chapter  I
26 Pages

Introductory

WithM. Seliger

Liberalism has become an intellectual and political force by confronting an established theory and practice of government with a new vision and definite doctrine of politics. Misapprehensions about liberal theory are largely the result of endeavours to cope with the urgent political problems of our century. Just as in these endeavours liberalism has often been indiscriminately associated with democracy, it has also been over-sharply set apart from it. Yet, in arguing that early liberalism laid the foundation for the progressive devaluation of politics, the same writer himself enlarged upon a major theme in the long-prevailing assessment of liberalism. Liberalism does not identify a minimal state with weak government. To think so is to impute to it a serious fallacy. Clearly, to function effectively as the instrument of the socially and economically successful minority of society, a government can hardly be allowed to be weak.