Views Accepting That There Can Be An Ideal Social OrderJune 28, 2021
a) The approach based on freedom (Liberalism): Representatives Adam Smith, John Locke and John Stuart Mill. According to this approach, an ideal political order should be built on the foundation of freedom. Because, through human freedom, he realizes himself and becomes creative. The individual should be made as free as possible in politics (thought, expression), religion (belief), and economy (enterprise). Liberalism argues that the ideal order can be reached based on individualism, freedom, the rule of law, free market economy, and the limitation of state power against the individual.
Economic liberalism argues that the intervention of the state in economic life should be kept to a minimum. A. Smith briefly expressed this with the phrase “Let them do it, let them pass”. According to A. Smith and J. S. Mill, as individuals get richer and the level of welfare increases with free enterprise and profit motive, the society gets richer and the level of welfare increases. Thus, since the welfare and happiness of the whole society is ensured, the ideal order is realized. Political liberalism, on the other hand, argues that state powers should be restricted in every sense. Its representative is Locke.
b) The approach based on equality (Socialism): Representatives Saint Simon, Karl Marx and Robert Owen. According to this approach, an ideal political order should be built on the basis of equality. It was born as a reaction to liberalism. The application of liberalism in the economy makes the rich richer and the poor poorer with the injustice in the income distribution created by capitalism. Socialism argues that private property should be abolished and the means of production should be monopolized by the state in order to create a classless, equal and ideal society. Thus, the inequality of income distribution between the employer class representing the capital and the working class representing the labor will be eliminated and an ideal classless social order based on the equality of all people will be established.
c) Approach based on justice: Representatives Eduard Bernstein (1850-1932) and John Rawls (1921-2002). Justice is the acceptance of both freedom and equality as basic principles. Because neither freedom nor equality alone could bring societies to an ideal order. Therefore, there is a need for another foundation that will encompass freedom and equality and provide the ideal order. That foundation is justice.
Justice is giving everyone what they deserve. This approach has revealed the understanding of social law and state in practice. According to this understanding, law should be the foundation of the state. Order must take place according to the law. In such an order, freedom is the individual’s freedom to work, think and create. Equality means that everyone has the same rights before the law.
Compiled by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Grade 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and Grade 3 “History of Contemporary Philosophy” (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook