Liberalism and Social Action
In Liberalism and Social Action, John Dewey (1859-1952), one of America's leading social philosophers, surveys the history of liberal thought from John Locke to John Stuart Mill, in his search to find the core of liberalism for today's world. While liberals of all stripes have held to some very basic values - liberty, individuality, and the critical use of intelligence - earlier forms of liberalism restricted the state function to protecting its citizens while allowing free rein to socioeconomic forces. But, as society matures, so must liberalism as it reaches out, to redefine itself in a world where government must play a role in creating an environment in which citizens can achieve their potential. Dewey's advocacy of a positive role for government - a new liberalism - nevertheless finds him rejecting radical Marxists and fascists who would use violence and revolution rather than democratic methods to achieve social objectives.