The Left and Right: Principled Ideological Differences?

Sometimes, you have mini epiphanies come to you out of nowhere. It’s happened to me at work, but I never have time to write it down there. This time however, I was shaving when my “epiphany” occurred. Can I really call it that? Perhaps.

Today when we think of the “right” and the “left”, most of us think of two differing ideologies that are clashing with each other on both a cultural and political scale. I suppose that’s true.  You can also be a libertarian like me and look at both sides Ideology as inherently statist, but that just isn’t relevant to this point/idea that cropped up in my rather unfocused mind. (I really am rather jealous of those who can focus their thoughts into concise points and articulate them like talking heads who know exactly what they are talking about.)

Notice alot of the issues that have popped up since the early 2000s, both culturally and politically. When you mention the word “big government” concerning an issue to someone who is supposedly a progressive or on the left on whatever the issue might be, what happens?

  • You are assumed to be a conservative.  (But I’m a libertarian!)
  • They advocate in favor of whatever action big government is participating in concerning the subject.
  • Their position on the action big government is taking becomes more valid in their mind.

Most liberals I know define their support or opposition of big government based on the concept that conservatives define it by.  So notice the trend. Depending on whatever position conservatives advocate, liberals will advocate the opposite even if that is not necessarily their position on the subject. This applies vice versa as well.   It’s almost as if a kind of “partyspeak” exists.  People tow a certain party line.

When it came to the subject of the Patriot act, note the opposition that was there when it was enacted and notice it now.  Apply that same line of thought to the issue of drone strikes. Apply it to the whole Monsanto debate.  Apply it to the War on Drugs. Apply it to recent censorship and internet piracy debates.  Keep applying it to much of the political dialogue over the last decade. Notice anything?

Liberals and Conservatives aren’t necessarily opposed to big government or in direct support of it. They are all of course opposed to whatever the other side supports.  Do you know any liberal or conservative who is actually in support of unrestricted Drone Strikes? Indefinite detainment of American citizens? Invading or participating in more foreign conflicts? Internet censorship?

I suppose the assumptions we make about either side somewhat become a self-fulfilling reality even though the specific boxes and categories we try to put people in really don’t fit as well as they should.  Could some of these attempts to categorize people and make very widespread assumptions about said people result from our Western drive to categorize, organize, and make every kind of distinction we can? Even if it is, I’m not sure if we can shed those presuppositions and our thought process that may be one of the factors in what drives party line ideology today.

I believe our very time-saving and “immediate” cultural attitude and behavior may be somewhat at fault here. We however must make the effort to not be lazy and avoid the time consumption convenience  of assuming either side or whatever the ideology may be is always wrong.   If an idea is valid, it doesn’t matter who proposes the idea.  Guilt by association just doesn’t seem to be the proper mindset if one actually wishes to examine and  filter ideas through as many individual perceptions on a subject to determine the validity of said ideas.