Centre For Idealism And The New Liberalism

You can’t, to quote Frank Sinatra, have one without the other. But like love and marriage, and a horse and carriage, in reality liberalism and democracy are not connected inextricably. Authoritarian populists, for example, often support a pure democracy, unchecked by liberal institutions, rights, laws and norms.

Liberal political theory has come under increased criticism in recent years for its supposed inability to sufficiently ‘accommodate’ or ‘recognise’ cultural difference. The thesis examines these claims and argues that liberalism is more resistant to criticism than many non-liberals believe. The thesis argues that liberalism is a necessarily ‘comprehensive’ doctrine, committed to the principle of individual autonomy and that this places constraints upon what groups can and cannot be allowed to do in the name of cultural values. It therefore challenges those ‘political liberals’ who seek to isolate individual autonomy as valuable only in the political sphere, and those other liberals who argue … Read More