Some Views on Left and Right

“Left” and “Right” are a false dichotomy in most ways that count. However, I’ve noticed something that has caught my attention in how people who identify on either side view their fellow human beings, and thought I’d share.

The following is opinion and speculation, but I think it’s quite close to the truth. You be the judge.

In general, “the left” seems to view most human beings (not themselves, of course) as mentally handicapped in some way. What I mean by this is that they are overly concerned with government policy aimed at taking care of other people and building a strong “safety net” and the like. Calls for personal responsibility in regards to economics are shouted down.

Their primary concern seems to be using the power of the state to provide for people who, in their estimation, are unable to provide for themselves. And this includes a significant amount of other people. Welfare, healthcare, education, protections from greedy and unscrupulous market actors, and even military force are all included in the leftist’s program for using the state to aid obviously inferior people.

In general, “the right” seems to view most human beings (not themselves, of course) as morally bankrupt in some way. What I mean by this is that they are overly concerned with government policy aimed at prohibiting immoral, albeit not aggressive, behavior. Calls for personal responsibility in regards to MYOB are shouted down.

Their primary concern seems to be using the power of the state to force people to “be good”, because otherwise people would choose to “be bad”. And this includes a significant amount of other people. Prohibitions against drug and alcohol use, prostitution, pornography, homosexuality, as well as in using the military to forcefully spread morality (freedom!) among heathens and infidels.

While there is quite a bit of mixing of these goals by people who identify as Left or Right, these seem like the main differences, at least superficially, to me. Where they are allies are in their use of state power to force their preferences and values on everybody else, and also in support of an interventionist military, law enforcement, entitlement programs, central banking, economic regulations, zoning restrictions, eminent domain, roads and highways, public land management, taxation, and intellectual property protection, which make up 95% of what the state does.

In a nutshell, the Left view people as mentally handicapped and the Right as morally degenerate, although this never includes themselves as it’s never mentally handicapped or morally degenerate to use state power against peaceful people. Naw-mean?

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Skyler J. Collins (Editor)

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Founder and editor of Everything-Voluntary.com, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents” and “Items of Note.” Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on the official Everything-Voluntary.com podcast.

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