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Liberty, equality, fraternity$
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Paul Spicker

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9781861348418

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861348418.001.0001

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Towards a free society

Towards a free society

(p.43) Two Towards a free society
Liberty, equality, fraternity

Paul Spicker

Policy Press

There are close conceptual connections between liberty and democracy. Liberal democracy is based partly on the principles of liberal individualism. Its key elements are individual liberty, pluralism and the rule of law, and its primacy over government. Liberty depends not only on the absence of coercion, but also on the capacity to act and the promotion of autonomy. There is a widespread view, on the political right, that there is a contradiction between freedom and the welfare state. Since the state is closely identified with the organs of government, it reflects deliberate action by formal institutions to intervene in society. Social welfare provision, however, is not necessarily the product of state action, and the formal institutions may depend substantially on the voluntary actions of people in society. The chapter discusses how social welfare provision can be designed to protect the liberty of each person in this chapter.

Keywords:   liberty, democracy, liberal democracy, pluralism, welfare state, social welfare provision

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