For the “progressive,” government is “society’s” agent to undertake the tasks of “social justice” and “entitlement” that are owed to each member and to which everyone is required to provide their contribution. Police power is the means by which everyone is made to contribute their “social dues” in the form of either obedience to government regulations or payment of taxes for redistributive purposes.
Liberty and the Meaning of Society and the “Social”
For the classical liberal or libertarian, on the other hand, government is considered an agency for the protection of each individual’s rights. “Society” is comprised of the networks of relationships and associations formed by individuals and in which they interact for various fulfillments of human happiness and well-being. These are not only the market exchange relationships of peaceful cooperation through competition and the buy and selling of goods and services.
It incorporates family, friends, professional associations, intellectual organizations and hobby groups. It includes faith and religious affiliations and participation, and all networks of charity and philanthropy at local community and wider levels. These networks of human association are what are often called “civil society.”
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