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How To Tell Left Wing From Right Wing In Politics


The talk of politics is full of talk of the left and the right, but what exactly is the difference between the two?

Well, the right wing tends to be associated more with 'conservative' values (with a small 'c')... the status quo and tradition. They tend to be me tougher on law and order than the left, and emphasise the importance of free trade and low taxation policies, often cutting tax when in power. A welfare state may be seen as important, but not the extent as for a more left wing society.

The right essentially plays up the role of the individual, and in an extreme right wing view, like atomism, there may be no society, but only a collection of individuals. Extreme right wing views are those such as fascism. Most governments these days move away from the right to the centre.

The left wing, on the other hand, is associated much more with what may be termed more liberal values, the role of society, and the community as a whole. Law and order policies tend to be more relaxed, taxation is increased by large amounts as they look to create a safety net and look after the poorer members of society through a more robust healthcare system etc.

The autonomy and role of the individual is undermined much more in such a system, and the state plays a larger role in people's lives. Many governments of today occupy a centre-left position. These governments are more likely to experience poor law and order records, and declining success of businesses, due to the taxation policies and more relaxed approach to law and order.

An extreme left wing view is something like communism, which looks exclusively at the community as a whole, to the detriment of the individuals that constitute that community. Both extremes lead to very unpleasant systems under which to live.

By: Stefan Kubick on Sat, Sep 13th 2003

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WOW okay now i know and i feel much more confident as to the right and left wings which is something i have never fully understood thank you for your great website and useful info

I'd just like to point out that far left political doctrines like communism are not at all unpleasant to live in, in theory at least. If politicians weren't so greedy and such liars and actually adhered to Marx and Engels 'The Communist Manifesto', with a few minor changes (such as the scrapping of its abolition of the family) a truly Communist-led nation would be a paradise. The infuriating thing is the bad press Communism has received following its adoption by Stalin and his like, which turned it into Russia into an authoritarian state which completely corrupted and contradicted the true definition of Communism as developed by Marx and Engels and turned it into its right-wing antithesis fascism. If sane and honest people headed a Communist revolution then I can't think of any society I would rather live in.

I would strongly disagree with the association of fascism with Extreme Right Wing politics.

It is hard to pin down fascism as being anywhere in the political spectrum. I would say it is more a style of political expression than belonging to one side or the other. You can have Left or Right Wing or even Centre Fascists (I would say the current British Government is fascist in its bullying tactics and attacks on civil liberties)

One thing seems to be widely agreed and that is that fascism is accompanied by overbearing State control of the population, usually by unpleasant means.

That's a pretty far stretch simply to say that those on the left desire to have gov involved heavily in their lives. On the contrary, many people on the left don't even want a government, rather to have people in control over their own lives. It's dismaying to see such loose definitions which mischaracterize both sides so deeply. It is no wonder 4 out of 5 Americans don't know what is really going on- so many people are determined to obfuscate the truth. It is much better to avoid the left- right- filters and stick to the pursuit of truth.

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