Is Liberalism Dying?


Clearly, the ideology of liberalism did not spring out fully from some supernatural intellectual. It was, rather, gradual development of the philosophy and politics of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. However, these ideas can be traced back to John Locke’s beliefs, a seventeenth-century English philosopher. Locke believed that all people are born equal and individuals should be allowed to exercise sovereignty over their own rights. This contention that freedom is a primitive possession of equal individuals in society, something with which they are born and something that can only be legitimately constrained with their consent, is the foundation of liberalism, and in fact, the most important premise of liberalism. Therefore, the consent of the ruled is the foundational building block of liberal democracy.

Fundamentally, the goal of liberalism is to enhance freedom so that all people can achieve a great level of self-peace and self-fulfilment. To this end, not only is government a contract that people can dissolve but so are all relationships except the relationship you have with God. Friendship, marriage, and work, if they do not enhance well-being, then they are eliminable. So, given all that liberalism stand for, I think it means that even the borders of countries are deprivations of the freedom of individuals to move freely from place to place. This is arguable. If I am bound to the country of my birth without my consent, is that not an infringement on my right to freedom of movement?

Despite the forces that impinge on it, it is great to know that liberalism has contributed to the growth of humanity’s well-being almost more than any ideology I can think of. This is arguable. Its emphasis has led to the abolition of slavery, inhumane punishments, women’s suffrage and much more. Liberalism was energetic and emancipating centuries ago. Today, it is struggling to cope with the challenges of a rapidly modernizing world characterized by acrimony, infringements and inequality.

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