Crittically Assess the Statement in Order to Protect the Liberty of Individuals, the Role of the State Should Be Minimal

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By lnmamma
Words 505
Pages 3
The idea that the role of the state should be minimal in order to protect the liberty of individuals is a view fundamentally based in liberalism. Many liberals hold a positive view of human nature, seeing us as autonomous, and according to Locke and Bentham rational beings who act in their own self-interest, unlike many conservative theorists who view humans as fundamentally flawed. This positive view of human nature leads to the argument that the state should merely act as a neutral umpire, as is the view of Mill.
Firstly it is necessary to establish what liberty is. This may be considered as the freedom from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority, this is known as negative freedom, and is a view typical to liberals. Another view includes the application of positive freedom, the ability to carry out our desires and the possession of resources to do so, this requires more state intervention.

Anarchism however criticizes the state for limiting liberty unnecessarily, Individualist anarchists argue that negative liberty is required by the respect that we owe each person as sovereign over their mind. This may be supported by Locke’s view that humans are born free, however the anarchist view would be that all states oppress, according to Proudhon, the state humiliates. However Hobbes argues that in a state of nature, a society without a state, there would be a lack of negative freedom due to the ‘war of all against all’, making law a necessary evil, preventing the exploitation of individuals by other individuals. This makes the state necessary for the realisation of liberty. Too much liberty may also lead to licence and idleness. Negative liberty may also undermine traditional morality, leading to the collapse of civilised values; however this requires a biased view of morality.

To overcome this ‘collapse’ some checks must be implemented in the form of Mills…...

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