The American left and right aren’t synonymous with the political left right. Rather, they describe “big tents” that contain a broad spectrum of political views.
The political terms left and right are comparative terms that describe political views as: liberalism, collectivism, and liberty (left) vs. conservatism, individualism, and authority (right).
Since political ideology is a complex spectrum of beliefs and actions, the terms are best applied with nuance. They can be used to make absolute statements like Monarchies are right-wing forms of government in terms of power structure. Or they can be used to make comparative statements such as, a progressive Democrat is to the right of a radical anarchist. See the pages below for detailed discussions into the aspects of the political left and right.
Factoids tagged with "Left–right Politics"
Despite the Red-State Blue-State split of the two-party system (between city and rural regions), America is rather purple politically speaking (meaning all regions have a mix of voters from both parties).
Social values affect career choice, and career choices affect social values, thus certain industries lean left (like colleges), and others right (like big oil).
Donald Trump hasn’t been much of a Tyrant in-action, but he does have a lot in common with the classical tyrants, including the tyrant from Plato’s Republic.
Conservatives have long had a Powell memo strategy against progressive liberals, cutting the funding to the arts (like PBS, NPR, and the NEA) is part of it.
Bernie Sanders says he is a Democratic Socialist, but he describes an American version of Social Democracy and not text-book Democratic Socialism.
Right-wing Populism, like the Tea Party, and Left-wing Populism, like Bernie Sanders, are the two basic forms of populism. Both are anti-elite but otherwise very different.
The KKK and slavery both have their roots in the Democratic party. However, the southern bloc conservatives (“the solid south”) have increasingly favored the Republican party over time. Thus, today the faction who once supported the KKK and slavery now mostly supports the Republican Party.
What we call the political left and right are an outgrowth of liberty and the human condition. Once people are free to express themselves, they will create a left and right (because left and right are a reflection of human nature). This is essentially true for any issue or debate, be it national politics, a local community issue or even a family or other small group issue.
Generally speaking, a modest increase to the minimum wage will increase household spending and thus stimulate the economy. However, this can be offset by job loss or hour reduction, inflation, and other factors.
Hitler was a National Socialist (NAZI). National Socialism is a type of fascism. Although National Socialism had some socialist and left-wing planks, it is a unique authoritarian, militant, and nationalist ideology separate from socialism or liberalism that is generally considered “far-right.”
Mozart’s the Magic Flute is largely a metaphor about the Freemasonry and the Enlightenment augmented by crude jokes.
William Jennings Bryan can be considered the father of modern American left-wing and right-wing populism, including progressivism, the religious right, workers’ movements like the free-silver movement, the income tax, direct elections of Senators, and more.
It was historically believed that the Spanish Inquisition was a bloody religious persecution full of torture and genocide, but recent data shows this view is essentially a myth created by Protestants to slander Catholics.
Extreme equality and an extreme inequality are both equally as dangerous in a democratic society. In both cases it corrupts the government.
As James Madison said when discussing special interest factions and liberty in the Federalist #10, “Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires”.
Historically, Protestantism is like classical liberalism (individual liberties and rights) and Catholicism is like social liberalism (state enforced social justice).
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) can be read as a political metaphor where Dr. Frankenstein and his monster represent the philosophies and attitudes of the liberal revolutionaries, specifically those of the French Revolution and ensuing “Reign of Terror.”
The rise of piracy and the birth of the public stock market roughly intersect, this is because the first public stocks were essentially a type of insurance against pirates.
Hitler came to power in a Democracy as the NAZIs gained seats in the Reichstag, but he was never elected President in a Democratic election.
Madison drafted both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but he wasn’t the sole author of either, both were debated and approved by committees.
Niccolò Machiavelli can be considered the father of modern political science, and his book The Prince one of the first works of modern political philosophy (if not just modern philosophy).
Saul Alinsky, the American community organizer and author of Rules for Radicals, can be considered the father of modern community organizing.
Some claim the Second Amendment, like the Three-Fifths Compromise, was ratified to preserve slavery. This is only partially true.
We know liberals and conservatives think differently, however science suggests differences not only in thinking process, but in brain structure as well.
Blog Posts tagged with "Left–right Politics"
A favorite political term used by the political right to insult the left is “commie,” “communist,” or “socialist.” We look at why right-wingers call left-wingers “commies” and other such terms.
A favorite political term used by the political left to insult the right is “fascist.” We look at why left-wingers call right-wingers “fascists.”
One could argue that left-wing is a manifestation of the feminine, and right-wing of the masculine, metaphorically. But, what if its more than just a metaphor?
Most political positions can be described using a limited set of political terms related to classical and social liberalism and conservatism.
We explain the logic (and reasoning) behind creating left-right spectrums. This page compliments our page on left-right politics and political spectrums.
The U.S. Bill of Rights expresses natural human rights with no economic implications, a Second Bill of Rights expresses rights “that ought to be” but have economic implications.
Political emotion is a term that describes emotional attachments and responses to political ideas and responses to political ideas based on emotion.
Progressive Centrism, often known as “Radical Centrism”, is center-wing centrism (a balanced left-right ideology) that is progressive (wants change quickly).
Identity Politics describes identifying with a concept, or being perceived as identifying with a concept, and the social and political implications of that.
We describe a “purple strategy” modeled off purple state politics, for the Defense of Western Liberal Democracy and Republicanism.
The tension between city interests and rural interests is at the heart of much political polarization, and in America it begs “the Southern Question”.
All nations have some sort of class system or class structure, generally based on wealth, birth, or status. We explain modern and historic social class systems and the general logic behind them to see to what extent they are natural and what extent they are convention.
Marx and Mussolini called for extreme evolutions of socialism, Mises called for an absolutist return to individualist liberalism, but all miss the mark.
The term “Deep State” describes the part of government that stays around throughout different administrations. The ingrained “establishment.” A state within a state so to speak.
The Social Safety net is a collection of welfare services meant to help people bounce up when they hit bottom, it is not meant as a net to trap the poor under.
Criminal virtue is a concept eluded to in Machiavelli’s the Prince. It describes calculated “criminal acts” that can help one get ahead in politics.
Steve Bannon eluded to a “National Populist” “Deconstruction” agenda in a recent speech. We take a look at the historic meaning of those terms.
The New Deal Coalition and Conservative Coalition are two coalitions that are emblematic of both the 20th century party switches and the modern parties.
We explain the “vast-right wing conspiracy” (or right-wing strategy) that Hillary talked about in the 90s (and the left-wing equivalent).
Conservatism is the ideology of governmental, cultural, and economic order, tradition, hierarchy, and authority that generally comes in classical, social, and economic forms.
Plato discusses five regimes (five forms of government) in his Republic, Book VIII. They are Aristocracy, Timocracy, Oligarchy, Democracy, and Tyranny.
Classically speaking, the term Polity means “a state” (a group of people under a single social contract), but it also implies an “ideal state” (a Kallipolis).
The concept of political correctness can be understood as an excess or deficiency of a few key virtues. Here is a model of “the virtues of political correctness” based on Aristotle’s virtue theory of means.
We discuss Republics in general including the philosophy of republics, classical and modern republicanism, and real Republics in-action.
To understand the climate change debate, it is important to clarify some confusion regarding climate change denial and skepticism.
In his Republic, Plato examines how Democracy can lead to Tyranny in a republic. We explain Plato’s theory as it pertains to democracy and tyranny.
The problem with unsubstantiated information is that it is unverified as true, and often leaked by sources with plausible deniability, which is confusing.
The modern Tea Party is a progressively conservative nativist protectionist populist movement that represent a response to globalism and progressive social liberalism.
Thomas Jefferson is credited with having said, “equal rights for all, special privileges for none,” a slogan that other progressive Democrats like Williams Jennings Bryan embraced.
We explain three different types of Republicans found in America during Civil War Reconstruction: moderate, conservative, and radical Republicans.
In general, four powers have ruled over the citizens of a nation in any era, these are Barons, Churches, Kings, and Citizens themselves.
Reason is the application of “pure logic”, empirical evidence, experiment, and skepticism to find truths, facts, and theories (AKA “critical thinking”).
Liberalism is the political ideology of liberty and equality, where classical liberalism emphasizes individual liberty and social liberalism emphasizes social equality.
Populism is a broad term that generally describes popular sentiment felt by the working class against the elites. It can look like social conservative nativist right-wing populism or social liberal progressive left-wing populism.
We explain the American political left-wing and right-wing by looking at the different factions that make up American liberalism and American conservatism.
If the 2016 election proved anything, it proved that the votes of progressive populists (like Bernie) and nativist populists (like Trump) matter in elections.
We explain Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes Day, and the symbolism behind the the Guy Fawkes mask, the fifth of November, and the Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot.
We present a simple guide to Marx, Marxian class theory, Marx’s theory of history, and Marx’s economic theories to help westerners understand what Marx was all about.
Civil War, Revolution, and Rebellion all refer to different types of disputes between citizens of country regarding governmental power or authority.
Separation of Powers describes the way in which government is divided into different branches (ex. in the U.S., the legislative, executive, and judicial). Checks and balances describe the powers each branch has to “check” the other branches and ensure a balance of power.
We explain political duopolies by looking at the political duopoly in the United States of America and other historic duopolies.
In modern history political factions have often been represented by a color, we look at political color to understand color politics.
We explain neoliberalism, globalization, nativism, and protectionism and the pros and cons of “neoliberal globalization” and “nativist protectionism.”
The Optimates like Pompey (aristocrats) and Populares like Julius Caesar (populists) were two opposing political factions at the onset of the fall of the Roman Republic.
We list the U.S. Presidents, their political parties, and their political ideologies alongside descriptions of their Presidency to examine U.S. history.
The four “elements” (or “powers”) that form the foundation of government can roughly be expressed as: citizens, executive, legislative, and judicial.
Modern banking originated in Italy around 1150 as Jews fleeing persecution brought new practices, including “discounting”, to the merchant banks of the Italian piazzas.
The state of nature is the state humans lived in before forming the first societies. By examining the state of nature we can better understand the implicit and explicit social contracts which govern societies.
Different types of government can be said to be based on a number of attributes like power source, power structure, and economic system.
In practice, human action often has paradoxical or unintended effects. Sometimes effects or side effects even have the exact opposite effect as intended.
We examine the historical effects of social, political, and economic inequality on society to see how it has led to social unrest and events like revolutions and populist uprisings.
India’s caste system is a class system based on birth. These classes, or “Varnas”, are: Brahmins (priests), Kshatriyas (ruling and military), Vaishyas (merchants and farmers), Shudras (peasants), Dalits (untouchables).
Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s concept of the General Will roughly means “that which is in the best interest of the people” or “the public good”, and not just popular consensus.
Villains tend to have mustaches, not because facial hair is evil, but because despots style themselves after other despots.
The exact origin of the term politically correct isn’t known, although the earliest usage we could find was from 1793 Supreme Court Case Chisholm v. Georgia.
Social Contract Theory is the theory of why people form governments based on how people lived in a State of Nature before government.
Plato can be understood as the father of rationalism and political philosophy (political idealism), and Aristotle, his student, the father of empiricism and political science (political realism).
We explain liberalism and conservatism, including the different social and classical types of liberalism and conservatism.
Political realism is dealing with politics as they are in reality, political idealism is dealing with politics as an ideal.
We explain two types of special interests: cronyism (politicians working with corporate interests) and monopolies / oligopolies (the consolidating of corporate power in a given industry to one or few entities).
Collectivism describes ideology (political or otherwise) that favors the collective, like-wise Individualism describes ideology that favors the individual.
We explain populism, globalization, nativism, nationalism, neoliberalism, modernization, and other terms important for understanding modern world politics.
The Federalists and Anti-Federalists were the first political factions of the U.S.. They arose out of a debate over the ratification of the 1787 Constitution and went on to form the basis of our current two-party system.
The modern usage of the political terms left and right comes from the French Revolution of 1789 when supporters of the king stood to the president’s right, and supporters of the revolution to his left.
Classical liberalism arose in opposition to state-imposed religion and aristocracy in the 1600 – 1700’s during the Age of Enlightenment in Europe and America.
On this page, we look at political parties from a historical perspective to better understand the underlying left-right politics all political parties are based on.
Most groups, bound by class, race, religion, socioeconomic status, or some other force have faced oppression with rebellion. Here are tips on avoiding common pitfalls.
A simple explanation of American politics including an overview of US history, the political parties, and the political system.
An “in-group” is a group you are part of (genetically, culturally, or ideologically), while an “out-group” is a group you aren’t part of.
The left-right political spectrum is used to create a model that shows a spectrum of political positions. Traditionally there is a 2-axis spectrum of left and right, but there are also many widely adopted 4-axis model.
Blog Posts tagged with "Left–right Politics"
The Philosophy of Governments It can be very attractive to have a list of government types, but yet that list may teach a person very little. Here instead is a look at the philosophy behind the government types that create that list. For a simpler list and look, see our page on “the types of . . . read more
Book Reviews tagged with "Left–right Politics"
Below is the Federalist #10, written by James Madison, and reprinted in full. We explain, annotate, and offer context on the Federalist #10.
We explain and annotate a letter Abraham Lincoln sent to Joshua Speed which shows how Lincoln opposed the Know-Nothings and Slavery.
We explain Oscar Wilde’s The Soul of Man Under Socialism to illustrate his prophetic take on non-authoritative individualist socialism.
Plato’s Republic attempts to define “justice”, show why we should be just, and relate this to an ideal form of government which best fosters justice in the State and Soul.