Though currently associated with the left-of-center, dominant, two-party American politics, Liberalism in its classical sense is the underlying scaffold for nearly all non-radical, contemporary political dispositions. Classical Liberalism, which coincides with the incarnation of modernity, as a political philosophy concerns itself with, in the most simple terms and as enunciated by the French Revolution, Liberte, Egalite, and Fraternite. It is from these words that the principles of life, liberty, and property are placed in a universal context. This universalism allows Liberalism to easily become compounded with the concerns of social welfare, or, in perhaps a counter intuitive way, provides a foundation for all but the most traditional conservative ideology. Thus-ly, Liberalism becomes synonymous with capitalism.
Moving away from its classical basis, Modern Liberalism is a political, though in many ways predominantly economic stance wherein the prevailing socio-economic theory of universal employment (Keynesian model) and open markets advances the common good and serves as a primary driver for government control/regulation of the economy to prevent unfettered capitalism from creating societal inequality and financial/class disproportionality. Liberalism favors reform by law and government action, rather than revolution, and in the late stages of Liberalism, perhaps actively prevents the possibility of revolutionary change as economic inertia and interdependence, symmetrically or asymmetrically distributed, becomes a primary means of governance. (See Neo-Liberalsim)
Simply, the global, or transnational implementation of liberal economic policy. Neo-Liberalism produces an extremely deregulated economy within its host nations. This state is facilitated by free-trade and open markets between nations, emphasizing privatization and individual responsibility whilst largely maintaining liberal, in a classical sense, views on social issues.
Economic growth is viewed as a social “bottom-line”, allowing market forces to regulate(?)the economy, extolling an exchange-society model, with porous, unregulated trade movement. In Neo-Liberalism, state and quasi-state entities, for example the World Bank, IMF, UN, global investment banks, etc have superseded the initial, individual rights-based, universal ambitions and capacity of Classical Liberalism, in favor of a universalism that is more globe-spanning and a dominant, pragmatic, global capitalist reality, rather than freedom-creating universal born of the Modern project.
Dangerously, Neo-Liberalism drapes, or rather camouflages itself in this same freedom-inducing, progress-driven mantel to produces a manically growth-driven hyper-capitalism. See Neo-Colonialism.
Radicalism purports that fundamental and systemic change is the root motive and strategy for revolutionizing the existing governing apparatus of political power and economic mechanisms. Radicalism can be attributed adjectivally to any political affiliation, though generally to the extreme wings of the right or the left. The definition lies in the application or means of governmental change and less as a theory or stance in itself. Yet in contemporary parlance, Radicalism and “to be Radical” is associated with left-of-center politics and claimed by Leftist political organizations, as well as any number of anti-status quo and often anti-colonial/capitalist activities. This is not to say that Radicalism is not deployed by right wing organizations, but as Radical activity in the 1960’s consisted of left wing movements, civil rights, the women’s movements, LGBTQ movement, Black Power, the environmental movement, the anti-war movement, this lineage has come to define the political narrative of Radicalism.
Lazzarato, Maurizio. The Making of the Indebted Man. An Essay on the Neoliberal Condition. Los Angeles,CA: Semiotext(e), 2012
John + Matthew