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Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. 21 Oct '13 15:01
    Everyone uses the same terms, but do they mean the same thing? When I say right and left I use the term as I understand it which is the American right and left. While listening to the radio this morning the commentator was commenting on the difference between the two. I ran into a similar problem when talking about education recently. I figured it would be a good topic to discuss.

    What are the important aspects of being someone on the right and left?
  2. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    21 Oct '13 15:22
    Originally posted by Eladar
    Everyone uses the same terms, but do they mean the same thing? When I say right and left I use the term as I understand it which is the American right and left. While listening to the radio this morning the commentator was commenting on the difference between the two. I ran into a similar problem when talking about education recently. I figured it would b ...[text shortened]... good topic to discuss.

    What are the important aspects of being someone on the right and left?
    right: stupid
    left: genius
  3. 21 Oct '13 15:25 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by Eladar
    Everyone uses the same terms, but do they mean the same thing? When I say right and left I use the term as I understand it which is the American right and left. While listening to the radio this morning the commentator was commenting on the difference between the two. I ran into a similar problem when talking about education recently. I figured it would b ...[text shortened]... good topic to discuss.

    What are the important aspects of being someone on the right and left?
    When I was becoming politically aware in the 1990s, the "left" combined social liberalism with a belief in varying measures of state control / influence over the economy. The "right" combined free market economics with social conservatism. But increasingly, as the British Labour Party dropped many of its socialist economic policies and later as the Conservative Party adopted more liberal social values, the two main parties seemed to converge on the centre ground. There seemed to be a belief that everyone agreed, apart from small differences of emphasis, on what policies were needed, and the parties just started competing to be more managerially competent. The leaders who subscribed to this managerial ethos started boasting about how the terms "left" and "right" didn't have much meaning anymore.

    I was sceptical of this at the time, but perhaps left and right are not terribly useful terms. In the first place, most people don't have a coherent spectrum of positions, but combine various attitudes that might be traditionally left-wing and right-wing. This is one reason why electoral democracy isn't very responsive to individual voters' preferences; a libertarian might grudgingly vote Republican out of a preference for free market solutions and then have to put up with socially conservative policies as part of the total package.
  4. 21 Oct '13 16:14
    Originally posted by rwingett
    right: stupid
    left: genius
    You can't be that naive. If that is the case why is the right rich, and the left poor? Does it take genius to be dependent?
  5. 21 Oct '13 16:17
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    When I was becoming politically aware in the 1990s, the "left" combined social liberalism with a belief in varying measures of state control / influence over the economy. The "right" combined free market economics with social conservatism. But increasingly, as the British Labour Party dropped many of its socialist economic policies and later as the Conserv ...[text shortened]... utions and then have to put up with socially conservative policies as part of the total package.
    I tend to agree with a lot of this, but also, politically the terms right and left tend to be used pejoratively in ways the defy logic and properly historically defined terms.
  6. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    21 Oct '13 16:24
    Originally posted by normbenign
    You can't be that naive. If that is the case why is the right rich, and the left poor? Does it take genius to be dependent?
    Because their distant ancestors got the land deeds to Indian land from British people.
  7. 21 Oct '13 16:28
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    Because their distant ancestors got the land deeds to Indian land from British people.
    Please, you over generalize.
  8. 21 Oct '13 17:20 / 1 edit
    I don't believe in a simplistic distinction between "right" and "left." This distinction is even less useful in (Western and Northern) Europe, where most systems have multiple parties. Having said that, many parties do affiliate with either "right" or "left." I would say the main difference is that in the US the difference between "left" and "right" in rhetoric is much bigger, whereas the difference in actual policies is much smaller.
  9. 21 Oct '13 17:28 / 1 edit
    European Left = Socialist working class policies and values.
    European Right = Capitalist rich aristocratic connections.

    USA Left = Honest upright hard working sensible people concerned about others.


    USA Right = Corrupt gun Loving racist religious nuts linked to greedy global corporations that have no regard for ordinary people.
  10. 21 Oct '13 17:39
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    When I was becoming politically aware in the 1990s, the "left" combined social liberalism with a belief in varying measures of state control / influence over the economy. The "right" combined free market economics with social conservatism. But increasingly, as the British Labour Party dropped many of its socialist economic policies and later as the Conserv ...[text shortened]... utions and then have to put up with socially conservative policies as part of the total package.
    I think you are confusing political parties with left and right. Left and right are political beliefs, political parties simply try to run the country. There is a big difference.
  11. 21 Oct '13 18:04 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by johnnylongwoody
    European Left = Socialist working class policies and values.
    European Right = Capitalist rich aristocratic connections.

    USA Left = Honest upright hard working sensible people concerned about others.


    USA Right = Corrupt gun Loving racist religious nuts linked to greedy global corporations that have no regard for ordinary people.
    I disagree with your definition of US left. I'd say that the US left is defined by the belief in racial equality and the belief that the government is the tool that you use to create equality.

    Of course when you talk about racial equality you are also talking about socio-economic 'equality' since most leftiests see white people as the rich and blacks as the poor.
  12. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    21 Oct '13 18:11
    Originally posted by Eladar
    I disagree with your definition of US left. I'd say that the US left is defined by the belief in racial equality and the belief that the government is the tool that you use to create equality.

    Of course when you talk about racial equality you are also talking about socio-economic 'equality' since most leftiests see white people as the rich and blacks as the poor.
    A capitalist system, if left to its own devices, will naturally tend toward greater and greater concentrations of wealth. The role of government is to counteract this natural and inevitable tendency and make sure that wealth is distributed in a more equitable fashion.
  13. 21 Oct '13 18:13 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by johnnylongwoody
    European Left = Socialist working class policies and values.
    European Right = Capitalist rich aristocratic connections.

    USA Left = Honest upright hard working sensible people concerned about others.


    USA Right = Corrupt gun Loving racist religious nuts linked to greedy global corporations that have no regard for ordinary people.
    European Left - Proletarians
    American Left - Proletarians
  14. 21 Oct '13 19:33
    Originally posted by rwingett
    A capitalist system, if left to its own devices, will naturally tend toward greater and greater concentrations of wealth. The role of government is to counteract this natural and inevitable tendency and make sure that wealth is distributed in a more equitable fashion.
    That's what you believe which is why you are a leftist.
  15. 21 Oct '13 22:44 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    When I was becoming politically aware in the 1990s, the "left" combined social liberalism with a belief in varying measures of state control / influence over the economy. The "right" combined free market economics with social conservatism. But increasingly, as the British Labour Party dropped many of its socialist economic policies and later as the Conserv ...[text shortened]... utions and then have to put up with socially conservative policies as part of the total package.
    I hope right and left wing become a bit less distinct. I like the phrase 'Technocracy' the more like that we are the better, the last UK election was decisive in a way in that no party could win.

    Re Proletarians, I think left and right are dangerous legacies from 1900 - 1950 when you had unrest between the masses and the rulers, in Europe and Russia at least. Now I really like countries that can do both. Thatcher's legacy is under rated in the UK, its very useful having rich people, that kind of wealth can lead to very good welfare like in some EU countries. Thatcher really let the poor struggle in places and didn't realise people couldn't move north to south just like that to get new jobs, why I like 'Technocracy' wealth creation without stupid mistakes. I think part of her legacy should be that we don't worry or envy inequality, infact celebrate it in a way, we do... and just let the lowest paid / out of work get by alright. And that can work these days. I've always disliked 'left' politics because they sometimes see wealth or their employer as the enemy, I don't like that but I do like the welfare state, it keeps the country civilised.