Brodsky, Alexander
January 2015
International Multidisciplinary Scientific Conference on Social ;2015, p719
Conference Proceeding
The author argues that liberal ideology arose out of Christian concept of man. But in the 20th century, Western European liberalism underwent essential changes. It gave up on the "divine authority" and became more pragmatic. 'The Universal Declaration of Human Rights', adopted by the United Nations, in contradistinction to the American 'Bill of Rights', does not rest on the claim of the "inalienable rights of man", which have been endowed by his Creator, but only on the possibility of a consensus between different world-outlooks and cultural traditions. The modern liberal ideology is distinguished from ideologies of a different type, not so much by its content as by its consistent observation of the formal-logical principle of the non-derivability of prescriptions from descriptions. The formalism of liberalism has a general character. Liberalism is unconcerned with the content of beliefs, but is instead interested only in how these beliefs are acquired. The core of liberal ideology consists in the idea that man can think all that he thinks fit, on the condition that he thinks independently and does not alienate freedom of conscience in favour of any kind of earthly or divine authority. This formal principle was not grasped by Russian liberalism. On the contrary, almost all Russian liberals sought to portray the liberal ideology through diverse metaphysical beliefs about the essence of man. K.D. Kavelin, for example, held that the autonomy of morals was evidence of the "invisible, spiritual world", which "Christianity found" and "placed infinitely higher than the external, material world". B.N Chicherin thought that the idea of "natural right" flowed from the primordial, metaphysical freedom of man. P.I. Novgorodtsev maintained that "only in the light of the highest ideal beginnings do temporary needs receive justification". This feature made Russian liberalism inconsistent and weak. That is why by the beginning of the 20th century Russian liberalism turned into the zone of "cultural exclusion".


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