L. T. Hobhouse was a British political theorist and liberal political philosopher who is known for his contributions to the development of liberalism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Hobhouse believed in the importance of individual liberty and the rule of law, and he argued that the role of government was to create the conditions in which individuals could freely pursue their own interests and goals.
Hobhouse's liberalism was characterized by a commitment to social justice and the belief that the state should play a role in promoting the well-being of its citizens. He argued that the state had a responsibility to provide for the basic needs of its citizens, such as education, healthcare, and a safety net for those in need. Hobhouse also believed in the importance of democracy and the need for political participation by all members of society.
One of Hobhouse's most significant contributions to liberal thought was his concept of "positive liberty." This concept argued that true liberty was not simply the absence of interference from the state, but rather the ability to achieve one's own goals and objectives. To achieve this positive liberty, Hobhouse believed that the state had a role to play in providing the necessary resources and opportunities for individuals to develop their full potential.
In addition to his contributions to liberal thought, Hobhouse was also a influential advocate for social reform. He supported the rights of workers and argued for the creation of a welfare state to provide for the needs of the poor and disadvantaged. Hobhouse's ideas on social reform were influential in the development of the modern welfare state in Britain and other countries.
In conclusion, L. T. Hobhouse's contributions to liberalism have had a lasting impact on political thought and policy. His ideas on individual liberty, social justice, and the role of the state in promoting the well-being of its citizens continue to be relevant today.
Properly regarded, the attempt isnot wicked, but impossible. Yet here again we stumble on difficulties. The greatest happi-ness principle is the one and supreme principle of conduct. It was but an islet ofrelative freedom on, or actually within, the borders of a feudal societywhich grew more powerful with the generations. Now the Utilitarian principle byno means justifies such tyranny, but it does seem to contemplate theweighing of one mans loss against anothers gain, and such a method ofbalancing does not at bottom commend itself to our sense of justice.
L. T. Hobhouse and the Theory of "Social Liberalism" on JSTOR
The case of the contemplated tax is, as appliedto the politics of a modern State, an unreal one. Thus, states, both developed and undeveloped, will be more inclined to maintain the Liberal Order because they are benefactors of the current order. But fiscal liberty raises more search-ing questions than juristic liberty. Hobhouse free self-expression, for reality, for the artists soul. Everywhere it is removing superincumbentweights, knocking off fetters, clearing away obstructions. His father, the Venerable Reginald Hobhouse, was Rector of St Ive, near Liskeard, a position he had obtained through his political connections with Sir Robert Peel. The most striking victory of Lib-eral ideas is one of the most precarious.
Liberalism : Hobhouse, L. T. (Leonard Trelawney), 1864
Each man will be guided byself-interest, but interest will lead him along the lines of greatest pro-ductivity. On whattheory does the principle of popular sovereignty rest, and within whatlimits does it hold good? Laissez-faireThe school of Cobden is affiliated in general outlook both to the doc-trine of natural liberty and to the discipline of Bentham. Hobhouse In the main, however, the teaching of the Manchester school tendedboth in external and in internal affairs to a restricted view of the func-tion of government. On the other hand, there are larger societ-ies varying in extent and in degree of civilization from a petty Negrokingdom to the Chinese Empire, resting on a certain union of militaryforce and religious or quasi-religious belief which, to select a neutralname, we have called the principle of Authority. The older struc-ture itself was by no means primitive. In this sense the city state was a community of freemen. For to raise the same sum the tax onwine will, as less is drunk, have to be much larger than the tax on tea, sothat a little gain to many tea-drinkers might inflict a heavy loss on thefew wine-drinkers, and on the Benthamite principle it is not clear thatthis would be just.
Hobhouse has either vanished or become attenuated to certain obnoxious incidentsof the tenure of land. Their emergence involved the widening and in some respectsthe improvement of the social order; and in its earlier stages it favouredcivic autonomy by suppressing local anarchy and feudal privilege. But the isolatedindividual was powerless. Leonard Hobhouse The Heart Of Liberalism Summary The case of the contemplated tax is, as appliedto the politics of a modern State, an unreal one. Considered collectively its citizens owned no master.
They consider their own good. Inproportion as one party is in a position of vantage, he is able to dictatehis terms. He maintained, against what we now call libertarianism, that liberty depended on restraint — that every liberty depends on a corresponding act of control. There are here the elements of an im-portant truth, but what is the implication? The populationincluded slaves or serfs, and in many cities there were large classesdescended from the original conquered population, personally free butexcluded from the governing circle. This comment is an integral part of the originalformula. Its central focus is the hope of freedom, individual expression and equality. In thisthere is no inconsistency of principle, but a just appreciation of a realdifference of circumstance.
It is not true, as a certainschool of jurisprudence held, that law is, as such, a command imposedby a superior upon an inferior, and backed by the sanctions of punish-ment. Does it express some vitaltruth of social life as such, or is it a temporary phenomenon called forthby the special circumstances of Western Europe, and is its work alreadyso far complete that it can be content to hand on the torch to a newer andmore constructive principle, retiring for its own part from the race, orperchance seeking more backward lands for missionary work? A man is not free when he is controlled by other men, butonly when he is controlled by principles and rules which all society mustobey, for the community is the true master of the free man. In proportion as they have been satisfied and other needshave emerged, the requirement has arisen for a fuller and sounder prin-ciple. But even here Cobdenis active in the work of finally emancipating Manchester from manorialrights that have no place in the nineteenth century. Following the guidance of theactual movement of ideas, we shall reach the centre and heart of Liberal-ism, and we shall try to form a conception of the essentials of the Liberalcreed as a constructive theory of society. That is harmful which conflicts with it.
How could we judge for other nations? The Stuarts brought things to a headin this country by arbitrary taxation. Be thatas it may, public opinion was brought to this point by the belief that itwas intervening in an exceptional manner to protect a definite class notstrong enough to bargain for itself. Political institutionswere the source of subjection and inequality. In England, it is true, where men are apt to be shy and unhandy inthe region of theory, the Liberal movement has often sought to dispensewith general principles. It remains a lucid, accessible, and generally persuasive statement of evolving liberal principles and thinking, despite the passage of over a century.
Hobhouse of Liberalism is to favour autonomy, but, faced as it is with the problems ofsubdivision and the complexity of group with group, it has to rely on theconcrete teaching of history and the practical insight of statesmanship todetermine how the lines of autonomy are to be drawn. . Thefirst point brings us back to the problem of political liberty, which wedefer. It is otherwise with organized restrictions upon industry. Thecity state of ancient Greece and Italy was a new type of social organiza-tion. Expression is free, andworship is free as far as it is the expression of personal devotion.
Lastly, to suppose that men are governed entirelyby a sense of their interests is a many-sided fallacy. Pym and his followers could find justifica-tion for their contentions in our constitutional history, but to do so theyhad to go behind both the Stuarts and the Tudors; and to apply theprinciples of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in 1640 was, in ef-fect, to institute a revolution. Its strength is, in effect, not in its logicalprinciples, but in the compactness and consistency which it gives to aview of the functions of the State which responds to certain needs ofmodern society. Politicalsociety was a more artificial arrangement, a convention arrived at forthe specific purpose of securing a better order and maintaining the com-mon safety. We draw the impor-tant inference that there is no essential antithesis between liberty andlaw. In particular, the tariff was not merely an obstruc-tion to free enterprise, but a source of inequality as between trade andtrade.