Understanding the Real Meaning of "Left" and "Right" The Left has always lied about what constitutes the "Right"... it's what Leftists do... they lie.
Because the Left is not constrained by Truth, they freely lie about virtually everything. Because they believe "the end justifies the means" they are perfectly comfortable lying at every opportunity. Note the history of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and most recently, Adam Schiff. These people are completely unconstrained by the Truth or any ethical core. Their political agenda is supreme. They are, as the late Jeane Kirkpatrick once observed, card-carrying members of "the blame America first" club.
What really distinguishes "Left" from "Right" in the political arena?
Some would claim that "Left" means "of the people" while "Right" means "of the rich and powerful". Leftists often make that claim.
Some claim that Nazis and Fascists are "Right" (or "right-wing") and they would also be Leftists (or ignorant) who make such claims.
To be fair, to a far Leftist, Nazis and Fascists are to their "Right", but that is only by comparison, because both Nazis (national socialists) and Fascists (national socialists of a different strain) are, at their core, socialists governed by a powerful central figure.
Whether Marxism, Socialism, Progressivism, Naziism, or Fascism, they all have the same roots: An all-powerful oligarchy where individual rights are secondary to the power of the state.
The true barometer of "Left" and "Right" is revealed by where power is concentrated.
On the Right, power is concentrated in the People as individuals. Governance is dictated by agreed-upon laws, typically enshrined in a constitution. It is never a government whose laws and regulations are at the whimsy of "men" (an all-powerful monarch or dictator). Individual freedom and liberty are characteristic of the true "Right". Truth, ethics, honesty, and responsibility are necessary characteristics of those on the Right who are guided by a Biblical moral code and adherence to supreme laws enshrined in a constitution that cannot be changed on whimsy.
On the Left, power is concentrated in a strong oligarchy, typically a one-party dictatorship led by either a single tyrant or a small collective who wield absolute power. It is a government of "men" not constrained by a set of supreme laws enshrined in a constitution. Suppression of individual freedom and liberty for "the common good" (usually of those who rule) is characteristic of the Left. Atrocities against humanity are legendary on the far Left where "the end justifies the means" is the Left's guiding principle. Laws can be changed at the whim of the ruling oligarchy. Speech is only "free" if it agrees with the views of the ruling oligarchy.
On the extreme Right are the anarchists, those who do not want to be beholden to any governmental restrictions. They believe individual freedom outweighs the need (and/or desire) for any centralized government. Note that Leftists often refer to their soldiers as "anarchists" when they riot, typically whenever they don't get their own way or when they seek to restrain freedoms of others. But, in fact, while lawless acts of the Far Left are committed by hoodlums, they are not really anarchists because they commit their acts of violence in furtherance of the objectives of the Far Left, which are completely opposed to those of the Far Right. Disrespect for civilized behavior and government power does not define an anarchist. Such behavior is, in fact, more characteristic of both the Extreme and Far Left.
Moving from the extreme Right toward the center is the Far Right. Here we find Libertarians, who insist on very limited central government while retaining very strong power at the individual and local community level. In the USA, Libertarians are strongly devoted to adherence to the strict limitations of federal government power dictated by the US Constitution. They tend to view those limitations with the most severe interpretation.
The Right is populated by republicans, conservatives, and constitutionalists, who recognize the need to adhere to the supreme law of the land, the constitutional structure and limitations of federal government. In this sense, they have common cause with Libertarians, however, where there is legitimate room for compromise in the ever-present battle to secure our Constitutional Republic from assault by the Left, the Right is less dogmatic and more pragmatic in its approach to moving in the right direction rather than demanding complete adherence in one stroke. In the USA, the Right views governmental power as strongest at the individual and community level, as intended and instructed by the Constitution of the United States of America. Our Constitutional Republic reserves power to the People and States while strictly limiting powers of the central federal government. Traditional constitutional republicans also fall into this category. The Founders of the USA were strongly embedded in this category and warned specifically of the dangers of "democracy" as a form of government. This group believes any governmental action must be within the strict limitations of the Powers clause of the US Constitution (Article I, Section 8). Obvious contemporary example: The USA.
This category typically includes those who are often characterized as "RINOs" (Republicans in Name Only) who believe that if the people approve of a law or regulation, it should be adopted regardless of its constitutionality. While for many issues, this group prefers to adhere to constitutional restraints, it is willing to make exceptions for changes that are appealing, regardless of whether they adhere to or skirt constitutional limits of governmental power. In the US Senate, the Moderate Right includes those Senators who tolerate the archaic "filibuster" rule adopted by the Senate that unconstitutionally requires virtually every issue to achieve a super-majority to pass the Senate. This rule is in clear violation of the US Constitution where super-majorities are reserved for only a few specific occasions (e.g., proposing changes to our Constitution). Senate rules cannot legitimately violate the spirit and intent of our US Constitution, yet the much-despised "filibuster" rule does exactly that.
Moderate or Centrist
This category typically includes those who have little understanding of their government and are ambivalent toward its actions. In the USA that would be those who have little understanding of our Constitutional Republic and the government prescribed by our Constitution. Consequently, they are put off by politics simply because they do not understand what is at stake nor do they comprehend the structure and limited powers of federal government under our Constitution. That the USA is a "constitutional republic" and not a "democracy" is lost on "moderates" who hesitate to take a strong position on anything because they are unfamiliar with the guiding principles of our Constitutional Republic.
Moderates can be educated to understand our Constitution and the government it creates. The great failing of the USA's public education system is its failure to teach early pre-Revolutionary history, the history of the founding of our Republic, and a sound understanding of the true nature of our Constitutional form of government.
A well-educated and informed American public would never have tolerated the violation of trust by the Progressive President Woodrow Wilson (a virulent racist) who illicitly and illegally declared the 16th and 17th Amendments ratified. The 17th Amendment fundamentally destroyed the structure and purpose of a bicameral Congress. Today we live with that scourge and a Senate whose rule enabling a filibuster to demand a super-majority on most votes is clearly unconstitutional because our Constitution specifies those few instances where super-majorities are required. While the Senate has the power to make its own rules, it cannot defy our Constitution with any of its rules. Yet it does, a condition that would not exist were it not for the popular election of Senators (the 17th Amendment) because States would recall any Senator who tried to block the legitimate course of Senate business by filibustering. Repeal of the 17th Amendment is critical to re-establishing the Senate as a meaningful body designed to represent the interests of State governments. The House was created by population count to represent the interests of the People. The Senate was created by a count of the States to assure the interests of each State are represented in Congress.
A properly-educated American Public would understand that Progressives (like Wilson) have a common bond with all Socialist Left forms of government. That bond is forged between Progressives, Marxists, and Socialists, because they all share the same belief that our Constitution is fundamentally flawed.
What is that flaw? Our Constitution's failure to anoint government with complete power over the individual. Our Constitution's highly restrictive limits on federal government power, reserving the bulk of power to the People or States is despised by the Left because the Left believes federal government should have the ultimate supreme power over States and individuals.
Wilson's illicit action arrogantly declaring as ratified the unratified 17th Amendment, eliminated representation of State governments in the Congress. By popularly electing Senators instead of having State legislatures choose their representation, (as the original Constitution had prescribed) the 17th Amendment fundamentally destroyed constitutional restraint on central government power. This is one example of "the end justifies the means" approach to governance by the Left. It is also an example of how the Progressive Left will always put their Leftist agenda ahead of their obligation to "defend and support the Constitution of the United States."
This category is much like the Moderate Right, except it finds socialist ideas appealing on a limited basis, frequently only where social issues are concerned (gender issues, health care, abortion, etc.). Because, like true Moderates, the Moderate Left doesn't fully appreciate our Constitutional Republic, their positions are often arrived at because of their ignorance of limitations on federal power, yet they find that forcing people to adhere to their beliefs through the power of a strong central government is a legitimate use of government power.
This category is where classical socialists of all varieties are found. While using constitutional freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution, the objective of socialists is to change our Constitution so that it empowers a central government, while strictly limiting powers of the people. More moderate "Progressives" (regressive, if one values our Constitution) fall into this category.
This category is for more radical Marxists, Socialists, Progressives, Fascists, Nazis, and all those who adhere to "the end justifies the means" and will do and support any governmental action so long as it advances the "cause" of establishing a strong, socialist central government where individual liberties are repressed. The distinguishing characteristics between these separate Far Left groups is in the degree to which they support a national identity or a global governmental structure. Fascists and Nazis are associated with national socialism, where power is not ceded to a globalist agenda. The desire for a national identity is the only distinctive characteristic of national socialists (Nazis and Fascists) from international socialists (e.g., Marxists, Progressives).
This category believes the ultimate power should rest in a "benevolent dictator", e.g., a monarch or single head of state. People who support the Extreme Left either envision themselves as part of the privileged supreme governing oligarchy, or they simply want others to take care of all their needs, regardless of the cost to their freedom and liberties. They desire a life where they do not have to accept any responsibility and can rely on the State to supply their basic needs. This form of governance has always failed to provide for the needs of its citizens. Some contemporary examples: North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela.
Perhaps the most telling and stark contrasts between a government of the Right and a government of the Left is found by examining the differences between South and North Korea or contrasting pre-revolutionary Venezuela with post-revolutionary Venezuela.
North Korea is a primitive land where human feces are needed for fertilizer, the people suffer malnutrition and their growth is stunted. N. Korea has been ruled by a supreme dictator for generations and the people live in miserable poverty and crude conditions while the ruling dictator and his circle of enablers live in relative luxury.
South Korea is a vibrant, capitalist, free-market nation where people can succeed based on their own work ethic and live a modern, healthy life full of choices of their own making.
One needs only ponder the satellite images that starkly show N. Korea to be without light except where the privileged live in the ruling capital of the nation. By contrast, bordering areas of South Korea, China, and Russia are ablaze with light that reveals a much more advanced and better living standard.
The contrasts in Venezuela are nearly as stark. Pre-revolutionary (i.e., pre-Marxist takeover) Venezuela was a modern nation with a well-fed population who had the ability to prosper based on their own ingenuity and work ethic. Post-revolutionary Venezuela, despite their oil wealth, is poverty-stricken, with a starving population ruled by an iron-fisted dictatorial oligarchy.
The Left always promises paradise and always delivers hell.
Consider these real meanings and differences between Left and Right next time you think about the characteristics of the two dominant political parties in the USA.
Which course would you prefer for your future?
The course leading to North Korean or Cuban style "paradise"?
Or the course leading to a vibrant nation where people are free to speak their mind and achieve the most their capabilities allow and are unrestrained in their pursuits by arbitrary actions of their government?
Finally, characteristics of the Left include disinformation, abuse of power, tyranny, and dishonesty because these are all tools of the trade when "the end justifies the means." Leftists are convinced they have all the answers; those who disagree must be suppressed by all means available. The Russian revolution of 100 years ago that created the Soviet Union simply liquidated those whose beliefs and desires conflicted with the agenda of the Marxist-Leninist Left. Tens of millions were simply exterminated. In China, the death toll was even more staggering with at least 50 million exterminated when the communist regime assumed power. Nazi Germany exterminated nearly 10 million of its own in an "ethnic cleansing" operation. Anti-semitism runs strong in many Leftist oligarchies today.
There are no civil liberties when "the end justifies the means" is the credo of the ruling oligarchy.
There is no instance in recorded history where a government "of the People, by the People, and for the People" committed the kind of atrocities against the People that are legendary characteristics of Leftist regimes. Constitutional Republics that strictly limit the powers of federal government, if constrained by the People to adhere to those limitations, have never created the misery characteristic of Leftist regimes. To the contrary, governments whose power is severely constrained by a constitution that reserves all non-specified powers to the People and States are responsible for the greatest advances of civilization in the history of human civilization on Earth. This is the legacy of the Right and the hope for the future.
It is never wise to allow the Left to dictate the meaning of Right or Left because they have a much more simple approach (based on their "end justifies the means" credo): The Left simply claims, "everything good is on the Left, everything bad is on the Right." That self-serving fiction can be preached with a straight face, no matter how nonsensical it seems. Because the Left is unconstrained by Truth and can freely lie... and they do, at every opportunity.
And now you know what it really means to be politically "Left" or "Right".
Bob Webster, a descendant of Daniel Webster's father, Revolutionary War patriot Ebenezer Webster, has always had a strong interest in early American history, our Constitution, U.S. politics, and law. Politically he is a constitutional republican with objectivist and libertarian roots. He has faith in the ultimate triumph of truth and reason over deception and emotion. He is a strong believer in our Constitution as written and views the abandonment of constitutional restraint by the regressive Progressive movement as a great danger to our Republic. His favorite novel is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and believes it should be required reading for all high school students so they can appreciate the cost of tolerating the growth of unconstitutional crushingly powerful central government. He strongly believes, as our Constitution enshrines, that the interests of the individual should be held superior to the interests of the state.
A lifelong interest in meteorology and climatology spurred his strong interest in science. Bob earned his degree in Mathematics at Virginia Tech, graduating in 1964.