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Right and Left

October 8, 2018

There was an incident last week in a Kamloops school where a teacher asked the students to classify statements as either right-wing or left-wing.  It’s still appearing in the media.  The assignment had an obvious bias.  It cited the beliefs of some of the right-wing extremists, opposite the views of some of the left-wing moderates.

It is possible to do better than this by considering the ideology of right and left-wing groups, without considering extremists on either side.  To make them comparable, it’s also necessary to omit euphemisms and slogans that favour one side.  Indeed, there are other dimensions to political positions.  Some are independent of the right-left axis.  Still, this axis is still useful even if it is only one dimension of politics.

Groups on the left are often called socialist.  They advocate higher taxes along with increased government services.  They also want more government regulation of private companies and more government companies.  Their remedy for crime is improved social services.

Groups on the right are usually called conservative.  They advocate lower taxes along with reduced government services.  They want less government regulation of private companies and more private companies.  Their remedy for crime is stiffer punishment.

How does this look?


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