Differences between the ‘left and the ‘right’

I was thinking about the differences between the ‘left and the ‘right’. Beyond object-level issues (such as gun control, abortion, immigration, etc.), this proved surprisingly hard to do. It’s hard to believe that after so many years and so much ink spilled, that there’s still no good definition or consensus of ‘left’ versus ‘right’ that is exclusive to either.

“Hierarchy” But Stalin’s Russia was very hierarchical, so is the People’s Republic of China.

“Rule of law” Same as above.

“Authority” Many left-wing regimes are/were authoritarian.

“Capitalism” Many on the left support capitalism if it’s to advance social-justice causes and to indoctrinate, such as Nike’s Colin Kaepernick ads.

“Religion” Many Christians vote democratic, but some denominations and religions are more right-wing than others.

The problem is, anything that can be applied to the right can be applied to the left in certain circumstance, and vice-versa. It’s very hard to find an attribute that is exclusively left-wing or right-wing. So what,if any, attribute is most exclusive to the right?

Came up with some:

Policy, culture, and society:

The left generally seeks revolution and reform by changing society through ‘positive rights’ (workers’ rights and civil rights) and ‘progress’ (such as central planning and sweeping record (AOC’s Green New Deal, FDR’s New Deal, Yang’s UBI, Mao’s ‘Great Leap Forward’, etc.)). The right’s approach is to restore society to a previous state, often through more incrementalist means than revolt, sweeping policy, or revolution. The right turns to the past for answers that have been discarded or forgotten due to modernity, whereas the left wants to create new society. This is sometimes why the right, especially traditionalists and paleocons, are labeled as ‘old fashioned’, are typically older, and described as resistant to change.


(for the left) Skepticism, fallibilism, anti-realism; humans are motivated and controlled by passions rather than ‘logic and reason’; morality is subjective and or situation-dependent; inability to derive an ought from an is; Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Popper

(for the right) Realism; opposed to skepticism; objective truth; logo-centrism; objective morality, objective value system; Aristotle, Aquinas, Ayn Rand, Rushdoony

I think there is a third category for atheist-leaning conservatives who agree with some of the philosophies of Rand, who herself was an atheist, with an admixture of positivism and rationalism (meaning that knowledge is obtainable through senses and reason), but also elements of utilitarianism; philosophers and scientists include: Herbert Spencer, Kant, Darwin, Comte, Bentham. (Although Rand’s objectivism is opposed to positivism, it’s not like one must 100% adhere to either an empirical or rational approach; one synthesis is Kant’s ‘Transcendental idealism’.)

Third, liberalism is inclusive; to join, one need only oppose conservatism and show solidarity for social justice causes (‘woke capitalism’ means you can be a pro-business if you’re ‘down’ with social justice). Their strategy is to get enough support from an amalgamation of small, disenfranchised/marginalized groups to create a coalition large enough to win. Conservatism tends to be more exclusive.

The problem with conservatism is that although there’s uniform agreement that liberalism and communism are ‘bad’ and traditional values are ‘good’, there’s otherwise little agreement about everything else. Conservatism requires that one join a specific type of conservatism, such as libertarian-conservatism, alt-lite conservatism, Trump-brand conservatism, paleo-conservatism, neo-conservatism, alt-right conservatism, and so on, but also there are so many gradations between these types even if the overarching themes is that they are opposed to liberalism..