Articole

Left Wing and Right Wing

Superficial introduction to political doctrines

One of the things I most asked to expand on while engaging in political discussions with my friends is about the difference between the left wing and right wing and what they mean. Now, we talk about doctrines (left, center, right), it is important to note that they can be placed on two separate axes: the economical axis and the political axis.

On the Economical Axis

The differences on the economical axis tend to stem from the different views regarding the role of the state in citizen’s lives and economic activity. The left supports socialism while the right is an advocate of capitalism.

Left Wing

Right Wing

Big state. The state should have more power and be implicated in order to help its citizens strive.

Small state. The state should be as small as possible, because the larger the state grows the more it tends to press down on the individual. The bigger the state, the bigger the corruption.
Higher taxes. The state should collect larger amounts of money from taxes and use it to provide the necessary services to its citizens, such as healthcare, infrastructure and education. Lower taxes. The state should collect lower amounts in tax money so smaller amounts are spent on programs that the taxpayers disagree with. This leaves the individual with more money to spend on their particular needs, however they see fit. Services should be private, as much as possible, since competition will ensure their quality.
State involvement in the economic market. The state should interfere in the market and impose restrictions and regulations that help protect consumers, workers, avoid monopolies and disabling inequality. Focus on state companies and ventures. Free economic market. The state should not be involved in the market and should impose as few restrictions as possible, letting consumer choice and competition dictate the flow of the economy. Focus on entrepreneurship and protecting business owners.

On the Political Axis

Most of the time, however, the left and right are brought into discussion in regards to their different stances on social and political issues. While people engage in rather complex and sophisticated public discourse and resist strict categorization into one view or the other, I shall try to summarize below the tendencies of the two directions.

Left Wing

Right Wing

Focused on groups and identity politics. Worries about how different groups of people, especially racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities are represented in the workplace and in entertainment. Focused on the individual.
Progressive and liberal. Focused on adapting society to modernity by rapid integration of progressive ideas. Conservative and traditional. Considers new ideas should be integrated in society slowly, for a proper assimilation process. Also focused on the preservation on traditional values.
Tendency towards atheism and agonisticism. Tendency towards dogmatic religious views, especially in regards to Christianity.

Focus on social constructions. If a man kills another man, it will tend to analyze what factors from his environment drove them to do it. Tends to have a more relativistic view on morality.

Focused on free will and individual responsibility. If a man kills another man, it will accept that a bad man did a bad thing. Tends to work with ”more objective” constructs of morality.

Concerned about environmental preservation. Concerned more with industrialization, jobs and economic growth, and to a lesser extent with the environmental impact.
Politically correct. Opposes political correctness as it views it to come in conflict with personal freedom of expression.
Tends to support gay marriage, anti-discrimination laws and oppose gun rights and the death penalty (especially in the US) Tends to be against gay marriage and anti-discrimination laws. Believes the latter incites to government control and infringement on the freedoms of individual and businesses. Tends to be pro gun rights and death penalty.

In its extreme, the left leads to communism: forceful dissolution of social classes and individual variation in a society that is controlled by the state in its entirety. The extreme of the right paves the way to fascism: an anti-liberal, anti-communist dictatorship that suppresses all forms of opposition. Both horrible experiments of the last century.

Note about Romania

While in the United States the Republican (GOP) and the Democratic Parties are perfect examples of the right and left respectively, the distinction of political doctrines in the Romanian landscape is blurred, at best. For example, the largest party, PSD, is on the economical left, but on the political right, expressing very conservative and traditional social views.

 

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