Rathbun 2010 and Wilson’s 14 Points
Rathbun is right in his proposition that liberalism is an incoherent doctrine. As a term, liberalism has several meanings, not one simple, indistinguishable construct. Liberalism can be explained as a general philosophical theory, a political philosophy, and a political tradition. As with other doctrines, different forms of liberalism exist, but all liberals emphasize the preeminence of individual choice and individual freedom. Just like classical liberalism, modern liberalism faces tensions of principles, ranging from freedom to economy to individualism and so on. For instance, while modern liberalism posits that welfarism hinges on equality of opportunity and that it is the responsibility of the government to uphold individuals’ positive rights, classical liberalism, on the other hand, provide that citizens are only entitled to negative rights, not positive rights. Thus, in addition to Rathbun’s submission that the meaning of liberalism as an international relations model is still obscure and lacks epistemological accuracy (4), the kind of disparity in different forms of liberalism is clear evidence of incoherence.
Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points were peace principles that were used to spearhead diplomatic negotiations among nations to end World War I and establish a new, free, peaceful world. These points emphasized the autonomy of nations, called for a reduction of armaments and created a debate th…
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