Classical Liberalism: The Role of Government Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  610 Words
Date:  2022-02-21

Classical liberalism refers to the promotion of individual freedom through guaranteeing opportunity equality within a tolerant society. In the US, classical liberalism primarily focuses on economic freedom. According to classical liberals, individuals have created the Government to protect them from each other. They further believed that the Government ought to minimize disagreements and conflicts between people. However, there have been ongoing debates within classical liberalism regarding the functions and roles of the Government.

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In recent years, there have been ongoing protests and unrest in the city of Hong Kong, which have disrupted the peace of the citizens. The Government and the citizens have been at loggerheads with one another. This situation has escalated debates on the rights of the citizens and the role of the Government at large. Classical liberalism shows that both the Government and the citizens are interdependent and that if they fail to agree, there would be constant strife.

According to the Wall Street Journal titled Hong Kong to Invoke Emergency Powers to Ban Masks at Protests and Hong Kong Shaken After Long Weekend of Violence, we can see that the Government is trying to put in place specific policies to return normalcy. However, the kind of measures placed by the Government is not a guarantee of ending violence or curbing the unrest that the individuals face. Instead, the situation gets worse. The Government exercised its emergency powers, which in the long run, led to the strife that lasted for four days (Chuin-Wei, Jon and Rachel par 4).

The two ongoing debates based on the journals are burning individuals from accessing the internet to end demonstrations and violence and invoking the emergency powers of barring demonstrators from wearing masks during protests. These debates result from citizens not agreeing with the policies the Government is placing based on the two issues. They claim that the Government has forgotten its ultimate role of protection, and instead of protecting them, they are violating their constitutional rights of freedom.

Ms. Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's chief executive officer, exercised these executive powers by bypassing the city's de facto Government as well as the legislative council. These two measures, as witnessed, have only plunged the city in political unrest instead of bringing about peace and sanity (Khan Par 2). Based on the classical liberalism point of view, putting these measures put in place infringes the individual freedom and makes the Government an enemy instead of acknowledging it as a protecting agent.

On the issue of masks, Ms. Lam claimed that it was a resistance symbol among protestors, and she put in place warnings that anyone who fails to abide by it will face a jail sentence of up to one year or a fine of HK$10,000 (Khan Par 8). The Civil Human Rights Front highly condemned this kind of move by Ms. Lam. They argued out that doing this would only be violating the citizens' rights to speak without fearing publicly.

Similarly, blocking users from accessing the internet, instead of ending violence would exacerbate the disorder. The reason is that it would interfere with their communication processes, and it would make them angrier (Chuin-Wei, Jon and Rachel par 7). The more hostile the citizens get, the more violent they would become. This kind of move is not in line with classical liberalism because it denies them both opportunity and equality, and instead of becoming tolerant, they resort to strife.

Works Cited

Chuin-Wei Yap, Jon Emont, and Rachel Yeo. "Hong Kong Shaken After Long Weekend of Violence." WSJ, 2019, Accessed 26 Oct 2019.

Khan, Neil. "Hong Kong To Invoke Emergency Powers To Ban Masks At Protests." WSJ, 2019, Accessed 26 Oct 2019.

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