Right, Left, Center and Libertarianism

The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can “throw the rascals out” at any election without leading to any profound or extreme shifts in policy.
Carrol Quigley, Tragedy and Hope (source LRC Blog)

Right or Left?

Look out!  It’s election time.  Time for me to participate in chatter and hopefully meaningful discussion about the economy and where major trends are going.  Though no, I won’t be participating in every 4 year voter fraud that is elections.  I won’t go into the many reasons for not voting here specifically.  What I wanted to discuss today is rather the fundamental differences between the Right and the Left, with maybe some brief comments of the Center.

What are the differences between the Right and the Left?  According to Quigley, they should be almost identical.  Now, he doesn’t specify in the above quote (I haven’t read his book yet to verify his thoughts on the matter) whether he means they should be identical in action, or rhetoric, or both.  My thought is that they are to be almost identical in action, and to sound different in rhetoric.

So, firstly then let’s discuss rhetoric.  Growing up under a republican family, I am familiar with the differences in rhetoric from that point of view.

  • The Right is Pro Life / The Left is Pro-Choice
  • The Right is Pro-Economic Freedom / the Left is Pro-Social Freedom
  • The Right is Anti-Social Freedom / the Left is Anti-Economic Freedom
  • The Right is Pro-War / The Left is Anti-War
  • The Right is Anti-Gay Marriage / the Left is Pro-Gay Marriage
  • The Right is fiscally conservative / the Left wants Social Programs
    • Though both are Anti-Debt and Fiscally Conservative to Their Side, and Debt Ridden, Fiscally Lavish to the Other Side

Those are the primary, major issues that can also be pretty divisive.  Yet, if you look beyond the rhetoric their actions speak to Quigley’s notion that either party shouldn’t lead to any profound shifts in policy.

  • Abortion
    • Once Abortion became legal, the Right has done nothing to revoke it; but talks big on the subject to garner votes.
  • Economic Freedom / Social Freedom
    • These are really two sides of the same coin.  Free to act as an individual, is being free to act as an individual within a business.
    • Instead, both Left and Right act against the opposition’s freedoms while not increasing the freedoms they propose to represent.
    • The Right is really Pro-“Enforcing Personal Morality via Force”
    • The Left is really Pro-“Enforcing Business Morality via Force”
    • The Right hasn’t reduced legislation that hinders business choices; and has increased it to the benefit of Big Business at the expense of small business
    • The Left hasn’t reduced legislation that hinders personal choices; and has increased it to the benefit of minorities at the expense of the majority
  • War
    • Neither the Left or the Right are really anti-war.  Both sides have governed over mass amounts of destruction and death.   Occasionally a new president is elected as an anti-war candidate, to end a current war.  He might end the current one, but they always start a new one; or just “fake end” the current war.  An example is Obama’s end to Iraq.  Yet we still have thousands of defense contractors in Iraq.  War not over.
  • Marriage
    • A divisive issue where their actually will be some difference in a timeline.  Much like the Abortion issue above.  Gay Marriage is inevitable in this country, and once it passes it will be like the abortion debate where the Right won’t make any pushes to repeal it.  Doing so would lose them money and elections.  But until then, the right may delay Gay Marriage.  Fundamentally though, both Right and Left, deem it worthwhile that they can determine who is married and who is not.  Where in reality that is a choice for individuals only, and for individuals to recognize marriage in others, or to not recognize it.
  • Debt
    • See the below notes on how spending had changed over the last 60 years.

Truman (1948–1952 term) 43.3 to 65.8; 52 percent growth in 4 years
Eisenhower (1952–1960) 65.8 to 89.8; 36.5 percent in 8 years
Kennedy-Johnson (1960–1968) 89.8 to 176.7; 96.8 percent in 8 years
Nixon-Ford (1968–1976) 176.7 to 394.7; 123.4 percent in 8 years
Carter (1976–1980) 394.7 to 649.7; 64.6 percent in 4 years
Reagan (1980–1988) 649.7 to 1143.8; 76.1 percent in 8 years
Bush I (1988–1992) 1143.8 to 1484.3; 29.8 percent in 4 years
Clinton (1992–2000) 1484.3 to 1942.5; 30.9 percent in 8 years
Bush II (2000–2008) 1942.5 to 3219.8; 65.8 percent in 8 years
Obama (2008–2012) 3219.8 to 3705.2; 15.1 percent in 3 years
  (Source LRC Blog)

    • No real fundamental difference between the two parties.

Okay, so there is no real fundamental difference between the Right and Left besides rhetoric.  So how should we vote?  Well, I’ll attempt to address that in the next post.  For now though, what about the center?  Otherwise known as the “Independents”.  Or is the center the “Libertarians” who are often seen as being for fiscal AND social freedoms.  Combining the classical liberal components of the Right/Left.

I’m going to stick with the Independents being the “center” as despite any similarities I can’t put libertarianism between the Left and the Right; fundamentally they are not on the same plane.  Libertarianism stems from classic liberalism, while the Left/Right stem from socialism or Marxism.  Completely separate philosophical foundations.

So what is the center?  What are independents?  I guess they aren’t much different from either the Right or the Left.  They most likely have the same philosophic political background of socialism yet at least they realize that either the Right or the Left are not mutually exclusive.  You can wish for things from both spectrums.

Anyways, I don’t know where I’m going with this.  I’ll just end this one early and work on discussing the question of voting next.

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