Most of the academic debate and analysis that specifically turns its attention to public policy is written from the perspective of governance within liberal democratic states whose ideological foundations were briefly outlined in the profiles of ideas systems at the end of Chapter 4. In this chapter and passim throughout the rest of this study liberal democracies are a central focus. This chapter provides a detailed discussion of the development of this ideological position and its associated ethical values, from its largely eighteenth century re-discovery to its embedding into Western political culture as the candidate for becoming the source of ‘an end of ideology’ or in reality a triumph of a single ideology. In much of Europe the ideological grounding of liberal democracies was until the early twentieth century struggling to be put into practice and it was not until after the Second World War and perhaps even the fall of the Berlin Wall that the doctrine was accepted in Eastern Europe and, at least in theory, in Russia. Subsequently, the ideology has been widely maintained, to the extent that many autocracies will claim they have a democratic foundation. It can, nevertheless, be questioned how far the democratic as opposed to the liberal element of the doctrine has been seriously realised in such regimes. Liberal democracies are not, in many of their policy making structures, that dissimilar from many developed autocracies. As observed in the previous chapter, the bureaucracy and the military are in both systems hierarchical structures. In all but the most totalitarian of states, businesses are largely organised as autocratic states with strong bureaucratic controls over their employees and policy gate-keeping reserved to a single managing director or a board of shareholders with power given in relation to the extent of ownership of each shareholder. Professional agencies are generally closed democracies open only to their members, as opposed to their clients. The democratic element of liberal democracy is premised on the argument that a

capacity for every citizen to have a voice in determining public policy within their state is assured, should they choose to exercise this right. This is guaranteed if the state allows them liberty in the form of freedom of speech, communication, assembly, provided this is not to harm the well-being or property of others, and collectively a right to choose the representatives in governments both at state and local level who will forward and implement the policy decisions that affect their society. This chapter will critically assess these arguments on the belief that liberal values allowing such freedoms can ensure the right of an individual to have some influence over determining the issues in the context of the development and evolution of public policy.