Left-right political spectrum

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The left–right political spectrum (also called a "uniform linear political spectrum") is a system of classifying political positions, ideologies and parties from social equality on the left to social hierarchy on the right. The intermediate stance is called centrism and a person with such a position is a moderate or centrist. On this type of political spectrum, left-wing politics and right-wing politics are often presented as opposed, although a particular individual or group may take a left-wing stance on one matter and a right-wing stance on another; and some stances may overlap and be considered either left-wing or right-wing depending on the ideology.[1] In France, where the terms originated, the left has been called "the party of movement" and the right "the party of order".[2][3][4][5]

In the United States, a 2005 Harris Poll of American adults showed that the terms left wing and right wing were less familiar to Americans than the terms "liberal" or "conservative".[6]

Left-wing politics[edit | edit source]

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Peter Berkowitz writes that in the U.S., the term liberal "commonly denotes the left wing of the Democratic Party" and has become synonymous with the word progressive.[8]

Michael Kazin writes that the left is traditionally defined as the social movement or movements "that are dedicated to a radically egalitarian transformation of society" and suggests that many in the left in the United States who met that definition called themselves by various other terms.[9] Kazin writes that American leftists "married the ideal of social equality to the principle of personal freedom" and that contributed to the development of important features of modern American society. He asserts that this includes
"the advocacy of equal opportunity and equal treatment for women, ethnic and racial minorities, and homosexuals; the celebration of sexual pleasure unconnected to reproduction; a media and educational system sensitive to racial and gender oppression and which celebrates what we now call multiculturalism; and the popularity of novels and films with a strongly altruistic and anti-authoritarian point of view."[10]
A variety of distinct left-wing movements existed in American history, including labor movements, the Farmer-Labor movement, various democratic socialist and socialist movements, pacifist movements, and the New Left.[11]

Right-wing politics[edit | edit source]

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Right-wing politics embraces the view that certain social orders and hierarchies are inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable,[12][13][14] typically supporting this position on the basis of natural law, economics, or tradition.[15]:693, 721[16][17][18][19][20] Hierarchy and inequality may be seen as natural results of traditional social differences[21][22] or competition in market economies.[23][24][25] The term right-wing can generally refer to "the conservative or reactionary section of a political party or system".[26]

In Europe, economic conservatives are usually considered liberal, and the Right includes nationalists, idealists, nativist opponents of immigration, religious conservatives, and, historically, a significant number of right-wing movements with anti-capitalist sentiments, including conservatives and fascists, who opposed contemporary capitalism because they believed that selfishness and excessive materialism were inherent in it.[27][28] In the United States, the Right includes both economic and social conservatives.[29]

Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Milner, Helen (2004). "Partisanship, Trade Policy, and Globalization: Is There a Left–Right Divide on Trade Policy" (PDF). International Studies Quarterly. 48: 95–120. doi:10.1111/j.0020-8833.2004.00293.x.
  2. Knapp & Wright, p. 10.
  3. Adam Garfinkle, Telltale Hearts: The Origins and Impact of the Vietnam Antiwar Movement (1997). Palgrave Macmillan: p. 303.
  4. "Left (adjective)" and "Left (noun)" (2011), Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
  5. Roger Broad, Labour's European Dilemmas: From Bevin to Blair (2001). Palgrave Macmillan: p. xxvi.
  6. Political Labels: Majorities of U.S. Adults Have a Sense of What Conservative, Liberal, Right Wing or Left Wing Means, But Many Do Not, The Harris Poll #12 (February 9, 2005).
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Left%E2%80%93right_political_spectrum&oldid=1000589292
  8. Peter Berkowitz, "The Liberal Spirit in America and Its Paradoxes" in Liberalism for a New Century (eds. Neil Jumonville & Kevin Mattson: University of California Press, 2007), p. 14.
  9. Michael Kazin, American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation (2011: First Vintage Books ed., 2012), p. xiv.
  10. Michael Kazin, American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation (2011: First Vintage Books ed., 2012), p. xiii-xiv.
  11. Michael Kazin, American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation (2011: First Vintage Books ed., 2012), p. xix.
  12. a b Johnson, Paul (2005). "Right-wing, rightist". A Politics Glossary. Auburn University website. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  13. a b Bobbio, Norberto; Cameron, Allan (1996). Left and Right: The Significance of a Political Distinction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 51, 62. ISBN 978-0-226-06246-4.
  14. a b Goldthorpe, J.E. (1985). An Introduction to Sociology (Third ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 156. ISBN 978-0-521-24545-6.
  15. Carlisle, Rodney P. (2005). Encyclopedia of Politics: The Left and the Right. Thousand Oaks [u.a.]: SAGE Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4129-0409-4.
  16. T. Alexander Smith, Raymond Tatalovich. Cultures at war: moral conflicts in western democracies. Toronto, Canada: Broadview Press, Ltd, 2003. p. 30. "That viewpoint is held by contemporary sociologists, for whom 'right-wing movements' are conceptualized as 'social movements whose stated goals are to maintain structures of order, status, honor, or traditional social differences or values' as compared to left-wing movements which seek 'greater equality or political participation.' In other words, the sociological perspective sees preservationist politics as a right-wing attempt to defend privilege within the social hierarchy."
  17. Left and right: the significance of a political distinction, Norberto Bobbio and Allan Cameron, p. 37, University of Chicago Press, 1997.
  18. Seymour Martin Lipset, cited in Fuchs, D., and Klingemann, H. 1990. The left-right schema. pp. 203–34 in Continuities in Political Action: A Longitudinal Study of Political Orientations in Three Western Democracies, ed.M.Jennings et al. Berlin:de Gruyter
  19. Lukes, Steven. 'Epilogue: The Grand Dichotomy of the Twentieth Century': concluding chapter to T. Ball and R. Bellamy (eds.), The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought. pp.610–612
  20. Clark, William Roberts (2003). Capitalism, Not Globalism: Capital Mobility, Central Bank Independence, and the Political Control of the Economy ([Online-Ausg.]. ed.). Ann Arbor [u.a.]: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-11293-7.Template:Page needed
  21. Smith, T. Alexander and Raymond Tatalovich. Cultures at War: Moral Conflicts in Western Democracies (Toronto, Canada: Broadview Press, Ltd., 2003) p. 30. "That viewpoint is held by contemporary sociologists, for whom 'right-wing movements' are conceptualized as 'social movements whose stated goals are to maintain structures of order, status, honor, or traditional social differences or values' as compared to left-wing movements which seek 'greater equality or political participation.'
  22. Gidron, N; Ziblatt, D. (2019). "Center-right political parties in advanced democracies 2019" (PDF). Annual Review of Political Science. 22: 23. doi:10.1146/annurev-polisci-090717-092750. Defining the right by its adherence to the status quo is closely associated with a definition of the right as a defense of inequality (Bobbio 1996, Jost 2009, Luna & Kaltwasser 2014). As noted by Jost (2009), within the context of Western political development, opposition to change is often synonymous with support for inequality. Notwithstanding its prominence in the literature, we are hesitant to adopt this definition of the right since it requires the researcher to interpret ideological claims according to an abstract understanding of equality. For instance, Noel & Therien (2008) argue that right-wing opposition to affirmative action speaks in the name of equality and rejects positive discrimination based on demographic factors. From this perspective, the right is not inegalitarian but is “differently egalitarian” (Noel & Therien 2008, p. 18).
  23. Scruton, Roger "A Dictionary of Political Thought" "Defined by contrast to (or perhaps more accurately conflict with) the left the term right does not even have the respectability of a history. As now used it denotes several connected and also conflicting ideas (including) 1)conservative, and perhaps authoritarian, doctrines concerning the nature of civil society, with emphasis on custom, tradition, and allegiance as social bonds ... 8) belief in free enterprise free markets and a capitalist economy as the only mode of production compatible with human freedom and suited to the temporary nature of human aspirations ..." pp. 281–2, Macmillan, 1996
  24. Goldthorpe, J.E. (1985). An Introduction to Sociology (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 156. ISBN 978-0-521-24545-6. There are ... those who accept inequality as natural, normal, and even desirable. Two main lines of thought converge on the Right or conservative side...the truly Conservative view is that there is a natural hierarchy of skills and talents in which some people are born leaders, whether by heredity or family tradition. ... now ... the more usual right-wing view, which may be called 'liberal-conservative', is that unequal rewards are right and desirable so long as the competition for wealth and power is a fair one.
  25. Gidron, N; Ziblatt, D. (2019). "Center-right political parties in advanced democracies 2019" (PDF). Annual Review of Political Science. 22: 24. doi:10.1146/annurev-polisci-090717-092750. ...since different currents within the right are drawn to different visions of societal structures. For example, market liberals see social relations as stratified by natural economic inequalities.
  26. "right wing – definition of right wing in English | Oxford Dictionaries". En.oxforddictionaries.com. 20 April 2014. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  27. a b Leonard V. Kaplan, Rudy Koshar, The Weimar Moment: Liberalism, Political Theology, and Law (2012) p 7-8.
  28. a b Alan S. Kahan, Mind Vs. Money: The War Between Intellectuals and Capitalism (2010), p. 184.
  29. a b Jerome L. Himmelstein, To the right: The transformation of American conservatism (1992).
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