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  • 6/11/2013

Liberal Democracy (Economy, Culture, Values) 


The prevalent contemporary theory in the west is liberal democracy that advocates Minarchism (also called minimal statism). Liberals attach more importance to personal freedom in three main fields including culture, politics and economy instead of justice.

Liberalism presupposes a negative definition of liberty that is absence of pressure, coercion and external constraint, according to which people must act independently in their decision and the interference of the state and its affiliated institutions must be kept to a minimum.

Liberalists believe that the state should not interfere in economy, because it would destroy natural order, while the mechanism of free market is the best strategy for economic development. The state ought not to tamper with culture and values and religious beliefs, as personal domain, are outside of the domain of state’s authority.

Jean Hampton says: one consensus point among liberals is that the state must be committed to the principle of toleration towards various views, beliefs and cultures of its people. It ought not to interfere in people’s decisions about the best way of life.[1]

In liberalism, freedom is of pivotal importance. Therefore personal freedom and independence has no preconditions. Everyone has the right to define his happiness and good as well as the purpose of his own life. No one can force or persuade others to choose a certain way of life under the pretext of right, good or happiness, because it amounts to limiting personal independence.


[1] Jean Hampton, political philosophy, translated by Khashayar Deyhami, p. 302

Ahmad Niazi, graduate of Qom Seminary and Phd student of Al Mustafa international university

Source: political science journal, No. 3

Other links:

Classic Theories of Happiness (Aristotle)

Classic Theories of Happiness (Aristotle and Farabi)

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