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date: 01 December 2021

p. 192. The liberal narrativelocked

p. 192. The liberal narrativelocked

  • Michael Freeden

Abstract

Liberalism began as a movement to release people from the social and political shackles that constrained and frequently exploited them. ‘The liberal narrative’ considers the story of liberalism and the convergence of different movements of thought—individualism, utilitarianism, free trade, liberal nationalism, and social liberalism—that have produced an array of ideas that served to consolidate liberalism. Human beings—rather than nature, God, hierarchical and hereditary rulership, or the weight of history—were now firmly placed at the centre of the social universe. For liberals, liberty—whether that of individuals, markets, or communities—was the engine that made a wholesome society possible and that could stretch human imagination and experience to their very limits.

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