The Illusion of Left And Right

What goes where?

You probably think that politics can be neatly divided into two sides. There is the Left and there is the Right. Everything has to fit in somewhere on that line. You probably think there is some clear and logical principle that will tell you where to put every political persuasion on that line.

A simple political spectrum

A lot of people do see it that way. 

The reality though is that things are not that simple. The reality of human thought and political belief can’t be captured on a single one-dimensional line. There are many dimensions by which we can measure political persuasions. 

Before we look at those other dimensions we need to understand where this one came from. It is a surprisingly simple story.

Left & Right comes from where people sat.

The terms “Left” and “Right” in politics come from where people sat in the French National Assembly leading up to the French Revolution in 1789. Those who supported the rights and privileges of the King, the aristocracy, and the clergy were on the right of the president  (the “Right Wing”). Those who were on the left (the “Left Wing”), angered by those same privileges for the elite sought to establish a more egalitarian society. 

That happened over two centuries ago. So how did that work out? 

It didn’t end well.

Not very well actually. The First Republic dates to 1792. In 1793 they executed King Louis XVI. The dictatorship of the Committee of Public Safety and the Reign of Terror soon followed with some 17,000 public executions. As many as 10,000 died in prison without a trial. After interminable turmoil, Napoleon Bonaparte took control in 1799, and was declared Emperor in 1804. This led to the Napoleonic Wars that finally ended in 1815 with the final defeat of Napoleon.

The French Revolution started out with the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. It ended with a bloodbath, dictatorship, and wars that decimated France and Europe. 

In America

But again how does all of that apply to America today? This country has never had a legally established aristocracy. Churches in America have never had the privileges and power once held by the Catholic Church in France. Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution specifically prohibits the granting of titles of nobility by the United States government. The United States Constitution was ratified in 1788, a year before the French Revolution. It has been a model for limited government and respect for individual rights since the ink first dried on it.

No one is arguing that it was perfect, or was perfectly followed in principle. It was a model of an enlightened government regardless of any criticisms of its implementation. It was the ideals in that document that eventually led to the Civil War and the abolition of slavery in the United States. 

Nevertheless, there is a clear principle to be drawn from the French Revolution. That principle can still have some applicability in the politics of the modern world. The principle is about conservation vs. change. The Right seeks to conserve and the Left seeks change. If we are to use this principle consistently then any political movement seeking to change the status quo is on the Left. Those seeking to preserve the existing regime are on the Right. Simple, right?

Neither protecting what is established or changing it into something else has in itself any inherent good or evil. We can only impute moral good or evil when considering what is to be preserved or the changes some wish to make. We also need to examine how likely it is that those goals will actually be achieved in reality. 

The road to hell

We need to consider the old proverb that “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Nowhere is that fact more evident than in the French Revolution and in the Russian Revolution that followed in the 20th century. We have already mentioned the blood bath of the French Revolution. 

The Russian Revolution led to the Soviet Union. Estimates of how many died in the Soviet Communist Gulags vary from several million up to 12 million. Another 7 million victims are credited with state planned famines to collectivize agriculture in the Soviet Union between 1932 and 1933.

We will never know the exact numbers. The Soviet Union was certainly in the same league as Nazi Germany in murdering its own people. The Communists just had different reasons and techniques for murdering them. 

In their own minds many of the Russian revolutionaries, like the French revolutionaries, saw themselves as champions of humanity. The results, however, did not live up to their ideals and that is an important fact to consider. History teaches that good intention more often than not leads to disaster without plans grounded in the reality of human nature.

Up next

In this article, we have established where the political terms of Left and Right came from. In the next article, we will examine how far the modern political landscape has diverged from that simple picture. I will show how inadequate “Left” and “Right” are as a measure of the modern political scene. Also, I will attempt to show how these terms have become more tools of propaganda than of reasoned debate. Finally we need to look at some of those other dimensions we can use to more accurately gauge political positions.

Big Wins in 2017

United States flag in winter

Last day of the year and like everyone in the U.S. we are preparing for some very cold nights coming this week. Looking back we can see that President Trump and Conservatives had some very significant wins in 2017 – see the first story below on “The 7 Biggest Conservative Wins of 2017.”

Also don’t forget President Trump’s great success in appointing Federal judges in 2017 – the 2nd story below. But not everyone is happy – read the last story below on the still bitter “Never Trumpers.”

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year and may our wins in 2018 be even bigger!


The 7 Biggest Conservative Wins of 2017

President Trump Winning

 

 “Making America Great Again” isn’t going to happen overnight. But, 2017 has surely been a good start. So, before leaping into the new year, let’s take a look back at what Republicans have accomplished.

Judicial Picks, Including – But Not Limited to – Justice Neil Gorsuch …

Pulling Out of the Paris Climate Agreement …

Significant Blows to ISIS …

National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Passes in the House …

Formally Recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel …

Tax Reform …

Economic Uptick …

Simply put, despite what some may want you to think, this year hasn’t been all that bad. Here’s to hoping 2018 is even better.  

-Erika Haas READ MORE at Townhall


Trump’s Historic Success Appointing Federal Judges in 2017

 Even President Donald Trump’s critics cannot deny his historic success in 2017 in appointed judges to the Supreme Court and lower federal courts, exercising one of the greatest powers of the presidency in a way that will create a lasting legacy shaping the destiny of the nation.
President Trump’s clearest single victory on the judicial front was the successful nomination and confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. It began with the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016. For voters, the issue of the courts went from the abstract to the concrete, and judicial appointments became a red-hot issue.  

-Ken Klukowski READ MORE at Breitbart


Rick Manning: ‘National Review Crowd Can’t Admit They Were Dead Wrong About Donald Trump’

Never Trump at National Review

 “The National Review crowd can’t admit they were wrong, dead wrong, about Donald Trump,” said Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government.
Manning made his comments during Friday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with Breitbart Senior Editor-at-Large Rebecca Mansour.

“[Donald Trump] is the most conservative president in my lifetime, and I include Ronald Reagan,” opined Manning, reflecting on National Review’s ongoing framing of the 45th president as lacking conservative bona fides.

National Review’s 2016 “Against Trump” article derided then presidential candidate Donald Trump as a “philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus.”

Manning reflected on National Review’s expressed contempt for “white working class” communities, recalling the magazine’s 2016 cover story by Kevin Williamson which described predominantly white and rural communities as “dysfunctional and downscale.”  

-Robert Kraychik READ MORE at Breitbart


December 31, 2017 InAmerica

President Trump and War?

Again today the more interesting articles were on Townhall where most all front page news is directly or indirectly about President Trump. First Pat Buchanan weighs in on possible consequences of war on President Trump’s chances for re-election. Secondly Leah Barkoukis covers President Trump’s impromptu interview with the New York Times. Finally Matt Vespa highlights 10 sins of the American intelligence community and it anti-Trump activism (and probably criminal violations).


Will War Cancel Trump’s Triumphs?

President Trump

 Asked what he did during the French Revolution, Abbe Sieyes replied, “I survived.”

Donald Trump can make the same boast.

No other political figure has so dominated our discourse. And none, not Joe McCarthy in his heyday in the early ’50s, nor Richard Nixon in Watergate, received such intensive and intemperate coverage and commentary as has our 45th president.

Whatever one may think of Trump, he is a leader and a fighter, not a quitter. How many politicians could have sustained the beatings Trump has taken, and remained as cocky and confident?

But it is in the realm of foreign policy where the real perils seem to lie. President Trump has been persuaded by his national security team to send Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, for use against the tanks and armor of pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk.  

-Pat Buchanan READ MORE at Townhall


Trump Weighs in on Russia Investigation, AG Sessions, China and More in NYT Interview

 In an impromptu interview with the ‘failing’ New York Times, as he likes to call it, President Trump spoke about the Russia probe, his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, China being caught illegally delivering oil to North Korea, and more.

Speaking to a reporter at his golf club in West Palm Beach Thursday, Trump said he’d “been soft” on China regarding trade to hopefully encourage the country to rein in North Korea’s weapons program. That may change, however, after U.S. spy satellites captured images of China illegally oil to North Korea.  

-Leah Barkoukis READ MORE at Townhall


Sharyl Attkisson Shares The 10 Times The Intel Community Ran Amok

 Since the 2016 election, the intelligence community has been under greater scrutiny—and for good reason. The leaks emanating from this cadre of professionals in D.C. was not exposing government malfeasance from the Trump administration, but classified information that was putting America’s national security interests at stake. It seemed to have been done to hamstring a new administration.  

-Matt Vespa READ MORE at Townhall


December 29, 2017 InAmerica