Socialism and Liberalism

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Socialism and Liberalism

For hundreds of years people have been developing ideas on how governments should function and interact with their citizens. These ideas have run the gamut of possibilities from governments that control every aspect of life to governments with limited power where individual liberty is encouraged. Two ideologies that gained prominence in the 17th and 18th centuries were Liberalism and Socialism. Socialism is an ideology where citizens are best served by policies focused on meeting the basic needs of the entire society rather than by policies focused on serving the needs of individuals as individuals. (Grigsby, 2011) Liberalism arose from the writings of John Locke who believed in a limited government and protection of the rights of individuals, this is known as Classical Liberalism. This theory was expanded on in the 19th century and became known as Modern Liberalism. Modern liberals believe in an interventionist government and expansive liberty. (Grigsby, 2011) In recent years in the United States, some have tried to make these two ideologies synonymous. While they may share some characteristics these two ideologies are not the same. Socialism is not Liberalism and Liberalism is not Socialism. Interventionist government and expansive liberty are the two main points of Modern Liberalism. An interventionist government is government that takes a role in regulating economic and social interactions. (Grigsby, 2011) Expansive liberty is defined as a form of liberty promoted by interventionist government where government acts to promote conditions in which human potential can be maximized. (Grigsby, 2011) The basic components of a liberalist government would include social welfare programs, individual civil rights, and economic equality. A Liberalist government will create programs to help the poor or disadvantaged. These…...

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