Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939584 | Print ISBN: 9780761930877 | Online ISBN: 9781412939584| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
This is a political philosophy, tradition, or movement aiming toward development of freedom of groups or individuals, originally founded on the Enlightenment tradition, that tries to circumscribe the limits of political power and to define and support individual rights. It can be perceived as political tradition or philosophy, or a general philosophical theory that encompasses the conception of persons, their value, and morality. The concept is itself a political current embracing several historical and present-day ideologies that claim defense of individual liberty as the purpose of government. It typically favors the right to dissent from orthodox tenets and established authorities in political or religious matters. In this respect, it is held in contrast to conservatism. Classically, liberals have tended to favor a free market economy, rejected government influence in society, insisted against mercantilism and what they identify as socialism or Marxism, and any form of collectivism. Historically, liberalism is rooted ...