissez-faire capitalism, advocating instead the theories of J.M. Keynes. Keynes put forward the idea of regulation of equality in the economy through the injection of money into the system. Only in this way, with key economic responsibilities being placed in the hands of the state, could growth and prosperity be maintained. ...read more.


Only within a free market of ideas will "truth" emerge, as good ideas displace bad ones, Furthermore, toleration and pluralism lead to a balanced and harmonious society. Liberals believe that while groups with conflicting beliefs and interests should be free to develop, pluralism and toleration allow these groups to co-exist peacefully, accepting each other's different beliefs. Toleration and pluralism thus allow humans, who are all unique and individual, to express their various beliefs and ideologies freely within society. It should also be noted that Liberals support pluralism since it promotes distribution of political power. With power widely and evenly dispersed in society, rather than concentrated in the hands of the elite, pluralism complements democracy and ensures that those in charge respect the concerns and interests of the individual. In conclusion, it can be seen that pluralism and toleration are widely supported by liberals since they promote individual sovereignty whilst benefiting society at the same time. Tessa Jones 13.9 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Political Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Political Philosophy essays

  1. Compare and Contrast Positive and Negative Conceptions of Liberty.

    He believed that this justification began with positive liberty dividing a person into two parts - the rational and irrational self. One could further divide this into a 'higher' and 'lower' self, the 'higher' being the rational self that is moral and responsible.

  2. Power and Politics in Organizations: Public and Private Sector Comparisons

    broad conceptualization that does not take into account that, in any organization the existing 'rules of the game' even if they are considered highly rational and 'legitimate', constitute in themselves the outcome of an earlier (and typically ongoing) struggle over control of an organization's resources (Hardy and Clegg 1996: 629).

  1. Compare and contrast some of the ways in which major political thinkers have tried ...

    Hobbes Locke and Rousseau, in their theories of political obligation and social contract, tried to draw boundaries between state authority and individual freedom, in line of, aspects-state, human nature, social contract, individual and freedom. Upon, this had similar and varying arguments.

  2. Explain why the Liberals were electorally so successful so often, 1868-85?

    as he moved towards the political left he appealed to the self-respect rather than the self-interest of the working class - being, in effect, the first politician to do so - and reaped the benefits. The shift from Mr Gladstone to 'the People's William' seemed to partly be due to

  1. Russia's Political Party System as an Obstacle to Democratization

    The constitution established presidential rule by granting the president substantial powers to overcome, and even ignore, the federal assembly (of which the Duma is the lower house), including rule by decree. Since neither Yeltsin nor Putin became members of a party, presidential politics is not party politics.

  2. Notes on John Stuart Mill's On Liberty

    What constitutes harm? a) Basic answer: This is a very tricky question, and there have been very large books published which try to answer just this question. I'll do my best in a paragraph or so. Harm certainly includes most any form of physical harm (e.g., you punching me out, or you smoking near to me).

  1. What were the most important factors in the rise of the modern state?

    was not a founding moment in the history of the development of the modern state. For Krasner, the Peace of Westphalia was merely a moment when religious disputes were settled, not political. He further justifies this by arguing that even after the signing of the treaties, there continued a period

  2. Why do liberals not believe in unrestricted freedom?

    This is because some people may have more money (If money were to exist in this system) and therefore be able to be more free than everyone else, as they could buy what they want, whereas less well-off people may not be able to.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work