慶應SFC 1995年 環境情報学部 英語 大問2 全文(正答済み)

 Liberalism, in politics, is a doctrine that holds that constitutions, laws, and political proposals should promote individual liberty based on the exercise of rational will. Because this criterion is ambiguous, a great variety of conflicting views have claimed the title “liberal.”

 One way to grasp the idea central to liberalism is to consider what liberalism is not. From a liberal point of view, the slave and the serf are the most miserable of men — the slave because he is at the mercy of arbitrary despotism, and the serf because his life is repressively regulated by customary rules and duties. Neither can exercise his rational will. Despotism and feudalism are the twin enemies of liberalism.

 The word “liberal” may be used to describe either a type of constitution or the tendency of a political party. A liberal constitution is characterized by the establishing of the rule of law, freedom of political organization, an independent judiciary, and a government  (responsive to public opinion. Within such a constitutional system, the word “liberal” generally describes the party or tendency that promotes change by constitutional means, as against the “conservative” tendency that generally opposes change and upholds inherited values.

 The model for this distinction between liberal and conservative tendencies is British politics of the 19th century. Even this model is imperfect, however, because political parties in liberal countries commonly have only a loose attachment to any political principle. For example, in the United States in the mid-20th century, the two major political parties might both have been described as “liberal,” though in different senses of the word. The Republicans stood for a minimum of governmental interference with the affairs of individuals, while the Democrats generally favored legislation to supply underprivileged individuals with what were thought to be the essential conditions for the exercise of individual liberty.

 Wherever and whenever it has become current, “liberal” has acquired local  (overtones. In France it has been associated with anticlericalism, because the Roman Catholic Church was viewed as the embodiment of feudalism. In Germany liberals have always supported party politics against the old Prussian tradition of absolute government. In Russia and Spain the liberals traditionally have supported a policy of political democracy and industrial modernization, in contrast with those who believed that such innovations would destroy the unique moral qualities of Russian or Spanish life.

 Origin of Liberalism — Because liberalism, in its most abstract sense, is a belief in the value of individual liberty with a minimum of state intervention in personal life, its origin may be sought as far back in remote times as one chooses. The Devil has been called the first Whig (liberal, because, in the form of a serpent, he persuaded Eve to throw off the authoritarian yoke of God. But not until the 16th and the 17th centuries did a political doctrine arise that may confidently be regarded as liberal. This was the social contract theory, which asserted that political authority had originally been established by free and rational individuals as a device for combining freedom with the fruits of social cooperation. Government, accordingly, rested on consent.

 By the 18th century the social contract theory of government had displaced its main rival, the divine right of kings doctrine, which asserted that rulers exercised authority by gift from God. The popular version of the social contract envisaged a contract between rulers and ruled and granted the people the right to displace rulers thought to have broken the contract. The metaphor of a contract requires an impartial party to judge whether the contract has been broken, and in politics no such party exists. The more carefully considered versions of the theory — those of Hobbes, Locke, and Spinoza — all take this difficulty into account. Later liberal writers have tended to dispense with the metaphor of a contract.

 Beginning in the 18th century the many strands of liberalism became vastly complicated. The best simplification is to consider first the history of what may be called “classical” liberalism — classical because it was the first, and remains possibly the purest, of liberal tendencies. Then we should consider the parallel political views that came to share the name liberalism and rose to dominance.

 Classical Liberalism — After the Revolution of 1688, Britain was thought to be the country whose political practices were the most free. The revolution had ensured that rulers would act according to legal process and that the judiciary was independent of political control. French writers like Voltaire and Montesquieu contrasted this situation with that of France where,  (since government in many respects was mild, it could act in an arbitrary way. Sentiments favorable to liberty were also widely promoted in the 18th century by a passionate admiration for ancient Rome that was especially strong in France and the American colonies.

 The American Revolution gave  (further impetus to liberalism. The rhetoric of the Declaration of Independence asserted the liberal principle that all men have the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It was soon echoed by the French Declaration of the Rights of Man, which made liberal ideas the  vehicle of a revolutionary ferment throughout Europe.

 Liberalism in the 19th century may be seen as the political wing of a larger movement toward the rationalization of traditional practices and the  recovery of the resources of the earth. But complications invaded liberal thinking, which have rendered liberalism ambivalent ever since. Many liberal-minded persons became concerned with the conditions of the poor and the plight of other groups considered “underprivileged.” It seemed to them that liberalism’s basic objection to state intervention was not appropriate to these problems. Many problems could be solved only by collectivist measures taken by representative government.

 One result of this opinion has been a vast quantity of social welfare legislation. It has also produced a persistent incoherence within liberal doctrine. For liberalism encompasses strong tendencies hostile to anything more than a minimum amount of state regulation of social life and, on the other hand, equally strong tendencies to employ the state’s powers of compulsion to solve a variety of problems ranging from racial prejudice to industrial pollution.

 The “New” Liberalism — To understand the growth of this second tendency, a virtually separate history of liberalism must be considered. This view of liberalism derives from a conception of the modern state not as an association of independent individuals but as a productive enterprise to be managed by its ruler. It is a concept held by men otherwise as different as John Calvin and Francis Bacon, and it has its theological roots in the Christian injunction that men should enjoy the fruits of the earth. In the 18th century this concept was developed and popularized as a set of doctrines called by its promoters “enlightenment.”

 “Enlightened” ideas spread quickly throughout Europe, finding favor in two very different quarters: among the middle classes of the towns, who generally were excluded from political activity, and among many of the absolute rulers of Europe. A result was that, in the second half of the 18th century, politics commonly resolved itself into a struggle between a reforming king supported by a largely middle class bureaucracy, on the one side, and entrenched corporations and parliaments, generally aristocratic, on the other.

 The “enlightened despot” justified his absolute powers by regarding himself as “the first servant of the state” and his subjects as equal in the eyes of the state. He established schools to teach useful knowledge and a civil service based on merit, and he sought to inaugurate town planning, to reduce church privileges, and to increase the wealth of the state.

 This type of policy was followed, with varying success, by Frederick the Great in Prussia, Catherine in Russia, Joseph II in Austria, and Charles III in Spain, among others. The reforming rulers, supported by the philosophers of the Enlightenment, found themselves locked in a struggle with the aristocracy and the church. The issue was between feudal custom and a centralizing rationality that sought to turn the state into an  efficient institution.

 The crucial case was that of France, where a series of reforming monarchs and ministers failed to make much impact upon the church and the aristocracy. Finally, a violent revolution swept aside the ineffective Bourbon monarchy in  favor of the far more ruthless revolutionary and Napoleonic governments, which carried through the programs of the reformers much more successfully and which consequently achieved great military power. Similar reforms in Germany during the 19th century also greatly increased military efficiency.

 This form of liberalism has been dominant on the European continent. It is allied to classical liberalism by virtue of sharing some planks of policy and one enemy: feudal and entrenched interests. But, whereas classical liberalism is consistently hostile to the power of the state in any form, the newer liberalism is friendly to any state power that shares its aims.

 Many later intellectual developments have given impetus to the new liberalism. First, toward the end of the 19th century, a compassionate sensibility developed among Europeans. The old political concern with justice was jostled by a new concern with happiness, and political discussion concerned itself with classes of persons who were thought to have been deprived of happiness by the arrangements of society: slaves, prisoners, women, the poor, prostitutes, racial minorities, and so on.  Preoccupation with such concerns led many persons in the 19th century from liberalism to socialism, which, in some forms, is a modified version of modern liberalism.

 Second, many persons became fascinated with the possibility of bureaucratic organization, by contrast with which the hit-and-miss of capitalist entrepreneurs seemed outmoded and inefficient. Third, moral admiration was directed away from the person who mastered his passions and committed to authority and toward the one who struggled against authority. Fourth, many things previously attributed to the “original sin” of human nature came to be attributed to the irrational fries of social structure. And finally, these enlightened ideas, although they had earlier been associated with despotism, gained democratic favor from their sponsorship by the French revolutionaries. All these considerations facilitated the advance of modern liberalism.




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