Tension between Liberal and democratic aspects within Liberal democracy.

Essay by ManskyUniversity, Bachelor'sC+, November 2003

download word file, 4 pages 4.0

Q1. Andrew Parkin claims that there is a tension between the liberal and the democratic aspects of liberal democratic political systems. Explain what he means by this.

A Liberal democracy symbolizes the historical and ideological coexistence of two different strands of political development, inevitably combining them. These different strands are the liberal strand and the democratic strand. The results and testimony of this union is visibly embedded within western societies like Australia. As a consequence , Andrew Parkin claims that there is a conflict within liberal democracy between the liberal ideal and democratic ideal. In order to explain this, Parkin's theory will be examined by analyzing the ideas and traditions of both strands individually, thus noting the obvious differences and tensions between the two. The first to be examined will be the liberal tradition.

Historically, liberalism was a principle of emancipation from the old feudal structure of Europe. In its place, liberalism created a society based on individual rights, the rule of law and liberty.

The success of liberalism was accompanied by the success and development of the economic system known as capitalism. The two systems complimented each other, with liberalist ideology legitimizing key elements of capitalist theory: the right to accumulate private wealth, the right of ownership of private land and the right to trade freely in an open market economy. Liberalism recognized an open economy and free trade, because it produced 'public good' even though the participants in the market might be entirely selfish. This unexpected effect arose because the incentive system inherent in a competitive market meant that individuals would be rewarded by pleasing and satisfying other individuals. Classic liberalist ideals call upon the protection and defence of the private individual (his/her rights and wealth) from 'the State'. An important barrier or political device used by...