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Liberal democracy: Political liberalism

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Chapter Summary

In political terms, liberalism is the principle and institutional system of liberty in polity or liberal democracy. Liberal society or liberalism constitutes, generates and predicts democracy or a free polity, as indicated by what Mannheim calls “liberal-democratic” ideology and government, and anti-liberalism non-democratic outcomes, from medieval despotism in medievalism to traditional authoritarianism in proto-conservatism to totalitarianism in fascism to neo-authoritarianism in neo-conservatism. The question may arise as to why liberalism is democracy. Liberalism is the ideal and system of democracy in virtue of its principles, institutions and practices of political liberty, pluralism, egalitarianism, justice, universalism, secularism, rationalism and humanism, while its illiberal counterparts are either anti- or under-democratic due to their opposite attributes. This chapter addresses the above question by reconsidering these main political attributes and outcomes of liberalism.

Keywords: egalitarianism; humanism; liberal democracy; liberalism; pluralism; rationalism; secularism; universalism



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