Tuesday 10 November 2009 — This is over 13 years old. Be careful.
I’m sure this will be controversial: an infographic summarizing the differences between the political Left and the political Right:
(keep clicking through to get to a full-size readable version).
Probably both sides will find things to complain about, though I suspect the right will be more upset. The terms used there seem negative to me, or is that just because I’m on the left?
Interesting that they made a “US” version, which simply has the colors reversed! I knew our settling on blue for left was a recent innovation, I hadn’t realized that the rest of the world long ago settled on the opposite.
Mussolini was a laissez-faire traditionalist supportive of free-trade? The Kennedy administration was full of pacifists?
The political space has as many dimensions as there are topics open for debate. Forcing it to live in a one-dimensional space is an exercise for newspeople, who find it easier to sell spectator sports.
This is just advertising for a book from which I'd stay well away.
The US took their red/blue connotations from their own flag, leave them alone.
However, they almost all agree that the world's problems can't be fixed by government, and mostly agree that you can't fix all the world's problems (the argument goes something like "There are only so many resources, and people can only achieve so much - think carefully about what problems you want to try to solve, because you can't just fix them all."). Thus, you get the traditional conservative backlash against attempts to "fix this problem" by politicians. It's not so much that "things shouldn't change" as it is "that isn't going to work", "that's a waste of resources", or "that's not something the government can fix", in my experience.
A more accurate summary of conservative beliefs, on the average, might be "The world is broken, and we can't really fix it."
(Of course, just because something cannot be done doesn't mean you shouldn't try, and that's where I think a lot of conservatives fall down. However, it is true that if you say up front "this task is impossible", your approach to doing what you can about it will be very different from your approach if you say "the world can be fixed".)
I do find the labels of right and left kind of simplistic, personally - I agree with Giacomo. Presenting politics as a two-sided war is not a great idea.
Giacomo: The characterization of Italian fascist as "right" is simply an effect of socialists deciding that fascism must be to the right, because they didn't like them. Italian fascism and Nazism both sprung out of socialism and have more in common ideologically with the socialism in general than with conservatism. By rights (hehe) Italian Fascism and Nazism should be claimed to be leftist ideologies.
But I know, that wasn't your point. But still. :)
Fascism did have strong right-wing connotations: affinity with big-business and the upper classes, institutional racism, nationalism, protectionism... All political parties that ever had an ideological or nostalgic relationship with fascism (and there are quite a few in Europe) have always been involved in coalitions set up by conservative, "right" parties. Franco in Spain outlawed the entire leftist spectrum.
Undoubtedly, fascistic movements did have what we (relatively recently) came to consider as "leftist" connotations (big on State intervention, modernism etc) and there's the famous quote by Molotov about Communists and Fascists being at opposite ends of a very flexible ruler, but they were always firmly to the right of the European political discourse.
Franco in Spain was right-wing, but he was conservative. The label fascist only was applied to him by others, as with all other right wing "fascists". The original Italian Fascism came out of socialism, just as Nazism in Germany. This is not really something that is up for debate. What can be discussed is why they came to be branded as right-wing, and that is IMO because the left in Europe always managed to keep a firm grip on the "problematisation" and therefore branded everything they didn't like as "right". This is why the "right" contains completely different ideologies like liberalism (except in the US), conservatism and fascism, while the left (except in the US) contains only variants of socialism.
In the US the "right" managed to get control over the problematisation as a part of McCarthyism, and as a result conservatism is "right", and liberalism got pushed together with socialism as "left".
All this of course just shows how useless a left-right scale is.
Conservatism is belief that government is the ONLY entity which can forcibly take your property, labors or your life. Therefore it must be restricted and only used to protect others rights. I am speaking primarily of fiscal conservatism here ( probably sound like a libertarian).
Free men engaging in free enterprise using their labors and legally obtained property is what ensures "progress". The US has 5% of the worlds population, yet produces upwards of 25% of its GDP output. If this isn't proof enough of the power of free markets , nothing will convince anyone.
The one observation that is most cogent in the graphic is in regards to rights: Others Must Observe vs. Others Must Not Interfere. It explains how the right was successful in getting through the American Congress a bill allowing Certain Persons to possess a gun if they travel to another state. It explains reluctance to adopt civil rights in the South. Thinking about those two words, it also naturally buts ardent pro-choicers in the same philosophical camp as the gun enthusiasts.
what jumped out at me was that the Left "Interferes with Social Lives" and the Right does not. The book must have crossed over from an alternate universe.
As far as sexual ethics are concerned, you're right -- the Left holds the laissez-faire position and the Right has more interfering tendencies. But in pretty much every other aspect of society, it's the Right that tends to advocate "let people do what they want" and the Left that tends to say "people make stupid choices, government should intervene to save them from themselves."
Example: smoking -- is it the Left or the Right that tends to argue for regulation in this area? Obesity -- which side of the political spectrum tends to argue "we should regulate what people eat, fast-food companies should be forced to offer healthy choices, etc."? (I don't know for certain what the political opinions of Morgan Spurlock, who made the documentary Super Size Me in 2004, are -- but the fact that he optioned the rights to the book The Republican War on Science is a bit of a clue...) Speech codes (especially on college campuses) -- "offensive and/or hateful speech should not be tolerated" tends to be a leftist position, whereas "political debate should be free and unrestrained, and if someone is advocating hate, the best remedy is to speak out about why their position is wrong" tends to be held by people on the right. (F.I.R.E., the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, is an officially nonpartisan organisation but usually ends up defending conservative-leaning student groups; I've rarely seen them take cases where liberal-leaning student groups claimed their speech rights had been offended, though whether this is because they refused such cases or such cases simply weren't happening often is something I do not know).
Drugs, and specifically marijuana, are the only other counterexample I've come up with -- there are some right-leaning libertarians who argue for legalizing marijuana, but most of the "legalize marijuana" advocates tend to be on the left.
Hmmm, so far I've got sex & drugs as the issues where the left is more freedom-oriented than the right... I gotta come up with a way to work rock & roll in here somehow. :-)
DavidM's definition of conservatism -- at least American conservatism (can't say I'm familiar with how conservatism is expressed in the entire world) -- sounds about right to me, BTW.
So it seems to me to be a fairly inaccurate description of conservatism, as it only is accurate on economic issues when it comes to those conservatives who has embraced liberal economic policies.
Unscientific nonsense and indoctrination. Someone told you that Right and Left were real things (they are ideologies - not real, and fictions as well). Your belief system allowed you to believe they were real, and now you follow a consensus of indoctrinated sheep to create other sheep. “Evil” systems collapse, and collapse is expensive and dangerous. Learn a civic science, and stop indoctrinating people into your failings of introduction and proper scientific civics training.
Edward, you might have had a point in 2009, when this was posted. Since then, US politics have split into a very clear fascist totalitarian right, embraced by the Republican party, vs everything else (aka left) split.
If you think Trump lost the election, you are deemed to be a leftie. If you think who people fall in love with is their own problem, you are a leftie. If you think the government should uphold the law, you are a leftie. If you think foreigners not necessarily are all the scum of the earth, you are a leftie. If you think equal rights for women is self-evident, you are a leftie. If you think votes should sound, you are a leftie. If you think health care would be good, you are a leftie.
So, sorry, if you aren’t a leftie in today’s USA, you are a rightie and implicitly, and probably unwittingly support fascism. There’s no neutral ground anymore. The Tea Party destroyed it.
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