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    The left/right divide...






    Curious as to people's thoughts on a half baked notion that's been washing around in my head for some time.


    It seems to me that totally unrelated political beliefs seem to coincide with each other across the political spectrum. To speak (very) broadly, I'm talking about:


    Left/Liberal : Political correctness, civil liberties, the welfare state, government regulation of industry, evironmentalism, pro-choice, pro-gay rights, internationalist, class focussed, pro-trade union, socially liberal, secular/humanist, in favour of progressive taxation, relaxed about immigration.


    Right/Conservative: reject political correctness, in favour of harsher law and order enforcement, luke warm on civil liberties/human rights,individualistic, anti-welfare, anti-union, pro-Church, uncomfortable or opposed to civil unions/gay rights, anti-immigration, anti-taxation, anti-regulation, nationalist, prefer small government, morally/socially conservative.


    Now, obviously there are exceptions - many liberals are still laissez faire economically, many christians are left leaning, environmentalism is gradually becoming less of a left/right issue etc.


    What's confusing me though is why on the wholebeliefs coalesce like this. Is there a common denominator that would bring people's beliefs on religion, law and order, welfare, economics, globalisation, environmentalism, gay rights, immigration, gun control (in some countries), monarchy (again in some countries) into line in this way?


    On most political issues discussed here, you can (again, broadly) predict where people will fall along these lines.


    I'm not looking to start the mother of all "who is right, who is wrong" debates - just wondering if people have thoughts on why seemingly unrelated issues should have such consistent support from the same groups.


    Thoughts?
    "We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men" Edward R Murrow

    "Little by little, we have been brought into the present condition in which we are able neither to tolerate the evils from which we suffer, nor the remedies we need to cure them." - Livy


    "I think that progress has been made by two flames that have always been burning in the human heart. The flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope that you can build a better world" - Tony Benn

    #2
    I blame it on Bertie[img]smileys/mad.gif[/img]
    Excellence is hard to keep quite - Sherrie Coale

    Comment


      #3
      Money.

      Don't make up your mind until you open it, but to open it requires education which mostly requires money. So, until you can afford to open your mind you'll choose the way of those who influence you, for the most part, your parents.

      Comment


        #4
        I'll take a little from column A, a little from column B

        Comment


          #5


          Originally posted by Boo-boo
          Money.

          Don't make up your mind until you open it, but to open it requires education which mostly requires money. So, until you can afford to open your mind you'll choose the way of those who influence you, for the most part, your parents.

          But the positions outlined occur across social boundaries - working class people can be fiercely socialistic or conservative. The british aristocracy is capable of producing both Tony Benn and Nicholas Soames.


          The very notion of political parties is based on the fact that people who tend to think one way about, say, education will probably agree on defence policy as well. And those parties cut across social groups.
          "We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men" Edward R Murrow

          "Little by little, we have been brought into the present condition in which we are able neither to tolerate the evils from which we suffer, nor the remedies we need to cure them." - Livy


          "I think that progress has been made by two flames that have always been burning in the human heart. The flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope that you can build a better world" - Tony Benn

          Comment


            #6

            Originally posted by Balla Boy

            I'm not looking to start the mother of all "who is right, who is wrong" debates - just wondering if people have thoughts on why seemingly unrelated issues should have such consistent support from the same groups.


            Thoughts?
            I think the issues that draw the kind of divided ideas you mention are generally issues that, although ostensibly unrelated, do plug in to ones opinions on politics and social issues. I'm thinking about the Traveller threads, the current thread on House Prices, the threads on the war in Iraq. Generally, if a person has a position on say social justice, then they have a pretty consistant view throughout threads of the type I mentioned, as there are social justice issues in all three cases, the same with civil rights and liberties. Thats not to say that everyone is consistant, or even that they should be.
            Karma

            Comment


              #7

              Originally posted by Dave Cahill
              Originally posted by Balla Boy

              I'm not looking to start the mother of all "who is right, who is wrong" debates - just wondering if people have thoughts on why seemingly unrelated issues should have such consistent support from the same groups.


              Thoughts?
              I think the issues that draw the kind of divided ideas you mention are generally issues that, although ostensibly unrelated, do plug in to ones opinions on politics and social issues. I'm thinking about the Traveller threads, the current thread on House Prices, the threads on the war in Iraq. Generally, if a person has a position on say social justice, then they have a pretty consistant view throughout threads of the type I mentioned, as there are social justice issues in all three cases, the same with civil rights and liberties. Thats not to say that everyone is consistant, or even that they should be.
              So, your saying it's all to with following Munster![img]smileys/biggrin.gif[/img]

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Dave Cahill
                Originally posted by Balla Boy


                I'm not looking to start the mother of all "who is right, who is wrong" debates - just wondering if people have thoughts on why seemingly unrelated issues should have such consistent support from the same groups.


                Thoughts?

                I think the issues that draw the kind of divided ideas you mention are generally issues that, although ostensibly unrelated, do plug in to ones opinions on politics and social issues. I'm thinking about the Traveller threads, the current thread on House Prices, the threads on the war in Iraq. Generally, if a person has a position on say social justice, then they have a pretty consistant view throughout threads of the type I mentioned, as there are social justice issues in all three cases, the same with civil rights and liberties. Thats not to say that everyone is consistant, or even that they should be.

                Social justice is a possible common denominator, and I think people on the left would generally categorise their opinions around it.


                But is it just another way of saying "I think these things are right"?


                I think it ties in with a certain notion of collectivism - do we have a responsibility to those around us, and what formdoes that responsibility take?


                Orcollectivismjust another way of casting "social justice"?
                "We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men" Edward R Murrow

                "Little by little, we have been brought into the present condition in which we are able neither to tolerate the evils from which we suffer, nor the remedies we need to cure them." - Livy


                "I think that progress has been made by two flames that have always been burning in the human heart. The flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope that you can build a better world" - Tony Benn

                Comment


                  #9


                  always been a firm believer in taking each individual policy as it comes,rather than sticking to some sort of left/right ideology.


                  the world is made up of far morethan 2 or 3 types of people.for example in america now,libertarianism is a growing political ideology,which is both liberal,socially and economically.they're totally in favour of free trade,markets and basically the abolishmant of taxation,but also in favour of legalised drugs,gay rights etc.


                  personally id be libertarian economically,and fairly moderate even slightly conservativein terms of social attitude.


                  you make a good point about different people supporting different ideologies.some people would like you to believe that working class people are all socialists,and the rich people are all conservatives,when in fact,on many occasions its the other way around
                  g\'wan bruff!!

                  ``The answer is not heavy- handed regulations that crush the entrepreneurial spirit and risk- taking of American capitalism. That\'s what\'s made our economy great.\"
                  -Barack Obama


                  \"The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics\"
                  -thomas sowell

                  Comment


                    #10

                    Originally posted by Balla Boy
                    Originally posted by Dave Cahill
                    Originally posted by Balla Boy


                    I'm not looking to start the mother of all "who is right, who is wrong" debates - just wondering if people have thoughts on why seemingly unrelated issues should have such consistent support from the same groups.


                    Thoughts?

                    I think the issues that draw the kind of divided ideas you mention are generally issues that, although ostensibly unrelated, do plug in to ones opinions on politics and social issues. I'm thinking about the Traveller threads, the current thread on House Prices, the threads on the war in Iraq. Generally, if a person has a position on say social justice, then they have a pretty consistant view throughout threads of the type I mentioned, as there are social justice issues in all three cases, the same with civil rights and liberties. Thats not to say that everyone is consistant, or even that they should be.

                    Social justice is a possible common denominator, and I think people on the left would generally categorise their opinions around it.


                    But is it just another way of saying "I think these things are right"?


                    I think it ties in with a certain notion of collectivism - do we have a responsibility to those around us, and what formdoes that responsibility take?


                    Orcollectivismjust another way of casting "social justice"?
                    I think it may be. For example, someone to the left of centre (for want of a better phrase) would see things like the payment of social insurance, union membership/support, equality legislation as a vector for delivering that responsibility. A Capitalist, again for want of a better term, would see his efforts that create employment, bring money into the economy and develop an entrepenurial ethos as a means for delivering upon that responsibility.
                    Karma

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by bruffian


                      always been a firm believer in taking each individual policy as it comes,rather than sticking to some sort of left/right ideology.


                      the world is made up of far morethan 2 or 3 types of people.for example in america now,libertarianism is a growing political ideology,which is both liberal,socially and economically.they're totally in favour of free trade,markets and basically the abolishmant of taxation,but also in favour of legalised drugs,gay rights etc.


                      personally id be libertarian economically,and fairly moderate even slightly conservativein terms of social attitude.


                      you make a good point about different people supporting different ideologies.some people would like you to believe that working class people are all socialists,and the rich people are all conservatives,when in fact,on many occasions its the other way around


                      Fully believe that you take each issue as it comes - but you still come out as a classic european conservative/christian democrat.


                      I take issues as they come, but still come out a classic left leaning social democrat.


                      That's why I'm wondering if there's a common denominator that those belief sets boil down to.


                      Libertarianism is straightforward - they beleieve that every individual should be free to act as they choose without interference from the state (though they run into some issues around the belief that they shouldn't harm others in the process). So, personal liberty is their common denominator.


                      Is there an equivalent for the classic moderate left and right political streams that most people fall into?
                      "We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men" Edward R Murrow

                      "Little by little, we have been brought into the present condition in which we are able neither to tolerate the evils from which we suffer, nor the remedies we need to cure them." - Livy


                      "I think that progress has been made by two flames that have always been burning in the human heart. The flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope that you can build a better world" - Tony Benn

                      Comment


                        #12


                        I can't quote from it so I know it's not reliable, but I came across an interesting research article a year or two which suggested that regardless of background, people who were inherently optimistic about life as children grew up to be left-leaning (or at least liberal), and those children who were pessimistic and/or anxious grew up to be right-leaning/conservative.


                        So apparently: optimistic =liberal, pessimistic = conservative.


                        Where the downright neurotic and traumatised like myself fit in, I don't know. [img]smileys/lol.gif[/img]
                        For you stole Trevelyan\'s watch, So the young might see....oh, never mind....

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Surely though the primary moulding factor, as it were, is your upbringing. If your parents are liberal and open minded then this is the environment you will be used too and vice versa. Where it gets complicated is when education comes in because teachers, reading, etc opens up peoples minds or influences/creates prejudices etc. I reckon whatever influences you are exposed to in your formative years will lean you to one or the other ideology but there are so many factors during your upbringing that influence this its not possible to pin it down to just parents or education or social/economic status.
                          The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad.
                          - Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Balla Boy
                            Originally posted by bruffian


                            always been a firm believer in taking each individual policy as it comes,rather than sticking to some sort of left/right ideology.


                            the world is made up of far morethan 2 or 3 types of people.for example in america now,libertarianism is a growing political ideology,which is both liberal,socially and economically.they're totally in favour of free trade,markets and basically the abolishmant of taxation,but also in favour of legalised drugs,gay rights etc.


                            personally id be libertarian economically,and fairly moderate even slightly conservativein terms of social attitude.


                            you make a good point about different people supporting different ideologies.some people would like you to believe that working class people are all socialists,and the rich people are all conservatives,when in fact,on many occasions its the other way around


                            Fully believe that you take each issue as it comes - but you still come out as a classic european conservative/christian democrat.


                            I take issues as they come, but still come out a classic left leaning social democrat.


                            That's why I'm wondering if there's a common denominator that those belief sets boil down to.


                            Libertarianism is straightforward - they beleieve that every individual should be free to act as they choose without interference from the state (though they run into some issues around the belief that they shouldn't harm others in the process). So, personal liberty is their common denominator.


                            Is there an equivalent for the classic moderate left and right political streams that most people fall into?


                            I'm not so sure people do take each issue as it comes, I think people (a good few anyway) have a Weltanschauung which willpredetermine theirconclusions on specific issues, even subconsciously.


                            I'd be in favour of legalising drugs but would probably come across as a reactionary Daily Mail reader when it came to other crimes such as murder, rape, assault etc.


                            Good thread BTW.
                            \"This year is different because this year they won\'t beat snow off a rope. They\'ll revert back to type and get 6 shades of s**t bate out of them in the group stages of the HEC ...\" Tobyglen 21 Sept 2010

                            Comment


                              #15


                              I always tend to think as myself as a bit centre right, but then i find myself agreeing with policiesthat you'd attribute to the centre left. There are sometimes when the left says something and my automatic reaction is to think that's just more left pinko liberal rubbish but then when i delve into it a bit more i can see the logic in their argument but yet will still argue all i can that my original vew was right even if i know it wasn't.


                              Any students of British politics remember Tony Blair's third way? It was meant to be sort of in between left and right, in another words he was moving Labour from the left to the centre and in some cases to the right. The line between right and left is increasingly blurred, it's more about presentation now.

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