Liberalism and Socialism share the ideology of separation of church and state. The origin of this idea results from the tragedies executed by the state during the middle ages. The Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition serve as an example of the misuse of power that originated as the church was openly involved in politics. The Enlightenment emerged to counter the church-based thinking, because it shifted the focus towards the individual. This new philosophy brought upon the liberal philosopher John Locke, who called for a clear separation between the church and the state.
Locke stated “Political society is instituted for no other end, but only to secure every man’s possession of the things of this life. The care of each man’s soul, and of the things of heaven, which neither does belong to the commonwealth nor can be subjected to it, is left entirely to man” (Ishay, 78). Locke argues that the government has to legislate in favor of the individual because men are the center of life and not the church. Moreover, he argues for the protection of possession to ensure each man has the same rights.
Locke’s philosophy centered on the humans became the core ideal behind human rights because he advocated for a government for the people since he understood that the past church centered government did not fully provide humans with liberty. Similarly, the socialist conception of human rights advocates for the separation of church and state. Karl Marx, the father of communism, argued for this separation because he views religion as the “opium of the people” (Ishay, 130). Marx viewed religion as a distraction for people to not realize the oppression they faced.
Marx’s philosophy is a reaction to the industrialization of the countries and his believed oppression to the majority working class who endured poverty, while their bosses lived lavishly. Marx particularly focused on class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Unlike Locke, Marx focused on human rights through a microscope on economic disparity that resulted from industrialization. Marx viewed his proposed economic system of Communism as the only way human rights would properly work because if not economic inequality would favor the elites.
Elite dominated, according to Marx, will lead for universal human rights, which would not be equal for all and thus establishing a contradiction. Despite, their differences both ideologies favor the separation and state since they both support political systems centered around men. The humanistic focus by Liberalism and Socialism lead for the idea of the right to live. Both these ideologies shifted away from the church to promote human freedoms. The essential human freedom is to live, because without life the other human rights would be pointless.
Thomas Hobbes argues for the right to life as he states “each man has to use his own power, as he will himself for the preservation of his own nature that is to say of his own nature- that is to say his own life” (Isahy, 85). Hobbes is a firm believer of this right because men will act in self-interest to benefit themselves. Hobbes’ idea lead to the origin of selfdefense as a law because men have to act accordingly to protect themselves since they forge their destiny. Marx, agreed for the right to live, but he viewed the implementation of this law differently. Marx stated “the first premise of all human history is… s the existence of living individuals. Thus the first act to be established is the physical organization of these individuals and their consequent relation to the rest of nature ” (Ishay, 133). Marx argues primarily for the organization of humans considering that humans shape their environment. This ideology followed the idea of how environment shapes behavior. Therefore, human morality would socially create different classes to shape and dictate the environment. Consequently, the socialist philosophy views this as problematic because the difference of living standards.
The economic disparity would effectively create oppression for the majority, a quality Marx found unsustainable. Evidently, Marx advocates for right to live, but he does so in a different manner than Hobbes because Marx focuses on how the majority will live. Liberalism and Socialism differ in execution because believes in individual liberty, while the socialist believes in collective rights. The different philosophies go about the idea of rights because of their focus. Locke, who focused emphatically more on humans, believed in humans constructing their own destiny as free individuals. Locke argued, “everyman has a property in his person; this nobody has a right to but himself.
The labor of his body and the work of his land, we may say, are properly his” (Isay, 93). Locke addresses freedom by arguing that each man owns his body and is therefore free to do as he pleases with it. Moreover, Locke’s argument is prevalent with his idea of humans as he views them as free individuals who do not have to act to appease set organizations or governments. Therefore, Locke’s rationale leads to implementation of right to property because humans will not only require this, but also is part of the freedom granted by universal rights.
With this freedom, Locke effectively makes his argument for individual rights. Unlike Locke, Marx views individualism as a product of the environment the individual inhabits. Contrary to Locke, Marx did not approve the idea of private property. Marx displays his disapproval as he states “as long as property rights are the concrete application of liberty and equality, then liberty and equality are nothing more than an abstraction, or rather the rights of egoistic and “selfish monads” (Ishay, 138).
His idea argues around the accusation that property is theft because unlike the right to live, right of free speech, and right to security, this right is restricted. If the right is restricted, then it cannot be right. Marx’s argument is part of his criticism of capitalism since it creates economic inequality, which is why Marx is an advocator for collective rights since they are not limited to anyone. Certainly, the individual rights Liberal and socialist conception of human rights ultimately differentiated their values through their implementation of opposite economic systems.
Liberalism, through its advocation of private property and freedom pushed towards capitalism. Capitalism was seen the adequate system to operate society because it allowed humans to act with freedom. Michelin Ishay presents capitalism stating” free commerce, most liberals believed, would encourage peace and the spread of republican states by rendering individuals and as well as nations useful to one another” (Ismhay, 145). Ishay argues that democracy will accompany capitalism since they both evoke the liberal values of human freedom.
Moreover, he argues that through trade and democracy, states will prefer to trade than resort to engage in war. Conversely, socialism argues for an economic system based around equal distribution. Ishay pointed out that the socialist were against the inequality in the nature of capitalism. He said,” rejecting the liberal belief that free markets and trade would advance human rights, socialists remained divided over the best means of implementing their egalitarian vision” (Ishay, 120). Under the socialist state, class system will be solved through an equitable distribution of wealth.
Marx in his view of oppression argued against the living conditions that occur in capitalism, where elites run society. Therefore, Marx argues for a society where collective rules and government control will erase oppression because he argues capitalism’s competitive nature does not benefit all members of society. Max ultimately, would dismiss Ishay quote on the idea about capitalism and peace because he views the competition for money as a threat to society and a cause to war. The distinction of both Liberalism and Socialism serves to create two polar opposite ideologies regarding the implementation of human rights, where
Liberalism will focus on individual rights, while Socialism will focus on collective rights to erase inequality. Liberalism and Socialism are polar opposite views regarding the makeup of human society. Although they both advocate for the separation of church and state, both ideologies differ on the other aspects of human social organization. The distinction between the two is a result of their economic philosophy. Liberalism, since it argues for individual rights, works perfect with capitalism because capitalism too relies on individual rights and property rights to function.
On the other hand, Socialism reacts to capitalism and liberalism by pushing for a more equalitarian society. Socialism views the world through economic inequality, which leads it to conclude that inequality effectively hurts the majority. The good for the majority ideology, leads Socialism to push for collective human rights with the idea that property rights cannot universal rights because property is not properly available to all. The differences between the two are extremely important because they have led to critical observations and changes on the way humanity shapes its organizations.