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The Significance of Liberty and Equality in Political Science

Discuss about Discussion Concerning Lliberty for International Relation?

Discussion concerning liberty and equality is one of the most significant topics in political science. Questions based on the compatibility of liberty and equality is a much-debated theme in the field of political philosophy and economics. The political and the social philosophers particularly find it difficult to balance the conflicting interests that are embedded in the two concepts. According to Seagrave (2015), liberty and equality forms the primary component of the constitutional government. However, research suggests that the fellowship of liberty and equality under the constitutional government is an unproblematic one. A society characterized by liberty and equality recognizes an inherent conflict that exists between the two mentioned values[1]. The value of liberty provides a platform for the people where they are free to think, speak and act without violating the freedom and the right of others. On the other hand, equality emphasizes on the fact that all individuals must be treated equally with dignity and shall be given a fair chance to embrace opportunities for education, success, and political involvement[2]. In fact, both the values are competitive in broader aspect even but are not compatible with one another. Thus, the present essay will specifically emphasize on the argumentative values that arise taking into consideration the viewpoint surrounding whether liberty and equality are supporting or conflicting values. 

Liberty and Equality are the two primarily values regarding which many discussions is under process in the recent years. Over the past few years, research suggests that man's quest for liberty has been as insatiable as his quest for equality[3].Taking into consideration the viewpoint of the overall subject many arguments and statements has been put forwarded by a group of writers highlighting the two basic understandings. One aspect highlight that both liberty and equality complies with one another while another set of aspect emphasizes that liberty and equality are two conflicting values that lie in conflict with one another. Thus, though lies a close relationship between the two values, millions of study suggest that there has been no effective relationship liberty equality[4]. According to George (2013), Liberty and Equality are the two values that are closely related to one another. No value of liberty exists in absence of equality. Thus, the identical conditions are being viewed from various scenarios. The morals symbolize two sides of a same coin. In accordance with Shaw (2013), the two of the most ardent advocates Lord Acton and De Tocqueville found that there has been no stable relationship between liberty and equality. According to them, liberty and equality are opposite and adversative to one another. Lord Acton once stated, "the passion for equality made vain the hope for liberty". On the other hand, the viewpoint of Lord Acton and De Tocqueville are highly condemned by the political thinkers of the modern era. Professor H.J. Laski in this connection pertinently remarked "to persons so ardent for liberty as Tocqueville and Lord Acton, liberty and equality, are antithetic things[5]. It is a drastic conclusion. But it turns, in the case of both men, upon a misunderstanding of what equality implies". In context of the present day scenario, it is believed that both equality and liberty goes hand in hand with one another. Research suggest that if a person is provided with uncontrollable liberty to do whatever he likes, he might end up in causing hard to others[6]. This will lead to confusion in the society. In the nineteenth century, the ‘Individualists’ negatively interpreted the term liberty. No stress was put upon the importance of economic equality. Stress was given particularly to the theories of Laissez Faire[7]. This led to the adaptation of the Formula of Demand and Supply, which was applied particularly by England and many other neighboring countries of Europe for understanding the correlation between liberty and equality, which in turn lead to a severe consequence. As a result, a grave reaction took place against ‘Individualism' that resulted in the birth of ‘Socialism'. Liberty has thereby no definite connotation in the absence of equality. Eminent individual Professor Laski specifically remarked, “Where here are rich and poor, educated and uneducated, we always find a relation of master and servant”[8].

The Conflict between Liberty and Equality

Laski went on exploring the views of earlier thinkers who in their opinion has mistakenly regarded liberty and equality as “antithetic things” specifically in case Tocqueville and Lord Acton. Tocqueville particularly emphasized on the possibility of tension that existed between liberty and equality but as stated in the above discussion he also stressed on the chances of reconciling them. Unlike Laski, Tocqueville pointed out that there exists no relation between liberty and equality but at one point, they reconciled with one another. As per the research based on Vecchione et al. (2013), political liberty cannot be established without equality. While understanding the Professor Jaffa's well-written book indicates there lays a basic competition between equality and liberty and the two values do not lie in compliance with one another[9]. The book specifically highlighted the general acceptance of the co-existence of the two mentioned values. Professor Jaffa gave priority to equality, which helped in strengthening the dominancy of equality over liberty. He considered ‘liberty as an implication of equality’. Mr. Pittman, an Attorney of Law, argues regarding the fact that equality' is inimical to ‘liberty. Professor Jaffa's belief concerning the balance between liberty and equality rather than giving priority to equality can also by highlighted by gathering information regarding the acceptance of the idea that has been drafted in the Constitution (Stingl 2012). Research in R.H. Tawney helped in highlighting his remark, which stated, “a large measure of equality, so far from being inimical to liberty, is essential to it”[10]. Consequently eminent economist Pollard in his statement put forwarded the idea that equality is the only solution to the problems arising due to liberty. Thus, Liberty and Equality lies in complementary to one another, and the two values cannot be opposed to each other and thereby goes hand in hand with one another. H.A Dean also supported the association of the viewpoint. According to him, “liberty and equality are not in conflict nor even separated but are different facts of the same idea. Indeed, since they are identical, there can be no problem how or to what extent they are or can be related; this surely the nearest, if not the most satisfactory solution ever devised for a perennial problem in political philosophy.”[11]

Equality is a multidimensional concept and hence diverse opinions are put forward in finding the exact relationship that exists between the concepts associated with the two values. According to Ciulla (2013), the desire to achieve equality destroys the opportunity to have full liberty as the achievement of “equality” demands “positive state action”. Equality demands a ‘positive state; while liberty demands for ‘negative state’. “The Elite theory of Democracy” lies against the principle of equality[12]. The contrasting ideas that have developed with respect to the understanding of the two values thereby helped in better understanding of the concepts underlying the two values. In accordance with the studies from Okun (2015), it can be further stated that for promoting the values of personality and personal development, liberty and equality have a common end. L.T. Hobhouse in his speech opined that the liberty cannot be attained without equality and thus stated, “Liberty without equality is a high-sounding phrase with filthy results”. Liberty lies in equality and Liberty without equality degenerates in to license and equality without liberty lapses into consistency. Professor Barker in his opinion regarding the understanding of the association between the two values stated, “Equality in all its forms, must always be subjected and instrumental to the free development of capacity; but if it is pressed to the length of uniformity; if uniformity is made to thwart the free development of capacity, the subject becomes the master, and the world is turned topsy-turvy[13]. The diversity between liberty and equality has also been described as the clash between opportunity and security. With the idea of competition and contrast between liberty and equality, there developed the notion taking into consideration of the fact that the two ideas are similar or identical. Constitutionally, liberty and equality have been shaped and redefined by the philosophy of minimum government. With reference to Reason and Faith in Modern Society, Eduard Heimann raised the old problem that highlights the issue of compatibility that existed between liberty and equality in the political community. In his ideology, he asserted, “everything in the institutions of democracy hinges on the reconciliation of liberty and equality.”[14] Heimann further contrasted this position of his with respect to what he calls "rationalist development," where he further turned "the two halves of the democracy" and placed them at opposite extremes with respect to the fateful dialects. His vision on the both the varieties of " social rationalism" thus stated that one variety has developed liberty at the expense of equality while the second variety enforced equality at the expense of liberty[15]. Thus, both came into existence from the vision of democracy in which Heimann tried to show that the values of opposite values of liberty and equality reconciled with one another. Thus, from the viewpoint of Heimann, it was taken into consideration that the liberal freedom without equality and the total equality without freedom serves as a backdrop[16]. Thus, the formal analysis makes it clear that there have been an enormous number of views of human nature behind every theory of liberty and equality that either reconciled with one another or has been put forwarded as a concept of two separate poles. According to the research based on the works of Brennan and Hamlin (2013), it is thus very much important to examine the compatibility of liberty and equality under conditions of total inequality and total equality and the partial equality. The compatibility between liberty and equality disappears where there is no existence of equality. To many of the economist reformers, one might regard the demand for liberty as demand for the abolition of the unnatural inequalities generated by history and taking into consideration the viewpoint liberty and equality are seen as brothers.

Views of Lord Acton and De Tocqueville on Liberty and Equality

This argument does not stand up to closer examination. According to Leacock (2015), if liberty is defined in terms of the reestablishment of the natural state of complete equality, the theory abolishes the realization of itself in which it has been substantially stated that men exist in total natural equality, and thus all behaviors reach beyond the reach of liberty[17]. A condition of complete equality would not only put an end to its relationship with liberty but will also help in reducing the procession of the ongoing events. Considering whether equality is a condition of liberty or whether it lies incompatible with each other that affects the whole conception of the concept that lies between equality and liberty. Taking into consideration the viewpoint of the Marxist thesis the conditions of economic equality precisely makes the necessary conditions of liberty possible. According to the research based on Hayek and Harowy (2013), liberty and equality are the two components of the political values that are highly incompatible to one another. Equality is an aid to liberty. Tawney in his famous speech on political and economic reform aptly stated that “a large measure of equality, so far being inimical to liberty, is essential to it.” According to Rawls, the conception of justice also plays a key role in realizing the basic institutions of the values of liberty and equality[18]. Rawls theory thereby helped in specifying the values of equality and liberty that are discussed within the “theory of justice”[19]  In this concept, Rawls specifically maintained the two principles of justice that are the specific form, which is able to realize the principles of equality and liberty. Thus, taking into consideration the context of the two stated principles of justice, the thesis supported his claim regarding the fact that the principles of justice effectively represented the values of liberty and equality.  Rawls further explained the relationship between the two principles that is created based on priority rules[20]. Thus, the equality and the liberty are the two moral conceptions. Rawls tension between the equality and the liberty are the prime source of the crisis in the modern society and thus attempts a proper compromise for solving the argument. Thus, in order to determine the tension between the equality and liberty, Rawl proposed his “two principles of justice” that provided the rule for how the fundamental institutions help in realizing the different values of liberty and equality.  Juan Stuart Mill thought on the concept of liberty and equality once again proved that the two concepts are complementary to one another[21]. He correctly analyzed from the perspective of social welfare and for this reason, Mill's opinion on the economic equality is necessary is establishing the essential liberty. Even in the 18th century, Roussoue argued that freedom is not possible without equality. Further analyzing the correlation between the liberty and the equality, Barker observed that equity is not a detached principle, and it stands in favor of the principles of liberty and fraternity[22]. Thus, taking into the viewpoint of the above economists it is seen that liberty lied in compliance with the concept of equality.

The importance of Economic Equality

Hence, from the above discussion it is concluded that the enlargement of the rich varieties of personalities provides a large evaluation of liberty and thereby forbids several attempts that imposed a grave intensity of social and economic equality. Liberty unites men while equality particularly emphasized on the criticism based on the social hierarchy and thereby contributed towards the stability of the community. Upon analyzing the argumentative values that popped up during the discussion helped in understanding the underlying concept that helped in showcasing the association and the conflict that exists between the two values. Therefore, liberty is hollowed without the same measure of equality and equality is meaningless without liberty. Views based on the argumentative values also helped in analyzing that political equality is a mockery in the absence of economic equality. Furthermore the discussion suggest that all the democratic institutions of the world have also incorporated liberty and equality in their constitution which commonly aims for the development of the human personality and thereby make life more worthy. Thus, it can be finally concluded that liberty without equality is narrow and equality without liberty is monotonous and both o them is an essential phenomenon for the existence of the human race.

References

Brennan, Geoffrey, and Alan Hamlin. "Conservative value." Public Choice Society (2013).

Bufacchi, Vittorio. "Justice, Equality, Liberty." Social Injustice. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2012. 111-122.

Ciulla, Joanne B. Leadership ethics. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2013.

Esteban, Joan, Gilat Levy, and Laura Mayoral. "Liberty, Equality, Religiosity." 4th International Conference on Economics of the Turkish Economic Association. 2014.

Franklin, Cary. "Marrying Liberty and Equality: The New Jurisprudence of Gay Rights." Virginia Law Review (2014): 817-891.

George, Nichole. "For Liberty and Equality: The Life and Times of the Declaration of Independence." American Nineteenth Century History 14.3 (2013): 357-358.

Hayek, Friedrich August, and Ronald Hamowy. The constitution of liberty: The definitive edition. Vol. 17. Routledge, 2013.

Joseph-Gabriel, Annette K. "Creolizing Freedom: French–Creole Translations of Liberty and Equality in the Haitian Revolution." Slavery & Abolition 36.1 (2015): 111-123.

Laborde, Cécile. "Equal liberty, non-establishment and religious freedom."Journal of Legal Theory, Forthcoming (2012).

Leacock, Stephen. Our Heritage of Liberty-Its Origin, Its Achievement, Its Crisis. Read Books Ltd, 2015.

Okun, Arthur M. Equality and efficiency: The big tradeoff. Brookings Institution Press, 2015.

O'neill, Martin. "Political values, principles of justice, and property-owning democracy." Property-owning democracy: Rawls and beyond (2012): 75.

Schwartz, Shalom. "Value Priorities and Behavior: Applying." The psychology of values: The Ontario symposium. Vol. 8. Psychology Press, 2013.

Seagrave, S. Adam. Liberty and Equality. University Press of Kansas, 2015.

The Complementary Relation between Liberty and Equality

Shaw, Bernard. Maxims for revolutionists. Zhingoora Books, 2013.

Stingl, Michael. "Equality and efficiency as basic social values." Readings in Health Care Ethics (2012): 67.

Tsesis, Alexander. For Liberty and Equality: The Life and Times of the Declaration of Independence. Oxford University Press, 2012.

Tyler, Colin. The Metaphysics of Self-realisation and Freedom: Part 1 of The Liberal Socialism of Thomas Hill Green. Vol. 5. Andrews UK Limited, 2015.

Vecchione, Michele, et al. "Voting and values: Reciprocal effects over time."Political Psychology 34.4 (2013): 465-485.

West, Robin. "Liberty, Equality, and State Responsibilities: Review of Corey Brettschneider's When the State Speaks, What Should It Say?." Brooklyn Law Review 79.3 (2014): 5.

[1] Tyler, Colin. The Metaphysics of Self-realisation and Freedom: Part 1 of The Liberal Socialism of Thomas Hill Green. Vol. 5. Andrews UK Limited, 2015.

[2] Tsesis, Alexander. For Liberty and Equality: The Life and Times of the Declaration of Independence. Oxford University Press, 2012.

[3] Franklin, Cary. "Marrying Liberty and Equality: The New Jurisprudence of Gay Rights." Virginia Law Review (2014): 817-891.

[4] Seagrave, S. Adam. Liberty and Equality. University Press of Kansas, 2015.

[5] West, Robin. "Liberty, Equality, and State Responsibilities: Review of Corey Brettschneider's When the State Speaks, What Should It Say?." Brooklyn Law Review 79.3 (2014): 5.

[6] Bufacchi, Vittorio. "Justice, Equality, Liberty." Social Injustice. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2012. 111-122

[7] Leacock, Stephen. Our Heritage of Liberty-Its Origin, Its Achievement, Its Crisis. Read Books Ltd, 2015.

[8] Esteban, Joan, Gilat Levy, and Laura Mayoral. "Liberty, Equality, Religiosity." 4th International Conference on Economics of the Turkish Economic Association. 2014.

[9] O'neill, Martin. "Political values, principles of justice, and property-owning democracy." Property-owning democracy: Rawls and beyond (2012): 75

[10] Bufacchi, Vittorio. "Justice, Equality, Liberty." Social Injustice. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2012. 111-122.

[11] Brennan, Geoffrey, and Alan Hamlin. "Conservative value." Public Choice Society (2013).

[12] Hayek, Friedrich August, and Ronald Hamowy. The constitution of liberty: The definitive edition. Vol. 17. Routledge, 2013.

[13] Laborde, Cécile. "Equal liberty, non-establishment and religious freedom."Journal of Legal Theory, Forthcoming (2012).

[14] West, Robin. "Liberty, Equality, and State Responsibilities: Review of Corey Brettschneider's When the State Speaks, What Should It Say?." Brooklyn Law Review 79.3 (2014): 5.

[15] Vecchione, Michele, et al. "Voting and values: Reciprocal effects over time."Political Psychology 34.4 (2013): 465-485.

[16] Schwartz, Shalom. "Value Priorities and Behavior: Applying." The psychology of values: The Ontario symposium. Vol. 8. Psychology Press, 2013.

[17] Vecchione, Michele, et al. "Voting and values: Reciprocal effects over time."Political Psychology 34.4 (2013): 465-485.

[18] Esteban, Joan, Gilat Levy, and Laura Mayoral. "Liberty, Equality, Religiosity." 4th International Conference on Economics of the Turkish Economic Association. 2014.

[19] George, Nichole. "For Liberty and Equality: The Life and Times of the Declaration of Independence." American Nineteenth Century History 14.3 (2013): 357-358

[20] Laborde, Cécile. "Equal liberty, non-establishment and religious freedom."Journal of Legal Theory, Forthcoming (2012).

[21] Franklin, Cary. "Marrying Liberty and Equality: The New Jurisprudence of Gay Rights." Virginia Law Review (2014): 817-891.

[22] Stingl, Michael. "Equality and efficiency as basic social values." Readings in Health Care Ethics (2012): 67.

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