Cultural liberalism


Cultural liberalism

Cultural liberalism is a liberal view of society that stresses the freedom of individuals from cultural norms. It is often expressed, in the words of Thoreau as the right to "march to the beat of a different drummer".[1] Cultural liberals believe that society should not impose any specific code of behaviour, and they see themselves as defending the rights of non-conformists to express their own identity however they see fit, as long as they do not hurt anyone.

The culture wars in politics are disagreements between cultural liberals and cultural conservatives. For example, cultural liberals argue that all religion(s) and forms of worship (or lack thereof) should be tolerated. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance"[2] and the Constitution of the United States states that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States"[3]. Cultural liberals are strongly opposed to censorship or any kind of oversight of spoken or written material in peacetime.[4]. They believe that the structure of one's family and the nature of marriage should be left up to individual decision, and they argue that, as long as one does no harm, no lifestyle is inherently better than any other.

References

Willard, Charles Arthur. Liberalism and the Problem of Knowledge: A New Rhetoric for Modern Democracy, University of Chicago Press, 1996.

Footnotes

  1. ^ Henry David Thoreau, Walden, Conclusion, 1854.
  2. ^ http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/ retrieved 23 JULy 2010
  3. ^ Constitution of the United States
  4. ^ "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers", Universal Declaration of Human Rights, http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/ retrieved 23 JULy 2010

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