Most people feel at sea when they research anything related to politics; this is completely understandable. However, the left-right political spectrum is, on the surface, easy to explain and understand. Left-wing politics emphasizes freedom, equality, progress, and internationalism, whereas right wings emphasize hierarchy, order, tradition, and nationalism. Of course, the distinction between the two ends of the political spectrum is not always clear. Some communists or socialists (left wing) favor nationalism, and some conservatives or nationalists (right wing) stand for equal distribution of resources.
Left-wing politics or leftism refers to a set of political beliefs that fights for equal status for all societies and seeks to establish that all humans are fundamentally worth the same. Therefore, they dream of a better world where no human has to suffer due to discrimination. The left wings (political parties or system) advocate granting more power to the government so that it can come up with solutions that benefit all people (the rich and the poor).
Right-wing politics refers to the belief that social stratification/hierarchy is inevitable (sounds like Thanos’ famous one-liner in Avengers: Endgame – I am inevitable). According to right-wing supporters, a lack of social order will result in chaos. However, their ideologies do not make them evil. They merely think practically and believe in a world order that is different from what leftism hopes and believes in. Right-Wings advocate free enterprise/private ownership. They believe that the people/consumers influence the prices set by capitalists; therefore, they posit that a government’s role needs to be minimal in such matters.
Left-Wing Vs. Right-Wing
The left wings are socialists that stress social and income equality. Therefore, they want the government to impose a higher tax on the wealthy and spend more on raising the infrastructure’s standard. Right wings are nationalists that take pride in their culture and staunchly support tradition. They want the government to provide more autonomy to private enterprises. To them, social order is natural and desirable in a nation. In a nutshell, left wings are progressive and open-minded, whereas right wings are conservative and have deep-rooted thoughts in culture and tradition.
Difference Between Left-Wing And Right-Wing In Tabular Form
|Parameters Of Comparison||Left-Wing||Right-Wing|
|Regulation of business||Left wings believe there is a greater need for government regulation of business to prevent customer exploitation.||Right wings opine that lesser government regulation of business leads to progress and innovation, which eventually results in economic growth.|
|Role of religion||Left wings advocate that religion should not interfere with state matters.||Right-wing supporters believe religion should play a more dominant role in a state, as it is indirectly the core of a culture (religion influences an individual’s values that form the core of a culture).|
|Emphasis is on||Freedom, equality, and progress.||Hierarchy, authority, and tradition.|
|Education||Favors free, public education/school system.||Though they do not oppose the public school system, they want people to have the option to opt out of it.|
|Stand on various rights||Generally, left wings favor access to abortion and gay marriage, but do not actively promote them. Moreover, they support gun control laws.||Right wings (in most cases) are strongly opposed to abortion and gay marriage. They are against gun control laws.|
|View on environmental protection||Believes a business/economic activity that harms the environment should be banned irrespective of the other benefits it provides.||Opines a business can find a solution to the harm it causes. Therefore, believes the business/company should be given a chance.|
|Stand on the death penalty||Against the death penalty and considers it barbaric.||Believes certain crimes deserve the death penalty.|
What Is Left-Wing?
The terms left-wing and right-wing originated in France during the French Revolution. The ones who sat on the left side of the parliamentary president stood up for a democratic republic and came to be known as the original left wings. However, the meaning of the term left-wing went through a lot of changes. It meant independents and republicans in France and liberalists in the United States. In modern politics, the term refers to those who support economic democracy (shifting of decision-making power from corporates to public stakeholders) to a certain extent and critics of capitalism.
Views/Stands/Positions Of Left-Wing Politics
The economic beliefs or viewpoint of Left-Wing politics stems from Keynesian and Marxian economics and the welfare state (the government promotes all of its citizen’s well-being equally). Marxian economics criticizes the conventional ways of distributing resources, whereas Keynesian economists believe that economic fluctuations can be controlled by the government’s judicious actions. Moreover, Left-Wing politics promote industrial democracy (workers must be allowed to make decisions), nationalization (transforming privately owned assets/properties into public assets), and social market (It does not concern itself with how a resource is produced – only cares about achieving equal distribution of it).
Left-libertarians – those who posit that all natural resources should be either collectively owned or unowned and anarchists – people who advocate stateless societies (no government to rule, no hierarchy, and free access to means of production) favor decentralized economies. Left-Wing politics are environmentalists who attribute the degradation of the environment to capitalist technology rather than population explosion. After all, untreated industrial waste and improper regulation of industrial gas release are some of the major causes of environmental pollution. Left-Wing supporters are concerned about the environment, as its destruction affects the poor more than the rich (be it countries or people).
Originally, the Left-Wing was against the undue influence of the Roman Catholic Church and supported the belief there is no God. In modern times, they support the separation of Church and State. However, there have been many religious left-wing movements like Buddhist, Jewish, and Islamic socialism. Leftism supports LGBQT+ rights, multiculturalism, alcohol prohibition, and so on. It focuses more on dealing with discrimination issues based on gender, race, or sexual orientation. Moreover, it advocates legal recognition of same-sex marriage or adoption and the use of contraception.
Types Of Left-Wing Politics
Left-wing political ideologies may be center-left or far/ultra-left.
The center-left supporters accept capitalism to a certain extent. Center-left politics believes in using the prevalent systems to ensure social justice (equal distribution of wealth and privileges). It supports moderate measures to diminish the economic gap between the rich and the poor. Therefore, it advocates progressive income tax, laws against child labor, and laws that ensure the well-being of workers. The following are the major types of center-lefts:
Progressives believe that a society can be improved or reformed through political actions that facilitate advancements in science and technology, social organization, and economic development.
Eco-politics or green politics seeks to establish a sustainable society and shares many similarities with conservation and peace movements. It emphasizes nonviolence, decentralization, ecological wisdom, global responsibility, social justice, participatory democracy, and so on.
Socialism stands for common ownership or equal access to means of production. Non-market socialism wants to establish a different economic mechanism than capitalism. It dreams of a different set of economic laws that would benefit everyone and seeks to eliminate profit motive. Market socialism does not oppose factor markets or profit motives but propagates social ownership of enterprises and equal allocation of resources.
Social liberalism propagates social justice and the expansion of civil and political rights (a class of rights that prevents the government, private institutions, or others from infringing on an individual’s freedom). It believes that the government should address social and economic issues without restricting an individual’s autonomy.
The far-left completely rejects capitalism and strongly opposes representative democracy. Far-lefts prefer direct democracy. The far-lefts can be sub-classified into radical lefts and extreme lefts. The former craves a fundamental change to neoliberalism (the reappearance of 19th-century ideas relating to free market capitalism) but fails to provide a suitable and viable alternative. The latter define capitalism more narrowly and strongly oppose it. Radical lefts are prevalent in modern times; however, extreme lefts are rare. The term far-left refers to varieties of the following philosophies or movements according to the country it is used in. The following are the two major types of far-lefts:
Anarchism is a political philosophy that advocates abolishing all types of institutions (the government, nation-states, and so on), as they impose unnecessary hierarchy and have undue influence. Anarchists use revolutionary and evolutionary tactics. The former aims for stateless societies, and the latter tries to figure out what the ideal anarchist society would be like.
Communism is an ideology that emphasizes common ownership, which facilitates the production, distribution, and exchange of products without discrimination. Communism has borrowed from a variety of schools of thoughts like Marxism, Leninism, etc. Communists believe that there are two major social classes – bourgeoisie (capitalist class) and proletariat (workers class), and the former class exploits the latter. According to them, a social revolution is required to change this scenario. A distinction between socialism and communism is that socialists seek to socialize production alone, whereas communists want to socialize production and consumption.
What Is Right-Wing?
Right-Wing politics is the counterpart to left-wing politics. It includes conservatives and libertarians. Advocates of right-wing politics favor private ownership and are anti-communistic. In the past, the Right favored nobility over the ‘new rich’ (those who became wealthy through commerce). However, in the 19th century, they favor capitalists over the working class. Moreover, they claim that social or economic inequality may be beneficial to society, as, without order, chaos will prevail.
Types Of Right-Wing Politics
Some of the major philosophies associated with right-wing politics are as follows:
Nationalism stands for creating a national identity based on culture, ethnicity, language, etc. It seeks to protect and preserve traditional culture. The two major forms of nationalism are ethnic nationalism (sometimes leads to ethnocentrism) and civic nationalism.
Social conservatism is skeptical of social change and is in favor of religious traditions, gender roles, and the status quo. It is against state atheism and supports religious traditions. Fiscal conservatism advocates tax cuts, deregulation, and free trade. It shares the philosophical outlook of classical liberalism. Fiscal conservatism is based on the principles of laissez- faire and capitalism.
Right-wing populism is a combination of right-wing politics and populist themes. It aims to defend national culture and identity from attacks initiated by outsiders. Former presidents Jair Bolsonaro (Brazil) and Donald Trump (United States) were well-known leaders of this political ideology.
Fascism is a far-right political ideology; it supports forcible suppression of opposition, and militarism, and views the perceived good of the nation as superior to individual interests. In the past, extreme fascists believed in a master race, which lead to racism, genocides, and mass killings. Nowadays, some political parties use the term anti-fascist to convey their political stance.
Right-libertarianism supports the free market and capitalism; however, it strongly opposes the state and propagates individual freedom. Right-libertarians view tax collection as a theft by the government.
Main Difference Between Left-Wing And Right-Wing In Points
- Left-Wing politics welcome government intervention for society’s benefit, whereas right-wing politics promotes free enterprise.
- Far-lefts reject capitalism and want social justice, while far-right favor a government that supports the dominant ethnic group.
- Right-Wing politics view hierarchy and order as natural and essential, whereas left-wing politics seeks to abolish hierarchy and establish stateless societies.
- The term right refers to parties that prioritize the interests of the upper or dominant class, while left refers to those who support the economic or lower class.
- In the past left-wing denoted republicans and right-wing referred to those in favor of monarchy.
- Left-Wing politics emphasizes freedom, rights, internationalism, and so on. Right-wing politics emphasizes tradition, hierarchy, authority, nationalism, etc.
- Communism, socialism, and progressives are the major types of left-wing political ideologies. Conservatives, nationalists, and liberalists are the major types of right-wing politics.
The ‘Right’ has been described as persons enamored with the current evils of society, while the ‘Left’ are those who want to replace it with a different set of evils. Such descriptions are apt, as no political ideology is without fault. Neither the left nor the right can be completely right. Only a political ideology that finds a compromise between these two extremes can truly be beneficial.