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Sorry, But You're Probably Right Wing

Around the View

Historically we've defined whether individuals are left or right-leaning politically based on ideas and principles. For example, you are more likely right-leaning if you believed in religious freedom, were pro-life, wanted stronger immigration control, small-government advocate, and wanted lower taxes. In America, you would add a strong belief in the 2nd amendment to that list. To be considered left you would likely have the following beliefs, gay rights, larger government (i.e a belief in increasing social aid or welfare from the government), a belief in the separation of government and church, pro-immigration and higher tax.

The left and right also fell into observable demographic patterns. In the west, generally richer, whiter, suburban, and more educated would be right-leaning, and left-leaning was associated with the working class, younger, and nonwhites. As a result the right historically speaking had the institutional powers, and as with human nature, those with powers tend to use them to enforce what they believe is right for society. Enforcement of power results in the infringement of freedom for those who are different. However, it's 2022 and things have changed, largely due to the shift in who has control of the institutions.

The left always fought for principles like separation of Church and state and issues like gay rights because they believed in the ideas of freedom and individual rights, or so they would argue. Decades past, they would fight the institutions that sought to limit the rights of minorities. They believed in the rights of individuals to live as they want, as long as they caused no harm to another. They weren't controllers of the institutions, so they encouraged dissent, debates and enjoyed critical thoughts. I would argue that this was because when the right had the institutions under their control, their beliefs were considered 'normal' and correct, so any voice of dissent and critical thinking probably question the orthodoxy.

For example sixty years ago, if the 'normal' thought was that gays couldn't get married or should not exist, any critical thinking or dissent would question this idea or even suggest an opposing point of view. I can imagine left-leaning groups would encourage debates and questions in classrooms, study groups, or student halls. This likely bread a culture of passionate exchange of ideas amongst groups and individuals on a vast array of issues or topics. A result of this attitude to freedom, expression, and invitation to question meant that the tent under which the left existed probably had a much wider diversity of individuals within it. not just physical diversity, but diversity of ideas, thoughts and opinions. In that tent I envisage plenty of disagreements occurring, arguments and even falling outs. But they all stayed connected under the common idea of free expression. It's no surprise that when you look back at history and you wanted to find who society wanted to paint as the crazies and the conspiracy theorists, you would have found them on the left. This is because freedom attracts a wide range of individuals with a wide range of thoughts and expression. Any tent that truly believes in free thinking will acknowledge that whilst I disagree with that person's thought, they are entitled to think what they want.

Fast forward to 2022, the left now owns the institutions. Many on the left will disagree with this statement because they still think the most powerful institutions are the same as the 1950s. But in 2022, the entertainment industry, the arts, the tech companies (especially internet-based), education, activist organisations even social media personalities have the most influence on our culture. The left dominates the culture and whether we like it or not has the biggest influence on the morality of our modern society and how it thinks. It has replaced religion (an institution that was largely ruled by the right) in that regard.

Don't believe me? observe how the arts, media, educational institutes, or mainstream personalities represent pro-life, pro-Christianity, anti-gay marriage, LGBTQ sentiments. In the month of June we celebrate Pride Month in the west, not in just a few countries but in most western countries, large international companies paint their logos, buildings and websites in rainbow colour in solidarity with the LGBTQ community. An act that was considered immoral and criminal more than half a century ago is now being used by capitalist organisations because it enhances their image and as a result their finances.

Culture is more powerful and important than politics, and the culture war that went from the 1950s to the early 2000s was won by the left. This doesn't mean there aren't exceptions, even powerful exceptions with opposing views, but most of the world's powerful bodies and individuals espouse views and base their identities on principles supported by the left. Just take a look at Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple and how hard they come down on dissenters on their platforms. Even the military and MI5, institutions that go around the world killing human beings around the world, have pride flags on their social media accounts. When BLM exploded a couple of years ago after the death of George Floyd, you would be hard-pressed to find an organisation that didn't come out to show their support, and any that didn't were questioned. Anyone that spoke in defence of the Officer publicly was targeted and anyone that questioned the narrative was accused of racism, even if it was to condemn any violent part of the largely peaceful protests or to wait for the trial outcome.

So with this said, I think the roles have reversed. What once defined the left, which was freedom and free expression, to question the orthodoxy and the 'normal' now belongs to the right. It's the right you're more likely to find disagreements and arguments about ideas. It's more likely on the right you'll find two individuals falling out about a contentious topic but not trying to kick the other out of the right-leaning tent for expressing a different opinion. It's on the right you're more likely to find the 'crazies' because it's a tent that allows free thinking and free expression attracts diversity of thought as a by-product. It's on the right that you're more likely to find people willing to acknowledge that you have the right to think what you want, even if they disagree or even hate what you say. I am aware that there are examples that contradict this, but I would say they are exceptions and from my observation, I've found that the description I've given above is mostly accurate.

In fact, plenty on the modern left agree with me on this point. It's a common practice on the left to label someone who veers away from the left orthodoxy on a particular issue or point as 'right leaning', even if on all other issues that individual retains what is typically considered left-wing views. Take individuals like JK Rowling and Joe Rogan as examples.

I've watched so many on the old left try to tell whatever audience they are speaking to that they are still on the left. Even though they disagree with the authoritarian methods the left use to enforce their beliefs. Respectfully, I think many of them are in denial, if you believe in free expression, free thought, critical thinking and debating ideas you fall under the tent of the right by 2022 standards. I understand why they don't want to be labelled as being on the right, perhaps it's because it would justify the accusation thrown at them from the left who label them as such. But I suspect it's more to do with being associated with ideas they see as right-leaning, things like pro-life or anti-immigration.

However, I think left and right is defined by who allows free expression, disagreements and hasn't got the power to enforce behaviour. That last point is important, I don't think the right isn't capable of authoritarian behaviour anymore, I just think once a side gains control of the Culture, they gain control of the institutions and because of human nature, they will use that power to enforce righteousness and goodness. In 2022 it's the left who has that power.