Apr 01 2010

The Left and the Right.

Category: left,rightharmonicminer @ 8:55 am

Michael Medved believes the recent totally partisan Congressional vote to establish federal control over all healthcare is useful in Exposing the Essence of the Left/Right Divide

After the House of Representatives voted on Obamacare, Representative Louise Slaughter, the New York Democrat who chairs the Rules Committee, told the Wall Street Journal: “It makes me so happy that, after 100 years, we can finally catch up with the rest of the world!”. Does Ms. Slaughter really believe the U.S. has lagged behind the rest of the world since 1910? During that period, we saved the planet in four major international conflicts while our surging economy brought higher living standards to most of the world. The key distinction between Democrats and Republicans involves attitudes toward America. The right believes the world would benefit by following America’s example; the left thinks the U.S. should become more like the rest of the world. Democrats may long to emulate France, but most Americans feel proud, rather than embarrassed, by our nation’s uniqueness.

I WISH this was true.  But if the divide were so simple, if mere emulation of Europe was the goal of the Left, then when European governments occasionally take a step to the right, the American Left would want to emulate that.  Obviously, they do not.  A more subtle piece on the left/right divide was written in 2008 by Dennis Prager, and I commented on it here.

Instead, the American left only celebrates the European left, a fact that has been obvious for at least 30 years, since the American left derided Margaret Thatcher at every turn.  In fact, one of the Left’s main briefs against Reagan was that he and Thatcher were such good friends.

The essence of the Left/Right divide, then, is very simple.

Leftists believe in the perfectibility of human beings and human culture, if only we could get it right, if only we could create just the right laws and social structures, if only the evil influences of traditional religion and selfishness could be removed, if only the right people were in charge to make everyone else “do right.”

The Right also wants the right people in charge, but the Right’s definition of “the right people” will be those who have no particular thirst to override basic human freedom in the service of some larger social goal, those who believe the government governs best that governs as little as possible (consistent with the basic functions of civil government), and, most important of all, those with enough humility to know that they don’t have the answers to everything, and who are convinced that government is not the answer to most things.

The Left wants to control us for our own good.  The Right thinks it’s good for us to be in control.

And that’s the divide.