Monday, 16 July 2012


Liberalism (from the Latin liberalis) is a political ideology or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally liberals support ideas such as free markets, constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights and the free exercise of religion.

Liberalism first became a powerful force in the Age of Enlightenment, rejecting several foundational assumptions that dominated most earlier theories of government, such as nobility, established religion, absolute monarchy, and the Divine Right of Kings. The early liberal thinker John Locke, who is often credited for the creation of liberalism as a distinct philosophical tradition, employed the concept of natural rights and the social contract to argue that the rule of law should replace absolutism in government, that rulers were subject to the consent of the governed, and that private individuals had a fundamental right to life, liberty, and property.

The revolutionaries in the American Revolution and the French Revolution used liberal philosophy to justify the armed overthrow of tyrannical rule. The nineteenth century saw liberal governments established in nations across Europe, Latin America, and North America. Liberal ideas spread even further in the twentieth century, when liberal democracies were on the winning side in both world wars and liberalism survived major ideological challenges from fascism and communism. Today, liberal political parties remain a political force with varying degrees of power and influence on all major continents.

A twenty-first century development is an emerging new liberalism that is centered on the concept of timeless freedom (ensuring the freedom of future generations through proactive action taken today).This is an idea that has been endorsed by the President of Liberal International Hans van Baalen.