Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Left vs Right

I'm trying to stay out of politics recently but the situation in the world makes the subject very difficult to avoid. Politics are dominating the news and social media. The events of 2016 - mainly the refugee crisis in Europe, Brexit and the election of Trump to the U.S. presidency - have left me confused as to why so many people are taking right-wing views and has lead me to re-examine my political thinking as a liberal.

Ever since I could remember, I have always been a leftie. I wanted equality for all and believed climate change + animal rights are real problems the world should face. Yet I never really examined why I take these views on these issues. So I went back to basics and looked up the definitions of right wing and left wing. On Wikipedia (where else would I have gone to?), this was the definition of right-wing politics:
Right-wing politics hold that certain social orders and hierarchies are inevitable, natural, normal or desirable, typically defending this position on the basis of natural law, economics or tradition.
Before I go on, we should really establish that when the article mentions "social orders" and when I write anything about "social", what is really meant is wealth. Social classes went out the window after the World War 2 and was on really meant for countries where nobility thrived. What differentiates us the most in today's society is how much money you have. I don't deny there is this economic hierarchy. There will be people who will be richer or poorer than others. Yet I have a problem with how this social order is established and maintained. There are many who become rich via good, hard work. I don't have a problem with these people. My bile is reserved for those who arrive into the higher echelons of the social strata by scrupulous means. The methods include nepotism, exploitation of the masses, bending or breaking of the rules. I'll go more into this when I write about the economics of the Left and Right.

My argument brings me to the definition of left-wing politics (again, retrieved from Wikipedia):
Left-wing politics supports social equality and egalitarianism, often in opposition to social hierarchy and social inequality. It typical involves a concern for those in society whom its adherents perceive as disadvantaged relative to others (prioritarianism), as well as a belief that there are unjustified inequalities that need to be reduced or abolished (by advocating for social justice).
Before people start to label me as a Communist or a liberal elite hippie, I'm not advocating that everybody is equal. It has long been established Communism, where everybody is seen as equals, rarely works. The main Communist state of the Soviet Union fell and the other examples of Communist states nowadays are not really Communist (China, Vietnam) or don't thrive very well without some sort of capitalism to help (Cuba, North Korea). There never will be true equality amongst. We all cannot have the same money, material possessions, intelligence or physical attributes.

What I am advocating is equal opportunities for all. A person shouldn't be more entitled to a job, just because his/her relative owns the company or has connections to other businesses. A person shouldn't be denied access to education or health care because he/she has less money (something I will go into further detail when I approach education and health care).

Another moot point I have regarding right-wing politics is the use of "tradition". The term is rather vague but in essence people want to have things the same rather than change. I argue that things cannot always stay the same. Things will always change. We, as a person and a society, cannot stand still or we will cease to exist in our current state. If we continued to have tradition, the concept of slavery and female submission would have been kept. If we didn't progress, the Dark Ages would have continued and the sciences and the arts would not be where they are today.

A lot of "tradition" has used religion as its basis, something I totally disagree on. Some of my arguments against using religion as a basis of establishing rules and views on society is that not all people will be of that religion. There are people of other religions or of no religion, who will have different rules and views on society. Either there has to be a consensus between these groups of people, or a rule where the religion isn't affected (something I will elaborate when writing about gay marriage).

Delving into the definitions of left & right wing politics has re-affirmed by belief of being liberal but maybe not as liberal as I thought I would be. There always be a hierarchy, whether there are liberals or conservatives in power. But there always will be change and the end result should be an equal opportunity for all.

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