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The Western World Under the Influence of Liberalism, a Current Divided Between Criticism and Support

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Criticism & Support, Impact & Influence of Liberalism

Liberalism as we all know is the belief of freedom . The term liberalism is not used until the 19th century as a very essentially political viewpoint concerning the the very ideas of liberty, equality and civil rights. Liberalism is a political philosophy that defy old age political philosophy such as absolute monarch and challenge the idea of Conservatism. The existence of liberalism was at first not taken well by the society due to its values that go against the traditional values that liberalism seek to abolish. However liberalism still managed to survive till today.

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Criticism & Support

Although liberalism managed to bring major changes in the world in the status of race and gender, there are still many areas of liberalism been criticized. According to Francis W. Coker, from Yale University’s statement in The American Political Science Review 1953, he said the basic idea of liberalism is old and the founding of such pleas (freedom) on ideas about man’s natural traits also follow a long tradition. The particular freedoms called for have changed as denials of freedom have changed.

Reverend Johannes L. Jacobsen said although liberalism have helped drastically changed the United States society by elevating and defending the equal rights of African American citizen. Liberalism which influenced the Democratic Party, have forgotten that the civil rights vision is driven by morality but not political. Consequently, the democratic party is left vulnerable to a extreme form of liberalism, radical liberalism. Radical liberalism fights for the equality of conduct but not equality of person.

Things that was once considered immoral becomes moral. For example, abortion becomes reproductive rights, homosexual activism becomes gay rights, euthanasia becomes the right to die. Despite all the criticism against liberalism, support is shown to liberalism due to it’s effect to the society, according to Paul Starr from Princeton University, liberalism sought to contest conservatism for the very ground the right claims for morality and patriotism. He also said that liberalism stands not only for the principle that we all have an equal right to freedom but also for the hypothesis that this is a workable ideal, and that a politics based on liberal principles can produce the power and wealth that make a free society more than a dream. He also said liberalism sought to remind us of our responsibilities and then power of our traditions and call us to greater interest and purposes than our own.

Reverend Johannes L. Jacobse agrees that liberalism which brings the civil right movement have took the brave step of challenging not only the prevailing law but also the attitude of the American society towards the African American communities that have existed for two centuries. The civil rights movement were responded well by the Americans. He said the success of the civil rights movement shaped the Democratic party with it’s guiding principle is that all men are created equal. According to the reverend, the African American community re allow to swim together with the White American after the movement without any limited time.

Impact & Influence

Since the existence of liberalism, many accomplishment has done due to liberalism. The impact and influence of liberalism can be see all around the world in many forms. One of the most prominent impact and influence of liberalism is gender equality. Through liberalism, feminism rises and woman’s right is fought to give them education, career, equal pay, and ending job sex segregation. Which traditionally, only man is given education and job while woman stay in the house only to learn how to housekeeping.

Feminism seeks to destroy or abolish that give either men or woman advantage and privileges. The liberal feminism have influenced the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the United States of America’s Equal Rights Amendment. In the Declaration of Human Rights on Article 1 states that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. This clearly shows that the influence of liberalism in this article. The same influence is shown in Article 2 as well stating that everyone is entitled to all rights without distinction between race, colour and the most importantly sex or gender. The Equal Rights Amendment has a long history fighting for equal rights, it was proposed in 1923 but only passed by the Congress in 1970. However, it was short of three states to be part of the United States Constitution. In Section 1 of the Equal Rights Amendment it states that equality of rights shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.

Liberalism also fought for racial equality, the best example is the American Civil War, although liberalism is not the main reason for the civil war but it is the influence of racial equality that is practised by then president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln which opposed slavery. The war even pitted brother against brother because of this perceived absence of freedom on both sides. The South fought because the slave owner unable to keep their slave after the abolition of slavery and the North fought for the abolishment of slavery.

This influence found its way to the 1950s in the heart of Martin Luther King Jr who lead the African American Civil Rights Movement. This civil rights movement is the movement that was mentioned by Reverend Johannes L. Jacobse, which grew out in the long struggle for racial justice for the African American community. This movement effortlessly fought for desegregation and furiously are against discrimination and the denial by society of the claim to equal human and civil rights. Though they who involved in this movement are subjected to climate police brutality and lynching, their effort for racial equality prevails. Hubert H. Humphrey also joined this movement at his early political career.

Martin Luther King, Jr’s effort that led the massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama has caught the world’s attention, providing what he called a conscience coalition which inspires his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, which is a manifesto he planned to drives in Alabama to register the African American as voters. His call for the equality of human being inspires his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech during a peaceful march to Washington, DC.

Conclusion, Liberalism as we know it continue to strive in the modern world, providing the basis of a modern society, where every individuals should no longer be bound by the constraints of traditional and archaic ways. From the freeing of the slaves to the empowerment of woman worldwide, Liberalism is certainly the idea of the future.

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