Saturday, 13 June 2009

Left -vs- Right

Alright. Essay number 1. Left vs right.

sic scribit Wikipedia:

The perspective of Left vs. Right is a broad, dialectical interpretation of a set of factors or determinants.

Translation: this page was written by someone with a Latin education. What is says is that there's an artificial (that's the dialectical bit) divide. Socrates used the method of having person A talk to person B, and try to persuade them of things. This is dialectics. But a 'dialectical interpretation' seems to me to mean that 'Person A identifies with one thing, and identifies person B with another thing'. And then they both agree that they are different, and it makes them feel good.

But I'm going to buy into this system for a moment. Left and right are different approaches to solving a scarcity problem. That's what I think it boils down to. There's been a lot of drift over the course of history. The corn laws are pretty pro-capitalist, but nobility (read, landowners) opposed them. I'm going to stick to contemporary definitions.

The problem is that the easy 'vs' definition is a lie. What you have is more a cloud of little magnetised bars, with 'L' and 'R' instead of N and S. So 'tax the rich' is economic-left. But it's not much to do with other spheres. 'jail should be a punishment for offences' is further to the right than 'jail increases re-offending rates'. Both are then used in dialectics (see how it creeps in?) to persuade other people of things. Pulling numbers out of a hat would be cheaper, and you could tie it into the National Lottery ball machines for added pizzaz.

So in loose area, the contemporary right is concerned with ensuring that individuals have the freedom to operate as they wish to. The left is concerned with ensuring that individuals have the freedom to operate as they wish to...

Oh. You see the problem here, world? So let's think of the right as car A, and the left as car B. The driver of car A decides to drive around London. He uses the M25. The driver of car B decided to drive around London. He uses the North Circular. Which one 'wins' this race can be measured, but only for a particular time. Sometimes, the M25 is the orbital car park it's famed as. Sometimes, weight of traffic on the North Circ means driver B should be taking a bike. Or the tube. Or a unicycle.

But the important thing is that both drivers believe they are getting around London in the best way.

So: to do the best for people, the Right says 'leave them be, let them help each other' and the Left says 'give them a designed structure within which they cannot fall too far. This will help them'.

I think that's the difference between left and right.

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