Liberalism: The Basics is an engaging and accessible introduction to liberalism. The author provides a comprehensive overview of liberal practices, liberal values and critically analyses liberal theories, allowing for a richer understanding of liberalism as a whole. The book is divided into three parts: Liberal practices: the rule of law, free speech, freedom of association and movement, economic freedom and sexual freedom. Liberal values: freedom, autonomy, equality, and the universal values of political societies – the communal identity – and well-being of their members. Liberal theories: natural rights, utilitarianism, Kant's rationalism and the contemporary theories of John Rawls and the post-Rawlsians. Presented in a clear and concise way, this book will be an ideal introduction for students and scholars of liberalism, political philosophy, political theory and political ideology.
Liberalism in politics is associated with nonauthoritarianism, the rule of law, constitutional government with limited powers, and the guarantee of civil and political liberties. A liberal society is tolerant of different religious, philosophical, and ethical doctrines and allows individuals to freely form and express their conscientious convictions and opinions on all matters and live according to their chosen purposes and life paths. In economic terms, liberalism is associated with an unplanned economy with free and competitive markets, as well as private ownership and control of productive resources.The basic institutions that are characteristic of a liberal society are constitutionalism and the rule of law; equal basic rights and liberties; formal equality of opportunity; free, competitive markets with private property in means of production; government's obligation to provide public goods and a social minimum; and the fiduciary nature of political power to impartially provide for the public good. Liberals interpret these basic institutions differently. Classical liberalism regards extensive property rights and economic liberties as basic, while libertarians see all rights as property rights and as absolute. High liberalism regards economic liberties as subordinate to personal and political liberties and subject to regulation, with redistribution of income and wealth to mitigate gross inequalities and provide all citizens with adequate resources to guarantee the worth of their basic liberties and opportunities.