The ultimate goal of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) is to help create a freer and more peaceful world society.
By that we mean a world in which people of different races, nationalities and faiths respect each other’s human rights and opinions and live together in peace, a world in which people compete freely and fairly under the democratic rule of law, a world in which governments’ roles are limited to maintaining law and order and protecting people’s rights and property, a world in which people at all levels of the society participate in politics and have the freedom to determine their future.
The FNF believes in the virtues of liberalism, in helping individual citizens fulfil their potential and in creating an open society, marked by tolerance, free competition, responsibility, equal opportunity and justice.
The concept of individual liberty is central to the liberal ideology. The core liberal values are:
Individualism – Liberalism places emphasis on individual citizens on the belief that given proper education, equal opportunities and conducive political and economic environments, people can achieve their potential, thereby contributing to the growth and prosperity of their community, society and nation.
Rationalism – Liberalism believes that with the kind of education that favours thinking and analysing over rote-learning and blind acceptance, individuals can become rational citizens capable of reasoning and critical thinking.
Freedom – Liberalism believes individual citizens deserve freedoms to defend and exercise their basic human rights such as the freedom to express views that are different from those of the authorities, the freedom to own property, the freedom to trade, the freedom of choice over education, the freedom to form a political party and challenge those in power, and the freedom to live their lives the way they want without infringing on other people’s rights.
Responsibility – In a truly liberal society, freedom and responsibility are inseparable. Every individual citizen is a member of a society and has responsibilities to observe the law, respect other people’s human rights, and contribute to peace and prosperity of his or her nation.
Justice - Justice prevails in a liberal democratic society in which there is clear separation of powers. The courts and judicial systems are independent and the state or politicians have no rights to intervene. In economic terms, a liberal policy on trade allows free and fair competition. It also allows free local and international trade under the just rule of law of a democratic constitution. It favours market forces over state intervention.
Tolerance – Liberalism favours tolerance over violence. It favours understanding over coercion. It regards differences as uniqueness instead of ugliness. A true liberal is open-minded and listens to other people’s opinions, not with prejudices but with sincere attempts to empathise and to understand. A true liberal does not force people to follow his way of thinking. But when he needs to change somebody’s opinion, he does so in a gentle and persuasive manner. He practises tolerance and regards it as a basic necessity for preserving peace.
As a pioneer of liberalism, Friedrich Naumann believed that for any fledgling democracy to succeed, citizens of that society have to understand democratic procedures, believe in democratic rule and participate in democratic process.