Liberalism is a political thinking whose ideology is founded on equality and liberty. Liberals are popular for their support of civil rights, press freedom, fair and free elections free trade as well as religious freedom and private property. Liberalism was not a divergent political movement until the 17th century with the endorsement of John Locke. On the other, hand, classical republicanism is a republicanism ideology which was developed in the Renaissance period. It is also known as civil humanism and is based on three main concepts. These are civic virtue, civil society and mixed government. One of the first philosophers to introduce classical republicanism was Niccolo Machiavelli. It is often argued that Machiavelli was not a classical republican since he described medieval political relations yet some scholars relate his work to classical republicanism. Therefore, liberals lay their claim on what they themselves do not practice. Liberals claim they fight for justice, equality and fairness, yet their policies and apparent actual ignorance of the issues facing the common man have continually eluded them.
Let us begin with the first, Exclusion Clauses in Liberalism by Domenico Losurdo,
In the left, frustration with the liberal politicians is very common. As a result, people have the tendency look to organizations and parties as an alternative to the right wing. Liberal politicians and the supporters of their ideologies like to talk about democracy and human rights. They also like to talk about the well-being of ordinary people. They also claim to be fighting against sexism, racism and oppression. Nevertheless, this is in doubt in reference to the former president Clinton support of the Death Penalty and President Barrack Obama’s extension of the policies of George Bush.
In reference to Domenico Losurdo’s book ‘Liberalism: A Counter-History’, there is nothing new in this. He says that there is something called “exclusion clauses” has always contradicted liberalists’ claims of support equality, justice and freedom. The author says that liberalism is nothing short of a thought whose central concern is an individual’s liberty. In the book, he offers numerous examples. For example, he discusses the American Revolution and the arguments accompanying it. The founding fathers of the nation, together with their followers were themselves liberal freedom advocates. In the despotic monarchy of Britain, they called for freedom. In a way, this is correct. Nonetheless, the writer goes deep. The so called freedom lovers were colonial slave owners yet the colonialists were great crusaders of anti-slavery.
The American Civil War, the author says, was a war of great ferocity and magnitude which up to date dispels racism. To overcome exclusion, characteristic to the United States liberal tradition, the human rights activists have continued to form unions. The freed slaves also formed their own unions and preferred living in other places. For example, blacks prefer living in southern parts of the country while Caucasians prefer north. Fight for supremacy and regression continue to date. Struggles in the 1960s and 1970s is what supposedly brought an end to these structures. The criminal justice system was corrupt and the industrial prison system complex. This is what Lesurdo writes about.
Lossurdo talks about the exclusion clause. He says that there is something called “exclusion clauses” has always contradicted liberalists’ claims of support equality, justice and freedom. The author says that liberalism is nothing short of a thought whose central concern is an individual’s liberty. However, Thomas Paine was central in the call for American Independence. He was also active in the French Revolution. He wrote the Common Sense which talked about human rights. He says that men cannot enjoy the rights of both uncivil and civil state together. His thought on liberalism is that every individual has equal rights. Nevertheless, it depends on the nature of the state. He adds that the arm not the society is needed to secure the rights of the society itself. Paine also distinguishes between natural rights and the ones that are not. If the constitution is unable to contain and distinguish both, then it is not a constitution. He concentrates on the right of conscience. Unlike the previous statesman, he does not highlight on slavery though it is a major part of freedom liberalization and right of conscience. The states man further adds that the sovereignty of the republic lies on the fact that there must be distinction between right and wrong and that should be in their consciences.
In addition, Mr. Paine said that there must equal rights in the justice system. It does not matter whether one group is more than the other, what matters, according to Paine is that the whole system is equal. Strength of numbers does not matter in order to accomplish it. The sovereignty of the republic lies in the keeping of right and wrong in its conscience. It is also similar to the sovereignty of justice. It contracts the sovereignty of will. In his book, Common Sense, the author Thomas Paine presents arguments for the support of American independence. It starts with an overall, theoretical reflection on the religion and government and then proceeds to discuss the specific situation on the colonial front. According to him, the society and the government are two distinct bodies. Though the classical republicans were doubtful about the notion of commerce as they feared it would lead to selfishness, Paine on the other hand asserted that commerce is important for expanding the economy of any nation. However, Common Sense also brings out Paine’s fundamental conflict between the trade and political virtue. He advocated the notion of commercial liberty, but it did not let go of the vision of commercial society On the one hand, society is the constructive good which people attain with joint collaboration; while on the other hand; government is a body which protects human beings from their own evils (Paine, 1776). The sole purpose of the Government is to protect the liberty, life and property. Thus, a government should be evaluated only on the basis of the extent to which it was successful in attaining its purpose. . “Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices.” (Paine, 1776, p 2)
For supporting his ideas, Paine presents an imaginary scenario where in a small group of people are placed on one island, which has been cut off from the rest of the society. As time passes, these people develop an attachment for each other and lawmaking slowly becomes inevitable. Now if the people were allowed to make their own laws and rules, they are much happier. Here, the author is implicitly giving pro-independence arguments, stating that such a system of lawmaking was also be better for the American Colonists (Paine, 1776). The author also expresses his disagreement and disapproval for the reign if British in America. Criticizing the British form of the government, the author states that it is highly rife with contradictions, is too complex, and is granted more power than it should be. That was the view of Thomas Paine. Edgar Huntley nevertheless had liberal doctrines that differ compeletely with both Paine’s and Losurdo’s.
In his book Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Huntley; Or, Memoirs of Sleep-Walker, the author undermines the classical republican or liberal doctrines which apparently animated the American Revolution and its aftermath. During the time in which the literary work is set, the American frontier was struggling with the chaos and tension which prevailed amongst the people. The newly born nation after the much glorified American Revolution was just beginning to get on its feet and it was becoming difficult to find the combat the xenophobia and the perceived disloyalty.
The Indian raids and the other criminal activities were creating a state of chaos amongst the people living in the newly created states. The economy though was moving forward, it did so only haltingly (Brown. 1988). The characters of the book were shown to be dealing with a lot of displacement and the exactly mirrored the actual experiences faced by the Delaware Indians. In his novel, Brown suggests that the American frontier works as the space or wilderness for incessant memories where two sleep walkers, one an Irish immigrant, and one an American, re-enact their sordid pasts.
Thus, as opposed to the concepts of classic republicanism and the liberal doctrines of the American Revolution, Brown’s novel portrays the newly created America as a “wilderness” or “virgin land” where he represents the state of confusion through which the American people were going through.
In conclusion, Liberals advocate for the civil rights, press freedom, fair and free elections, free trade, religious freedom and private property. On the other hand, Classical republicanism is a republicanism thought developed during the Renaissance period. Domenico writes about “exclusion clauses.” His work has always contradicted liberalists’ claims of support equality, justice and freedom.
Brown, C. B. Edgar Huntly, or, memoirs of a Sleep-Walker. New York: Viking Penguin. 1988. Print.
Paine, T. Common Sense, New York: Penguin Classics. (1776)
Losurdo, D. Liberalism: A Counter Attack. New York: Verso (2011)