It is important to note the fact that the left-right political spectrum model is a reflective system, which encompasses a diverse range of views on many political aspects of social life. Such a popular dichotomy of perspectives inevitably leads to the notion that there are contradictions and conflicts of view within an individual political group since the categorization is highly limited to two polarized ends of the spectrum. On the one hand, right political ideologies are said to espouse authority, hierarchy, market deregulation, and a generally pessimistic view of human nature (Goodhart, 2017). On the other hand, left political ideologies value liberty, equality, progress, and social regulation of the economy (Richards, 2017). Despite its popularity, there is a strong degree of criticism in regards to such a dichotomy, which might be propagated to promote some underlying agenda for specific economic and political objectives (Heywood, 2019). Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to conduct a thorough analysis of various levels to which the division of political positions into left, right, or center could be applied to real-world politics and views that individuals and groups hold. The given writing will argue that such a dichotomy is false because of the numerous contradictions it has, which makes the distinctions moot and inaccurate.
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The main issue is centered around the problematic aspects of the left-right dichotomy in regards to political views and perspectives on a wide range of social, political, economic, and environmental concerns. It is important to note that left ideologies are more prominent for prioritizing progress, equality, liberty, and social regulation of the economy (Richards, 2017). Whereas right ideologies promote and advocate for market deregulation, hierarchy, authority, and a pessimistic perspective on human nature (Goodhart, 2017). One can easily see that putting such a diverse set of subjects and topics into two categories will result in an evident problem when it comes to addressing certain issues individually. The reason why this subject needs to be addressed in the paper is that both ideologies are forced to take an opposing stance on a specific problem, and it is usually a predetermined one, which means that such a dichotomy can result in in-group conflicts. The topic matters and is of paramount importance since political systems need to be flexible and precisely focus on effective solutions rather than adherence to a predetermined set of agendas. Therefore, there is an evident controversy in regards to the topic, where each end of the spectrum becomes blind to its flaws and hypocrisies and engages in a battle for attention and opposite group blaming rather than finding and offering objectively proper solutions. Thus, the given analysis will make arguments to reveal the problematic elements and contradictions of this dualistic approach, which makes the distinctive measures highly inaccurate and moot.
Politics are too Complex to be Classified Using a Left-Right Divide
Multidimensionality of Politics
It is important to point out that such a multidimensional subject, which is politics, cannot and should not be viewed and structured linearly. It is stated that there are more dimensions to political stances than the ones identified (economy intervention, values, human nature) (McCarthy et al., 2019). In other words, key problems cannot be categorized as either progressive or conservative because there is an element of depth and layers to such issues. For instance, the current system of dichotomy will most likely result in one party supporting and the other party condemning a question at hand. Whereas a more proper approach would protect and represent a wide range of stakeholders, such as affected businesses, customers, employees, communities, environment, and other elements.
The overall complexity of politics cannot be reflected through the system of dichotomy, which severely restricts individual citizens from properly expressing their views. For example, individuals may espouse contradicting values as well as those not described in the linear framework (Engler & Zohlnhöfer, 2019). In other words, one might want to fight climate change, which is a mostly leftist view but also be against abortion, which is a conservative view. Therefore, there is a serious contradiction of views for these types of people, who are restricted in expressing their real political perspectives and forced to abandon some of their views for others by participating in the given linear system.
The Lack of Clarity in Division
It is critical to note that there is no clear division of views even within the linear system of political ideologies. Evidence suggests that the fracture and fault lines between different views are not as clear (Bischof & Wagner, 2020). In other words, the current, highly simplistic political structure does not offer some form of solid clarity of division between two ends of the line. It means that there are no direct and concrete reasons to adhere to the system of dichotomy.
Right-Wing and Left-Wing Positions Have Internal Contradictions
The given section will primarily address the fact that both the left and right ends of the linear system have internal contradictions of views and that the very definitions of the two groups change in time. In the case of ring-wing contradictions, it is stated that the right-wing allegedly supports hierarchy and order while at the same time espousing free markets and deregulation, thus endorsing freedom of capital in a supposedly more authoritarian state (Choma & Hodson, 2017). In other words, the right-wing endorses the concept of liberty and freedom, but in a highly selective manner, which is applied mostly to corporate entities and businesses, whereas regular citizens are denied it.
In the case of left-wing views, there are also selective in applying their values to different parties. For example, left-wingers espouse civil liberties while at the same time promoting government interventions on businesses, essentially curtailing their freedom to run their businesses as they would like (March 2017). In other words, one can see that the left’s idea of freedom puts a great deal of emphasis on individual freedom rather than entrepreneurial and market freedom.
Malleability of Definitions
Both the left and right wings are not unmalleable institutions or ideologies because their perspectives can shift. It is stated that definitions of Left and Right change over time (Claessens et al., 2020). Therefore, both ends of the spectrum are capable of evolving and transforming to abandon their past views. For example, slavery in the United States was abolished under a right-wing republican president, whereas many issues of racism today are the primary concern of the left-wing democratic party.
Left-Right May Be a False Dichotomy
The Falsehood of the Left
The given section will mainly focus on shedding light on how the entire spectrum of dichotomy is filled with falsehood. It is important to note that although the left prioritizes individual liberty, it does not promote complete freedom. It is stated that the left endorses a hierarchical state to intervene in the economy on behalf of the people to create better lives for everyone (Baron & Jost, 2019). In other words, one can see that the left-wing wants to gift freedom selectively, whereas imposing hierarchy upon other social members.
The Falsehood of the Right
Similarly, the same ideological flaw can be observed among right-wing advocators. For instance, the right endorses hierarchical companies and holders of capital as means of creating better lives for everyone through free-market capitalism (Kalpokas et al., 2019). In other words, it is evident that the group acts in an opposite direction towards the left, where total freedom is not provided, but certain groups selectively benefit from liberty.
Falsehood of Dichotomy
By thoroughly analyzing the idea of freedom and liberty under two opposing ideologies, it is evident that they primarily act as each other’s opposites, which makes them similar in their selectivity of appraisal. It is important to point out that, in essence, both argue for a hierarchy, but none promotes actual freedom (Crouch, 2018). Therefore, one can see how the entire spectrum of dichotomy excludes political views, which advocate for total freedom, which is not selective but rather dispassionate and fair.
Signs of Change
The current state of social dynamics is also indicative of the fact that the old system of linear political dichotomy is no longer reflective of the needs and goals of modern citizens. Political conflicts in developed countries also have a new dimension based on post-material delimitation. This dimension of “new politics” presupposes conflicts over issues such as environmental quality, alternative lifestyles, minority rights, participation, and social equality. In all likelihood, shortly, the demarcation of the “old politics” will remain the basis of the party conflict in most developed democracies. However, the “new politics” dimension has a significant impact on their party systems. Trade unions and business groups, despite differences in positions, from time to time join forces to fight opponents. For example, this concerns the problems of using nuclear energy. Farmers and students sometimes become allies to oppose development projects that threaten the environment. Blue-collar and white-collar workers are teaming up to resist changing moral norms (Wainwright, 2018). The political interests of the “new left” and “new right” are capable of radically restructuring social group ties and party coalitions. The simple dichotomy between the left and the right no longer adequately reflects the existing models of political competition.
In conclusion, it is important to indicate that the current system of left-right dichotomy is both erroneous and can be categorized as a falsehood. Firstly, the spectrum does not represent a wide and complex range of political views, that an individual can hold. Secondly, both the left and the right do not have ideologies set in stone and in perfect tune within the group, but rather there are contradictions on both ends of the dichotomy. Thirdly, the entire linear plane of the current system of political views does not represent their advocated ideals, such as liberty, in a non-selective manner, but rather grants them to their selected groups, such as businesses for the right and individuals for the left.
Baron, J., &Jost, J. T. (2019). False equivalence: Are liberals and conservatives in the United States equally biased? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 14(2), 292-303.
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