Left and right are the two sides of a coin just like right & wrong. The existence of one means existence of other. In Politics also, there are two sides opposing each other. Politics emerged as soon as Kings start to form & rule states. They formed councils to guide & maintain power. Since the council was to help the king in his rule it favors establishment whereas the public & its representative sees the ruling as exploitative and thus tries to challenge the establishment.
From the very first days of mankind to till date two laws remain more or less unchanged – who hold the power, tries to maintain it and the person who is being ruled is always unsatisfied. There can be a momentary deviation from these laws –masses can feel satisfied relatively to their earlier time but the satisfaction will not last or a ruler might accept to dilute his power from the fear of losing it completely. It is these laws which form the Left & Right views in politics.
Why is the Right for Establishment & Left is against it and not the otherwise? It is a puzzle in itself just like why “Right” is right & “Wrong” is wrong. It can be because of just consequence or because of human’s inclination towards the right. From the early history, humans had assigned the “Right” to more powerful or socially accepted thing & “Wrong”/”Left” to opposite.
First Recognition of Left
As said earlier, right had got recognition with the emergence of states. But, until late 17th century left was not recognized or in better words organized. In 1789, French revolution was the first event when left organized itself against the right. After Seven Years War & American Revolutionary War, French empire was going through a financial crisis. The right in order to retain their aristocracy forced more tax burden on the middle & lower class maintaining exemptions for themselves, the elites & clerics. This forced the Middle class to form National Assembly and put pressure on the state for more radical & liberal reforms.
In the first assembly, the three estate member – Third state (common People) made to sit on the left of the King & the other two (clerics & nobility) on the right. Later, during the French revolution, the left started a revolution to overthrow the establishment & the right to engaged in protecting the state.
Since then the left wing means to act against the establishment, fight for change & the right-wing means to retain the establishment or resist the change.
People do change sides with time
Stalin was a leftist before becoming the head of USSR, same was Hitler before establishing Nazi regime. Both of them fought along with revolutionaries. But after they established their empires, both shifted to right wing & did everything to retain their establishment/empire.
Peoples start with being revolutionaries; against the establishment because -either they want the power or they think that there can be a better establishment. When they achieve it they switch sides to right-wing and try to preserve their establishment. Because either they don’t want to give up power or they think that their establishment is perfect & need to be preserved.
Most of the good or Bad names in the history seems to follow this pattern. Mahatma Gandhi & Nelson Mandela both resemble this pattern; it was their cause which was different from Stalin & Hitler. They tried to protect their establishment not for power or to kill someone but for goodness.
Religion & Business in Politics
Religion & Business has a direct role in politics. This role is not only because their functioning is related with peoples. But because their existence depends on their establishment and thus they are at right-wing. Both religion & Business had their customs, faiths, laws, policies which form their empire. A progressive or frequent change threatens this empire of theirs.
But they cannot play direct Right wing because they also need peoples on their side. Thus they play a middle role somewhere a leftist & somewhere rightist. Recently, Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier who resigned from Donald Trump manufacturing Council after President Donald Trump failed to explicitly denounce white nationalism following violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. This case can be seen from the angle of Business & Politics. Merck needs Donald Trump protectionist trade policies for enhancing business but he also needs black consumers to have a continued sale. This way religions & Business houses balance between right & left in order to protect or expand their establishment.
In between Left & Right
Human behavior is very diverse & unpredictable which makes so the social behavior. To explain & represent such diverse social behavior the two views of Left & right are not sufficient. There are many views, ideologies which try to represent the in-between views. Brief descriptions of these are –
Extremist – It’s an ideology which is considered far outside the acceptable mainstream attitudes of society by implied shared social consensus.
Radical – Denotes political principles focused on altering social structures through revolutionary or other means and changing value systems in fundamental ways.
Moderate – Politics dominated by the center rather than the extremes of great wealth and poverty or the special interests of oligarchs and tyrants.
Reformist – Political position that posits that gradual changes within existing institutions can eventually change a society’s fundamental aspects, such as its economic system and political structures.
Syncretic – The main idea of syncretic politics is that of taking political positions of neutrality by combining elements associated with the left and right can achieve a goal of reconciliation.
Third Position – A Political position that emphasizes opposition to both communism and capitalism. Third Position politics typically present themselves as beyond left and right. While syncretizing ideas from each end of the political spectrum, usually reactionary right-wing cultural views and radical left-wing economic views.
Conservative – Political and social philosophy that promotes retaining traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization.
Fundamentalist – Usually has a religious connotation that indicates unwavering attachment to a set of irreducible beliefs.
Reactionary – Political views that favor a return to the status quo ante or the previous political state of society, which they believe possessed characteristics that are negatively absent from the contemporary status quo of a society.
No Strict Political Party
We cannot classify any political party as left or right once & for all. They do change positions depending on the context. And also on the fact that they are in power or in opposition. Also, these days’ political parties don’t hold any strict position, except the communist parties. They are almost obsolete these days apart from few developing countries. Political parties hold a central position based on the game theory approach to attract maximum peoples.
For example, US Republican Party was revolutionary and was founded by anti-slavery activists, economic modernizers who fought for the abolition of slavery. But today, the party is trying to establish the old system of caste differentiation & protectionism. This is following conservative views.
Parties change their views, policies or actions according to the opportunities and also from one context to other.
Nothing Good or Bad in Full
And since no party holds strictly to a position there can not be any just right or just wrong about political parties. A party can be right on one issue & wrong on another issue.
We should think rationally & align ourselves to a party only partially for a specific subject matter only and not in full. A complete loyalty towards a political party or to an ideological view restrict the vision & cannot be right all the time. For some matters left views can give better results for some right views can be more beneficial.