The political world, especially in the US, is typically obsessed with examining viewpoints and political positions on a single axis, along a line with communism on the far left, and fascism on the far right. As many libertarians recognize, things aren’t quite that neat and simple, and where one’s ideals sit don’t necessarily fall neatly onto that single line. However, that single line used to be a bit different, and Ione could argue, in a sense, that the modern left and the modern right created one another.
The modern left and the modern right are a lot more symbiotic than they would ever want to consider. They need each other to exist. They brought one another about through polarization, and that is how they continue to prop one another up.
Originally, the political right was one that supported the crown, the head of state that represented centralized control, usually by way of a monarch, that exercised a form of government very near totalitarianism. The classical left came out of radical new ideas that, for the most part, had been gone from the scene for quite some time. The classical left attempted to place governance on the shoulders of the individual rather than on a central government.
It wasn’t just the United States that adopted these ideas at its beginning, but similar ideas were flourishing throughout isolated places across the world. It just so happens that the United States was most successful at implementation at the time. After millennia of authoritarian monarchs, despots, and dictators, people began to recognize natural rights and the efficiencies and benefits of self-governance.
Once the industrial era began, a modern form of the left-right spectrum began to take shape. Titans of industry began to make use of influence within government to gain favor and protections from the law. Their money made government more powerful, and, in return, it provided them with protection and benefits such that crony capitalism became the flavor of the day. The haves were quickly widening the gap with the have-nots, and justified frustration was brewing amongst the people who were being cut out of the prosperity promised by free economies. Supporters of crony capitalism begat the modern right with the idea of protecting business interests and the interests of business owners, especially large business titans.
Pushing back against crony capitalism, rather than insisting on a return to self-governance, the modern left came into being by demanding social programs to offset the negative effects. Leaders of the new left, in an effort to use the movement, saw an opportunity to gain wealth and power for themselves by using a variety of social support from government to enslave individuals to dependence. On the backs of the poor, the modern left’s leaders became really no different from the business titans on the right. They all wanted power and control – and still do. The end result of the left is no different from the end result of the right. They both end in a ruling class. It’s just a matter of where wealth and power is concentrated and who is in control of government.
The modern left was created in response to the modern right, and both need one another to continue to function. Without being able to paint the specter of greed upon the wealthy titans, the left wouldn’t exist, and without being able to argue protections for big business, staking claims of hedonism on the poor, and raising the specter of losing control of those businesses to the citizenry, the right could not exist. You really can’t have one without the other.
The left pushes against the right, and the right pushes against the left. Both exist because of the other. In many ways, they work in concert to keep individual freedom at bay. While focusing attention on fighting the other side, they can direct attention away from losing power to individuals. Even centrists can get sidetracked into seeing this single-lined spectrum. Centrists aren’t libertarians. A centrist has positions that lie on both the left and the right. For example, a centrist might believe in some social programs but not others. A centrists might believe in growing government to a point but no further, without thinking to examine the possibility of policy positions beyond that single axis.
Modern society has forgotten about individual freedom. The modern world has allowed people with ill intent that simply want to concentrate wealth and power to govern not only themselves, but also their thoughts. Common people are allowing themselves to be distracted by a fight between the modern left and right rather than being focused on what will do them the most good. It is a shame that we modern people put ourselves through so much unnecessary loss of self determination when we had gathered so much steam toward our governance.
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