LIBERALISM: SUMMARY

What do liberals stand for? What are the effects of liberal structures? What are liberals against? What comes after liberalism?
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Values of liberals

Liberals hold the following beliefs:
  • "interaction is good"
  • "interaction should be intensified"
  • "people may legitimately be forced into interaction" (as in colonial cash taxes, which forced subsistence farmers into the free market economy)
  • "interaction should be extended territorially" (for instance by military force against trade barriers)
  • "interaction should be extended by analogy", for instance from the free market to the Internet
  • except in wars of extension, liberals value peace and internal stability
  • although liberal theory rejects a priori values, most liberals believe in the ultimate value of human happiness - if necessary, overriding other moral values.

Effects of interaction

The interaction in liberal structures, such as the free market, has the following effects:
  • convergence towards a central or core culture: the more deviant the product, the less chance the market will produce it. In turn, people adjust their values to conform to what is available, and so the process intensifies. A classic example is the erosion of rail transport since 1950. Now, many people choose to live in areas which can not be served economically by rail transport.
  • in free markets there is a general conservative effect due to the inertia of multiple decision making. (In wartime, even free market economies become command economies, for rapid decision making).
  • liberal structures block and filter innovations, which are almost always deviant from national values (the core culture)
  • in liberal structures it is almost impossible to abolish or destroy anything old. In a free market, for example, it is difficult to abolish art, or demolish all religious buildings.
  • the flexibility of market organisations erodes the ability to pursue a goal. Private passenger railways, in free market economies, often found it easier to sell off their land. They started to offer road transport services instead of rail services. In general, a business cannot pursue an ethical goal, but will yield to market forces.
  • the market and similar structures can only make a collective decision: the moral autonomy of the subject is destroyed
  • the market generates failure for individuals, if they have ideals, or if their life plans do not match the collective decision of the market.

Opposition

Liberals are opposed to:
  • individual will - they think the collective will of the market must prevail. (The criticism of communitarians, that "liberals are individualistic", is absurd)
  • a defined goal for society, including any goal of change. However, liberals do not see the continuation of the existing as a goal in this sense
  • mega-projects and utopian ideas. However, free market economies also generate large projects, road construction programmes for instance
  • minor reforms, such as the abolition of the aristocracy

Post-liberalism

A post-liberal world would include:
  • a non-liberal zone, capable of defending itself against liberal expansionism
  • methods for unblocking and de-filtering, so that change can take place
  • acceptance that such a world would probably cause human unhappiness.

Ending liberalism

Liberals (correctly) believe that liberalism promotes human happiness, However, justice and innovation should take priority over happiness. The possible should be allowed to exist outside liberalism. That means: ending liberalism. The essence of liberalism is unfreedom: the opposite of liberalism is escape from liberal structures. It is a fallacy, that all forms of freedom are compatible. Freedom of innovation, especially, is incompatible with the freedom of interaction which liberals value.

Interacting to conserve
Neoliberalism
The ethics of the free market