Minimal State Liberalism vs. Active State Liberalism Essay (Critical Writing)

October 14, 2020 by Essay Writer

Over the years of human history, the world has witnessed many philosophies come and go. Most of them rise and fade away quickly, yet a few remain take hold, and affect the whole world forever. A good example is democracy and communism. In the U.S.A., democracy and capitalism are the overriding philosophies, yet the support for these systems has left people divided into three main categories: the liberals, the conservatives, and the radicals.

As a result of these three dominant divisions, it is evidenced that each group has a strong stand about government intervention and freedom. Minimal state liberals argue strongly that government intervention is a bad thing for the freedom of Americans and active state liberals argue strongly that government intervention is necessary to preserve the freedom of Americans.

This work contends for the view that even though government intervention may limit freedom of persons in a democracy, the system of democracy has in itself some vices that can never be left to fate. The vices of democracy are such as may lead to its own self destruction. Never once have the people been able to stand to correct the excesses of capitalism, only the government can do that (Dolbeare& Cummings, 2010).

Historically, government intervention in democracies has been in three main areas. These areas render themselves to the credence of requirement for allowing government the privilege of protecting the citizenry. The first reason is to augment power of capital as a whole within a society otherwise it becomes a reserve of the few chosen ones who exercise it on behalf of the lesser souls.

Second, at times the capitalistic gains may be skewed toward a particular segment of the society, only government intervention has the capacity to help this situation for the benefit of all parties. Last, government may intervene to put at bay the anti-social effects of capitalism.

These mentioned functions are an absolute necessity of the government in a capitalistic society that cares about the plight of its citizens as a whole. To turn against these responsibilities as suggested by minimal state liberals is therefore, myopic and naïve (Dolbeare, & Cummings, 2010).

The minimal liberals argue that the modern capitalistic government is too massive and extensive to be democratized. This may be true, but it is also true that if the government is in any way too massive then, this leaves the citizens in a precarious state. This then should then be a justifiable ground for government intervention.

The other argument offered by these minimal liberals is the issue of the mass of men in Europe or even in America who are not capable of self-governance. This view will be contrary to the very core values of the American constitution which holds that all humans are born equal. However, there is validity in their final argument that most democratic institutions may evolve as to be plutocratic.

This is definitely a positive challenge, but the countering of this problem does not lie in abandoning government interventions but rather in creating accountability on part of the government. At the same time, there must be strong will by the government to stay lean and active.

Recent events in history reveal to us the need for upholding of government especially in great economic and political crisis introduced by war. At such times, the only formidable force of lifting the people back to self-belief is a strong united government (Obama, 2013)


Dolbeare, K.M., & Cummings, M. S. (2010). American Political Thought (6th ed.). Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.

Obama, B. (2013). Second Inaugural Address. Retrieved from

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