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Klasik Liberalizmde “Özgürlük” ve Liberalizmin Yerel Yönetimlere Bakışı

Author(s): Fikret ÇELİK | Sefa USTA

Journal: Selcuk Universitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitusu Dergisi
ISSN 1302-1796

Issue: 24;
Start page: 121;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Classical Liberalism | Freedom | Local Authorities | Autonomy | Local Democracy | Political Participation

In a contemporary sense, freedom that is being put forward here within the context of an individual’s “autonomy” can bedescribed in classical liberalism as an individual’s desire to be free from all manner of intervention and obstacles. Freedom withinthe framework of classical liberalism appeared as a feature distinct from other school of thoughts and along with the individualhas been the most important liberal argument that has been put forward by this school. This concept has been debated adinfinitum starting from Locke to the present as an important area of liberalism. In general, political freedoms considered throughthe recurrence method is thought of as one of the most important questions in classical liberalism. Evaluating this question isimportant in reaching “concrete” results within the context of classical liberalism.In considering political freedoms, the question of freedom from the point of local authorities and within the context of therights of local and small communities has been constantly debated within liberalism. In particular, the classical liberal thinkersknown as the Utilitarians, within the “greatest happiness,” principle developed important arguments, in particular on activities thattook place at the local level. The common point in their view was services provided to individuals by units closest to thembecause they comprised subjects that are the most “pleasurable” to individuals and therefore are the most important activities thatthey will seek. However, many liberal thinkers that defend the view that only through this way can local freedoms, localdemocracy and political participation can be meaningful, consider that “concrete” conclusions can be reached only as a result ofevaluating the debates centered around liberalism’s view on freedom.At this point Jeremy Bentham and J.S. Mill’s thoughts are at the forefront and can be seen to have had a significant impact inthe context of various theories of freedom developed during the 20th century. Although most of Tocqueville’s views departedfrom the Utilitarians his findings on the United States of America showed that services and activities in a federal system that arelocalized has brought to the agenda its importance in terms of liberal emancipation and that the functions of local authorities interms of freedoms can be debated in the name of expanding “citizenship.”Concepts such as freedom, democracy, self-government, activism and participation appear to us where liberalism and localauthorities intersect. At this point the subject that liberal thinkers insist upon is that the provision of local political participation,local freedoms and local democracy will take place when authority is transferred to local authorities. At this juncture the conceptof “local self-rule” comes into prominence. In this context, when self-rule at the point of locality is provided to local authorities,the importance of also providing financial self-rule to carry out their authority and responsibilities is an important matter that is faced. Local authorities are considered as the closest units to the public and when considered with the framework of liberalism, itcan be said that important functions can be observed in local participation and effective local administration.In order to provide independence for local authorities, the views considered within the framework of classical liberalism inthe form of a “self-ruled” institutionally structured administrative unit is of utmost importance in terms of “functioning,” focuson services and the achievement of “maximum pleasure” of the individual. In this situation, the inevitable development of“political participation” in order to be considered in a healthy and result-oriented manner within the framework of liberaldemocracy, local authorities thus become an important necessity. Thus, in the understanding of freedom within the framework ofclassical liberalism, local authorities, as the most important administrative units of our day and which are the closest politicalorganizations to citizens are important in providing “self-rule” to the individual.In the first part of this study, by going to the roots of liberalism, the meaning of freedom is examined. In this section, theviews of important thinkers from Locke to the present - who is considered as classical liberalism’s representative during thecontemporary period - will be discussed. In this way, it is hoped that the effects of the liberalism’s views on freedom on“modern” local administration will be made known.In the second part, the views of liberalism on local authorities and within this coverage local democracy will be considered.Thus, local authorities will be considered within the framework of liberalism’s understanding of freedom and certain “clues” willbe obtained on the development of the individual-focused political participation and local politics. Evaluating this within theframework of classical liberalism and learning the thoughts of important liberal thinkers on this subject is considered as importantfrom this perspective. This study considered in this manner is concluded with an evaluation of the subject matter.The objective of this study is to examine liberalism’s understanding of freedom and in this context by benefiting from theviews of liberal thinkers to examine and analyze liberal theory’s viewpoint on local authorities. From the general conclusionresulting from this study the objective is to attain the general arguments of “local democracy” within the context of freedom fromthe point of view of liberalism.In forming the thoughts of classical liberalism, the views of Locke, Bentham, the Utilitarianists, J.S. Mill and Tocquevilleutilizing primary and secondary sources will be considered from a wide perspective. In particular, the works of thinkers whosenames are mentioned above will be reviewed using the qualitative analysis method. First, an attempt is made to explain in allaspects the understanding of freedom by classical liberalism and later the connection between liberalism’s understanding offreedom by these same thinkers with local authorities will be analyzed. In this way, an attempt will be made to verify as to whetherliberalism addresses the assertion or not that a democratic political system on behalf of individual autonomy through necessarypolitical participation can only be achieved with the development of local democracy. Within this context, the views of classicalliberal thinkers has been shaped according to these assertions and that a “meaning” is gained when individual freedom andautonomy is considered within local authorities. Since this position is taken in this study, a “critique” was not attempted of theirunderstanding of local authorities within the framework of classical liberalism’s thoughts on freedom
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