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The Forum > General Discussion > Beyond left and right

Beyond left and right

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Many political analysts seem to have moved beyond left and right. Sorry to reference Wikipedia, but their entry on the political spectrum demonstrates how complex nailing down one's position really is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_spectrum

I've always identified with the left. About a decade ago, when I was working with asylum seekers, I realised what a crock our our political blanket rules are. While the meeja and culture in general regarded the fight to close down detention centres as a "lefty" struggle, the reality was that the ALP in government built most of the centres, and the Liberals in government closed Woomera down. Of course, the Liberal government had some ridiculously draconian policies regarding asylum seekers. But some of its biggest critics were Liberal backbenchers.

A lot of people who identify as right-wing think we should have stronger border controls and let fewer people in. Yet a true liberal position a laissez faire immigration policy would have us open our doors to all and sundry, and let the market decide how many it can support.

These are simply examples. My question is, are the terms "left" and "right" still useful?

Is it right wing to think government should be a strict father, and left wing to think it a nurturing mother? If the Liberal Party is based on liberalism, why does it appear to care who sleeps with whom and whether they should be allowed to spend their hard-earned on IVF? Why are they called the conservatives when their social policies are often pretty radical? How come our current PM is a fiscal conservative? If the ALP is supposed to represent big government and the Liberal Party is supposed to represent small government, why does the public sector appear to gradually decrease no matter who's in power? How come we had a Labor government who deregulated the economy and the Liberal government who created SBS?

If you're unsure where you stand, have a go at the world's smallest political quiz: http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz.html I was liberal (small "l", natch), leaning toward libertarian.

Or see where you fall on the political compass: http://politicalcompass.jpagel.net/test
Posted by Vanilla, Sunday, 4 May 2008 4:43:00 PM
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Who are these political analysts you speak of? If they reside in academia only, there has always been resistance to the left/right classifications.
Posted by Steel, Sunday, 4 May 2008 5:59:55 PM
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Dear Vanilla,

Why can't we have a type of politics which judges the issues as they come?

Don't you think that people today increasingly care more about issues and less about party politics?

Why is it that if we made the members of both major political parties swap places, after two days no one would notice the difference?
Posted by Foxy, Sunday, 4 May 2008 6:31:24 PM
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Left/Right thinking is still used to describe a particular economic or social outlook in a general sense but I think we have gone beyond the stricter ideological parameters to a more inclusive mindset. You will always have your passionate left and right wingers but middle Australia is not so easily defined.

My own views would probably be considered eclectic and I tend to lean to the left but take a more pragmatic approach ("capitalism with a heart" if you like) and don't believe that a free market means a free people. Uncontrolled capitalism is equally undesirable to me as Communism, both systems create a powerful ruling elite and inhibit the democratic process.

Most people are not as confined by those stereotypes as in previous decades. Even the die-hard Communists have moved on. At the global level there has been a shift to the 'right' which is concerning and some more 'left' thinking is needed to bring us back to a healthy balance.

Interesting tests Vanilla and they were pretty much as I expected - left liberal and in the other test landed in the Green square scoring Economic Left/Right: -3.88 and for Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.69 (almost centre in the green square but heading towards the middle slightly).
Posted by pelican, Sunday, 4 May 2008 7:45:12 PM
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Still there are some basic differences between right and left but these differences become smaller as we are moving from the base to the top, as we are moving from poor countries to rich countries, as we are moving from non Anglo Saxon Countries to Anglo Saxon countries.
The main differences between left and right are the following.

1. The lefts are innovators, dreamers, creators, they open paths, roads highways to the future. The rights protects, maintains, repairs the existent, the present! If for the lefts the present is a moment into the future for the rights the present is a moment from the past.

2. The lefts are more sensitive for the people in need, workers, migrants, aborigines, women, children, pensioners, refugees etc. They have developed sensitivities about social justice, social responsibility, mutual benefits, democracy, peace, environment etc.
The rights care mainly for their own benefits but they say that lefts are dreamers and sensitive on social justice etc because they are weak, because they can not realize their dreams. They say that left's sensitivities are an excuse for their weakness and personal failures that when left individuals become strong enough, they forget their dreams and social sensitivities!
Karl Marx did not write that capitalists are bad persons with low moral code and labors are good with high moral code but that the capitalist system is enough complex and it is not easy to see how unfair it is. While for slaves seemed that they was working ONLY for their bosses (in really they was working for their self too)and while the modern workers are working MAINLY for their employers it is seemed that they are working ONLY for their self. The moral code, character depends on many factors and not only from the left or right.

3. The lefts start from the general to parts to individuals, to real persons. Social justice, working class, Antonios Symeonakis. They have very good views, pictures from the whole, from the forest, they can find enough good solutions for general problems but maybe they find Antonios's victimization very late.
CONTINUE
Posted by ASymeonakis, Sunday, 4 May 2008 8:04:06 PM
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Hmmm,

I heard somewhere a right wing person under 30 has no soul, a left wing person over 30 is a dreamer.
Posted by Usual Suspect, Sunday, 4 May 2008 8:28:40 PM
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