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A New Platform for the Free Democrats (FDP) (October 25-27, 1971)

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Thesis 2: Liberalism takes a stand for progress through reason. It supports liberating the individual from a state of immaturity and dependence.

It believes in countering ignorance with knowledge and in breaking down prejudice, to enable people to speak for themselves, and to abolish dependence.

Intellectual freedom and the principles of tolerance and competition are the initial prerequisites for liberal social policies that aim to support such an emancipation of individuals and thus evolution of humanity.

Only on this basis is a free and open society possible, in which truth and justice are not simply passed down and accepted as standard answers, but rather will continually be presented and discussed as new questions to be answered in the face of changing conditions.

[ . . . ]

Thesis 3: Liberalism demands democratization of the society.

Based on the principle “We all make up the society,” liberalism strives to democratize society through the greatest possible and equal participation by all in efforts to satisfy individual needs, as made possible through the division of labor, and to develop personal abilities. It favors a corresponding co-determination in exercising rule in society that is needed in organizing processes on the basis of the division of labor.

Based on the principle “Society cannot do everything,” liberalism strives at the same time within a liberal welfare state for the liberalization of society by means of limited rule – through separation of powers, legally bound authority, guaranteed basic rights, and protection of minorities – by people over people in the division-of-labor-based organization of our society.

[ . . . ]

Thesis 4: Liberalism demands the reform of capitalism.

The historical achievement of liberalism was to free the individual for the development of modern industrial society. Supported by competition and individual motivation, capitalism led to great economic success but also to social injustice. Liberal reform of capitalism strives to eliminate the imbalances of advantages and the amassing of economic power that follow from the accumulation of money and property, and the concentration of the ownership of the means of production in the hands of very few. It therefore reconciles the laws of a private economy with the goals of a liberal society. It also serves to increase the productivity and humanity of such an economic and social system, which is based on the private initiative of economic citizens and private ownership of the means of production.

[ . . . ]

Source: “Die Freiburger Thesen der FDP” [“The Freiburg Theses of the FDP”]; reprinted in Wolfram Bickerich, ed., Bilanz der sozialliberalen Koalition [Balance Sheet for the Social-Liberal Coalition]. Documentation Helmut Pape. Reinbek bei Hamburg, 1982, pp. 190-201.

Translation: Allison Brown

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