Liberalism, as a belief in individual freedom as a method and policy in government, as an organizing principle in society and as a way of life for the individual and community, can lead to the fragmentation of society and of individual energies, possibly culminating in social or even national disintegration and foreign intervention. For the liberal, the state, if needed at all, is at best a necessary evil, whose only function is to maximize freedoms and protect the individual from those who would deprive the individual from their liberty. This over-emphasis on freedom is at the expense of equality. This concern with the rights of human beings is at the expense of the common good of society. Liberal economic policy, namely laissez-faire, is outmoded and insufficient in the modern context of interdependence and scarcity of resources; it opens up and could lead to foreign economic control. Because it accommodates many views, liberalism may lead to pacifism and international insecurity. Although liberalism combats conservatism and may foster social issues, it is often guilty of a half-hearted approach.
Liberalism was coined as a term from the Spanish 'Liberales' political party in the early 19th century. The principles of liberalism developed and spread in English language societies during the 19th century. As an idea and philosophy it can be traced back to the Judaeo-Christian-Greek intellectual world, together with the idea of liberty with which it is closely connected.