Sunday, March 2, 2014

Political “Left” and “Right” Properly Defined

I’m often asked versions of the following: Given that the political right is so corrupted by conservatives who seek to limit liberty in countless ways, wouldn’t it be better to abandon the language of “left” vs. “right” and adopt new terminology?

My answer is that, because the terms “left” and “right” are already widely used to denote the basic political alternative, and because that alternative is in fact binary, the best approach for advocates of freedom is not to reject the prevalent terminology but to clarify it—by defining the relevant terms.

The problem with conventional approaches to the left-right political spectrum is that they either fail to define the alternatives in question, or proceed to define them in terms of non-essentials.