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Liberal Practice, Liberal Theories, The Historical Development Of The Liberal Idea, Some Issues In Liberal Theory And Practice

It is widely agreed that fundamental to liberalism is a concern to protect and promote individual liberty. This means that individuals can decide for themselves what to do or believe with respect to particular areas of human activity such as religion or economics. The contrast is with a society in which the society decides what the individual is to do or believe. In those areas of a society in which individual liberty prevails, social outcomes will be the result of a myriad of individual decisions taken by individuals for themselves or in voluntary cooperation with some others.

Liberalism in the political sphere cannot be a simple application of individual liberty, because decisions have to be taken collectively and are binding on all. Political liberalism means, first, that individual citizens are free to vote for representatives of their choice and to form voluntary associations to promote their ideas and interests in the realm of collective decision-making. Second, it means the adoption of constitutional procedures for limiting government power and making it accountable to the citizens.

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