Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Left-Right or East-West?

Every society has a series of traditions and institutions upon which it was built. Politically speaking, when a group or individual tries to stick to those traditions and defend the institutions, they are described as being right leaning. Liberal or left leaning individuals are those that want to change, get away from or at times destroy them. This kind of generalization of terminology causes a lot of confusion as most generalizations do. For instance, a right leaning person in France today would be called “Liberal,” as their positions would run contrary to the status quo and establishment there.

To make matters worse, the further one travels down either political ideology to the extremes, the resulting societies look a lot alike. Communism and Fascism would be placed on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, but both societies tend to view individuals as unimportant and the “good” of society as preeminent.

Perhaps a better terminology would be East and West. The political realm tends to be more of a big sphere. With the relative uniformity of the United States political spectrum, not a lot of ground on this sphere is covered. For all the polemical things candidates say about each other, they are not all that different. Political ideology in the U.S. probably fails to reach more than 30 or 40 degrees to the right or the left. In fact, most politicians fall squarely into the “Moderate” area.

The moderate side of politics has yet to be addressed here. Basically it is the philosophy of “wet your finger and see where the wind is blowing.” Moderates don’t believe in anything principally. The avoid taking stands and avoid making decisions, because once you are in office you do whatever it takes to stay there. Then again, the country is usually best served when government does nothing.

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