LEFT VERSUS RIGHT

 

INTRODUCTION

 

In politics the terms “right wing” and “left wing” originated in the 18th century French Parliament, the États Généraux, where those supporting the Church and King sat on the right and those supporting a peasant uprising sat on the left.

 

Interestingly, the policy disagreement was extreme socialism to include land reform versus private property rights which were largely, but not entirely, to the benefit of religious institutions and the aristocracy.  Despite the rhetoric, the cause of democratic liberties was not the defining issue.  Indeed, the left-wing French revolutionaries created a government undeniably more dictatorial and repressive that the right-wing monarchy it overthrew.

 

In no small sense, the French Revolution was the template for the horrors of left wing movements of the 20th century.  In this vein, events unfolded roughly as follows.

 

1.      Church property was confiscated and priests and nuns executed.   Land reform initially bought the support of the peasants but also disrupted production with the change in land management.

2.      To combat the rising price of foodstuffs, price controls were established on most basic goods under the “General Maximum” with violations punishable by death.

3.      The immediate effect was a widespread famine with consequent hoarding and theft threatening public order.  In response, the revolutionaries ordered the army to confiscate farmers’ crops outright and to distribute free food to the starving masses especially in the cities.  This, of course, lead to a further breakdown of the economy exacerbating the horror.

4.      The extreme level of unrest fostered the concentration of political power in the “Committee of Public Safety” led by the revolutionary socialist Robespierre.  A “Reign of Terror” was instituted by this left-wing dictatorship to silence opposition.   Thousands of the most vocal opponents, of whom less than ten percent were right-wing aristocrats, were murdered in prison or in public circus beheadings that made previous repression by the monarchy look like a Sunday school picnic.

5.      To divert attention from the failed experiment in socialism, no less than twenty-two years of unprovoked war was inflicted on neighboring countries with the added benefit of stolen treasure, especially food.

6.      To support their military aggression, a universal draft of young men, i.e. a “levée en masse”, was instituted.  When rural populations revolted over the loss of farm labor not to mention loved ones, the socialists responded with the “War in the Vendee.”  The final result was the gristly murder of no less than a few hundred thousand of their fellow citizens by left-wing forces.

 

So what went wrong?  Why was the American Revolution so successful and the French Revolution only a decade later so monstrous?  The obvious and undeniable difference is that the French were left-wing socialist-democrats and the Americans were right-wing Republicans.   The difference between socialism and “laissez-faire” capitalism was never more evident.  If this seems too simple an explanation, there is no other easy answer.

 

LEFT WING DEFINITION

 

The defining feature of a left-wing ideology is advocacy for a big-government welfare state.   Characteristics of all left wing movements, to greater or lesser degrees, include the following.

 

1.      Denial of any absolute moral code as envisioned by religion, especially Christianity.

2.      Individual rights are granted by the state and can be removed at will for the greater good.

3.      Confiscation of private property and individual earnings.

4.      Centralized disbursement of the necessities of life equally to all citizens.

5.      State control of the public narrative and suppression of dissent.

 

In general, government should use the absolute power of the state to regulate most aspects of life to maximize social harmony and happiness.  The popular rallying cry is [Karl Marx, “Critique of the Gotha Program”, 1875]

 

“From each according to his ability and to each according to his needs.”

 

Those historically advocating such programs have been Socialists, Nazis [National Socialist German Workers’ Party], Fascists, and Communists.  Today they call themselves liberals or more self-servingly, progressives.  In the United States they form the democrat party.  Supporters historically have been slave owners, labor unions, immigrants, and anyone asking for government welfare.

 

Needless to say considering the historical record, left-wing movements expend considerable effort to confuse the basis of their political theories not to mention the horror show results.

 

RIGHT WING DEFINITION

 

In stark contrast, a right-wing philosophy believes in small-government free-enterprise capitalism.   Some defining policies, as opposed to left-wing principles, include

 

1.      Absolute moral codes exist, especially as found in the Ten Commandments from the Bible.

2.      Personal rights are inalienable because they are granted by a supernatural Creator. They cannot be abridged or removed by the state. 

3.      Private property rights especially being allowed to keep what one earns.

4.      Individual responsibility for one’s own welfare.

5.      Universal respect for free speech, meaning everyone can say what their neighbors don’t like to hear.

 

In general, coercion by the state should be limited to protecting individual rights against predation by one’s neighbors, domestic and foreign.  A defining slogan might be [New Testament Bible, 2 Thessalonians 3:10]

 

“Those who will not work, neither shall they eat.”

 

Historically, these were European settlers in North America and at the extreme, anarchists worldwide.  Today they are called conservatives.  In the United States, they are Republicans.   Their supporters have historically been small businesses and entrepreneurs, families on small independent farms, and religious congregations.

 

The Republican party was founded on the principle that all mankind had equal rights and thus slavery was not just immoral but illegal.   The first Republican President was Abraham Lincoln who opposed democrat slave owners of the South.  Today Republicans refuse to believe that minorities are best served by the modern-day slavery of trickle-down crumbs from the government table.

 

ANARCHY

 

Anarchy is the result of moving to the far right sometimes called “rugged individualism”.   But because of left wing attempts to obfuscate their policies and especially their results with amorphous propaganda, it is useful to consider the term in greater detail.

 

Strictly speaking, “anarchy” is a society without a formal structure of laws.  But to the extent this paucity of government is chaotic, that is a derived and not a primary meaning.   The point is that even though right-wing anarchy and left-wing communism both create miserable living conditions, that does not make the two similar beyond the most superficial consideration.

 

If there is any doubt, consider the differences.  One is deeply religious and the other is atheistic.  One believes in the inherent rights of the individual and the other denies them entirely.   One has no laws or police force and the other supports massive bureaucracies that regulate every aspect of life with alphabet soup agencies like the KGB or FBI or CIA or MI6.  The remedy for one is taxes for a police force and the other is their reduction or even elimination.

 

Only the fuzziest of thinking could equate the two as claimed by the left-wing.  What the left wing wants you to believe is that their policy disasters are not their fault because extremes on both sides, like right-wing anarchy and left-wing communism, are somehow convergent and thus identical.

 

SELLING OF LIBERALISM

 

The appeal and problem of liberalism is that it wraps itself in the flag making grandiose promises impossible to fulfill.  It caters to the gullible, the young, the uneducated, and especially to the desperately downtrodden.  Unfortunately in practice, left-wing policies invariable destroy an economy uprooting the social structure, especially of that of the family.   If promises are too good to be true, they usually are.  So to get power, it is often necessary to confuse the issues.   Some ubiquitous but absurd left-wing claims include

 

1.      The claim that liberalism is democratic rather than tyrannical.

2.      The claim that liberals are altruistic and want what is best for society rather than for an enlightened cadre of politicians and technocrats.

3.      The claim that the greatest enemy of liberalism is not other liberal factions.

4.      The claim that disasters caused by socialist programs are the fault of the left-wing dictator who really had a right-wing agenda.

5.      The claim that liberalism improves the lives of the poor rather than impoverishing everyone.

6.      The claim that liberalism wants change fostering social progress, akin to technological innovation, while conservatives want a return to barbarism or no change at all.

 

In greater detail, these claims can be described as follows

 

1. TYRANNY AND SOCIALISM

 

At its core, liberalism trades individual freedom for the good of the collective.  As such it necessarily creates enlightened elite who best knows what is good for everyone else. Using the power of the state, these claim to be able to efficiently, but often ruthlessly, administer state functions.   Unfortunately, as power becomes concentrated in the state, is invariably tends to become concentrated in a dictator.

 

This was never more evident than in socialistic Nazi Germany [National Socialist German Worker’s Party] which produced the left-wing dictator, Adolph Hitler.  This was also true in Fascist Italy which produced the left-wing dictator Mussolini.    This was also true in communist Russia which produced the left wing Secretary General of the Communist party, Joseph Stalin.   This was also true in communist China which produced the left wing Chairman of the People’s Republic, Mao Tse-tung.  This was also true in socialist Venezuela under the dictator Hugo Chavez.

 

Of course democracies can also institute socialistic policies as with President Franklin D. Roosevelt.   But to the extent more left-wing state control policies are implemented, the fewer individual rights remain and less of the wealth of the nation remains in private hands, and the more oppressive the national government becomes.

 

2. A CLASSLESS SOCIETY

 

There is almost no greater discrepancy between theory and practice than the left wing claims of creating a class-less society.  In all instances, state control of everything in Socialism, like Nazi [National Socialist German Workers’ Party] or Fascists or Communists, give rise to a tyrant but even more so to a privileged cadre of bureaucrats.

 

3. ENEMIES OF THE LEFT

 

In all cases, the very first purges after every left-wing revolution comes to power are fellow traveler leftists.   The greatest danger to socialism is competing left-winger factions promising more free stuff than they do.

 

Left wing socialists are not less left wing because they attack other left wing countries.  Socialists will attack other left wing dictatorships and right wing democracies with equal abandon.  Indeed, even though the left-wing Nazi socialist dictator Adolph Hitler eventually attacked communist Russia which was also left-wing, he had previously invaded Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Luxemburg, Holland, Belgium and France which were by comparison right-wing democracies.   Indeed the only country he ever declared war upon, was the United States which is based on right-wing principles.

 

Leftist dictators need to first eliminate other left wing demagogues making all the same wild promises to the masses.   Communist dictator Vladimir Lenin called fellow leftist factions “useful idiots” who he eliminated after coming to power.

 

4. IDEOLOGIES OF NAZI SOCIALISTS, FASCISTS, AND COMMUNISTS

 

These ideologies were all left-wing by any definition.   They all implemented massive social works programs radically transforming the economic and social foundations of their nations.  In all cases when the massive taxation and confiscation of private property and government inefficiencies destroyed the economy, they implemented violent repression of dissent.  In the case of Nazi Germany, they diverted attention from the widespread poverty they caused by socialism, by invading Poland, massacring the educated, and resettling German farmers.

 

5. ECONOMICS OF SOCIALISM

 

Socialism does not improve life of the poor but brings everybody else down to their level.

 

6. THE ROLE OF CHANGE IN LIBERAL AND CONSERVATIVE IDEOLOGIES

 

Unfortunately, in a callous smear campaign appealing mostly to the illiterate, left-wing democrats claim they are for progress, or change for the better.  They also push the transparent lie that right-wing conservatives have no policies at all and are for either no change or for a return to primitive and barbaric times without indoor plumbing.   Of course this claim does not survive with anyone past the age of reason who can also read but it is parroted by some democrats who cannot.

 

SUMMARY OF LEFT-RIGHT ISSUES

 

ISSUE

LEFT WING

RIGHT WING

Goals

Equal results.

Equal opportunities.

Tone

Emotional or motherly.  Acts on impulse.

Rational or fatherly.  Thoughtful and disciplined.

Time Horizon

Demands quick fixes for immediate relief.  Discounts any long term consequences.

Prefers permanent solutions.  Sacrifices immediate gratification for long term benefit.

Approach

Alleviate symptoms of suffering.  Concerned with appearances.  Ignores  failings of human nature.

Alleviate causes of suffering.  Concerned with results.  Humans are flawed so tries to balance ambition with ambition in checks and balances.

Change

Generally seeks to increase government control for social progress.

Generally seeks  to decrease government control for social progress.

Structure

High Taxes.  Extensive Regulation.
Government social services and welfare.

Low Taxes.  Minimum Regulation.
Privatization of Social Services to churches, etc.

Responsibility

State is responsible for personal welfare.

Individual is responsible for personal welfare.

Types

Exists in both dictatorships and democracies but favors total control by central government.  Mostly dictatorships.

Exists in both dictatorships and democracies but favors de-centralized or local government.  Mostly democracies.

Rights

Individual rights are granted by the state and can be removed at any time for the greater good.  Government exists to foster social harmony by enlightened governance.

Individual rights are absolute given each individual by God.   Government exists only to protect those rights from one's neighbors.

Abortion

Legalization.  People exist for the good of the state.   Anyone to include babies in the womb, the handicapped, and the old and infirm can be eliminated for convenience.

Prohibition.  Each individual, at every stage of life, has inalienable rights, especially to life, which cannot be removed by the state at any time or for any reason.

Family

Family unit is easily replaced by state-run social services.   Marriage is an unnecessary and out-dated custom.   Single mothers should be supported entirely by state welfare.

Family unit is essential for social stability.  People are happiest in a stable marriage. Divorce is discouraged.  Fathers and not society should be required to support their children. 

Drugs

Legalization.  Drug dependence makes society more compliant and easily controlled.   All other rights are more easily removed.   Provides a safety valve on government repression and control.

Prohibition.  Statistically, drug use destroys individual incentive leading to poverty and crime.  Addicts do not accept responsibility to provide for themselves or their families and are a financial burden on neighbors.

Wage Equality

Socialism creates a privileged class and structural inefficiency in the economy that leads to  wage inequality.

Free enterprise creates a middle class and wage equality.  Extremes of income are naturally smoothed out.

Downsides

Massive taxation destroys the economy leading to crushing national debt and widespread poverty.   Need to silence opposition to include mass murder.   Unprovoked foreign wars.

Imperfect social safety net leading to isolated object-lesson tragedies.  Occasional periods of economic depression with large scale unemployment.