The article presents Lord Acton’s notion of liberalism and citizenship. Liberalism, as ordinarily understood, treats the individual as the founding stone of civil society and the measure of political order – man and woman and their rights are supreme. In the past, this allowed liberalism to delegitimize society of estates and absolutism, yet it raised the insoluble dilemma of how to reconnect the self‑sufficient individual with the society and the state. Furthermore, social engineering employed in service of equality and individual rights, made liberalism an abstract doctrine, hostile to any tradition and illiberal in its nature. Unlike this doctrinaire liberalism, Actonian liberalism is organic, thriving on national tradition and having only one arbitrary element – higher law that is the yardstick of good and evil. Organic liberalism knows not the contradiction between the individual and the polity. It balances the rights of the individual with the respect for the national tradition, and stresses individual and communal liberty as the ultimate aim of politics. Further, man and woman participate in a multitude of intermediate organizations in which they can truly exercise their citizenship. Organic liberalism, as Acton claims, is a constant element of Western Civilization, even if it achieves its maturity sometime in the seventeenth‑eighteenth century. It then become a characteristic feature of Anglo‑American liberalism.
Keywords Lord Acton  Liberalism  citizen
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