"In the maze, you'll find no dragons or creatures of the deep, instead you'll find something even more challenging. You see, people... change... in the maze - Oh find the cup if you can, but be very wary, you could just lose yourselves along the way" Dumbledore - Goblet of fire (movie vs)
With all the news lately, budgetary battles in D.C. and innocents slaughtered in Norway, it seems a good time to make a few clarifications about our political systems and how we refer to them. Dana Loesch gave a good, and brief, historical summary of the origin and meaning of " the Definition of "Right Wing" on Big Journalism. And while I don't have a very good track record on being brief... I'm going to give it a shot, after all, I did manage a fairly brief summary of the basis for 'Liberty and Natural Rights', and since Dana's already given the history, all that's left for me is to do is to clarify the political basis a bit further.
The need to do this came to mind this morning with a couple comments exchanged with an online friend from the other side of the aisle, about the Norwegian shooting and bombing. By this morning the news had switched from the initial reports of various islamic groups taking credit for the attacks, to it being the work of a 'right winger'. Lance commented,
"So it was lone white male, right wing extremest. Color me Jack's complete lack of surprise."And I replied,
"Bombing govt buildings, shooting kids, yep, obviously someone who believes in individual rights, constitutional government and the rule of law, right winger all right."And Lance replied
"He is a right wing European which is much different then the typical right wing American."Which points out not only the difference between how the political terms are thought of and applied here in America, and there in Europe, but also their inability to properly label the ideas they supposedly identify. Why do you suppose these terms are still being used if they cause so much confusion? My guess, is that it's because of their inability to properly label the ideas they supposedly identify. Why? Because few things are more useful in an argument that is being argued so as to score a win, rather than to discover the truth, than one which uses names that can be used to so easily mislead the audience. But with that kind of race being run, filled with inappropriate terms and clouded with non-essentials, is a race which even if you do win, you're likely to lose yourself in the process.
In Norway, and most of Europe, Right Wing typically stands for nationalists, fascists, authoritarian statists with varying degrees of racists thrown into the mix, while the left wing (once) stood for less control and more freedom. When we conservatives are called 'right wing extremists', they're associating us with authoritarians, kings & dictators, people who care nothing for their peoples rights, lives or property.
But does that fit the American so called 'Right Wing'?
The answer is no, it doesn't fit. In fact, those that are typically called 'Right Wing extremists', such as fascists, are actually nothing other than leftists of another flavor. If that surprises you, it's only because these issues are so rarely looked at in their essentials, that we easily become distracted by all the various random details which clutter and obscure our view.
The essential essentials of Left and Right
For the record, no one defined the essentials of these systems as well as John Adams and Karl Marx did. John Adams said that the essential of (classical) liberalism lay in the Roman conception of a Republic, as being where the private property of all the people is protected by law, and that all individual rights are dependent upon the protection of private property.
Karl Marx, on the other hand, defined the essentials of his system as,
"the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property."This not only defines the two points of views in their essentials, but it also highlights their fundamental point of opposition.
The European terms 'Left' and 'Right', came from which side of a racket ball court partisans stood upon during the French Revolution. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that that may have run its course in the area of relevance. The only meaningful way to describe what the terms Left and Right attempts to describe, and fails so badly at, is that of Anti-Property Rights and Pro-Property Rights, all the rest is simply style and flavor.
The Pro-Property Right
Classical liberals such as John Adams, what we call Tea Party conservatives today, sought, and seek, to protect the peoples right to be secure in the possession of their property
A strange thing happens when you decide that people shall be secure in their property, and then build a political structure around that idea - they gain their liberty. The reason a person has a right to their property, is because it is created by their thoughts, actions and efforts - you have a right to your property because it was created through the actions of your life. As John Locke described it, a person has property not only in their property, but in what it takes to create it - they have property in their thoughts, in their speech, in their actions, in who they choose to associate with - in short freedom and liberty grow out of your right to your property.
Not only that, a society worth living in, is what grows out of people who are free to associate and interact with others who have the freedom to do the same.
Those are the ideas which our Declaration of Independence came from, they are what our Constitution was written to uphold, which is why we care about it, and why we defend it.
(Video H/T Patch Adams @ poedpatriot.com)
The Opposite of Right
The European conception of 'Right Wing' - authoritarianism, institutionalized racism, the State telling people what they can and cannot do, who they can associate with or not, what they can possess, how much of it and under what conditions - such a system as that has nothing to do with, and can have nothing to do with the principles and ideas of Tea Party conservatives. A system such as that which is categorized as a European 'right winger', cannot co-exist with the pro-property rights political views which we call conservative, because it is fundamentally opposed to our fundamental view of property rights.
All of the variants of the anti-property rights systems are centered around collectives, not individuals; Socialism, Communism, Fascism, Proregressivism, they all have one central belief in common - an opposition to property rights - and as such they don't support the Rights of individuals, but instead call for the distribution of privileges amongst the members of various groups of their people. In that system, the people don't have a right to their property, they simply tend to have what most others have (or don't have), because the state has distributed some amounts of materials to them all. They also don't have a right to say what they want, because they have to comply with what is politically correct.
The manner with which they distribute privileges in such a system, and to who, determines the style of collectivism which they are; their differences become apparent in the extent to which they deprive their people of their rights, the style with which they do away with them, and whose property is taken and given to who to control:
- The socialists puts the means of production into the hands of the state,
- The communists abolishes all property and all choices of association, which are given to the state (temporarily forever) to control, as it seeks to extend its control globally,
- Fascists assume the 'right' to control all property within their state, and they economically operate through a form of socialism, but the state allows some favored few persons or classes to operate the means of production for them, at the pleasure of the leader of the state, in the name of their race and nation,
- Proregressives assume control over as much of everyone's property and actions as they can get away with, leaving some control over them to the people, though all are under the authority of various experts who will guide them locally, and globally.
For all of these collectivist systems, the law is a tool of force for distributing property and control of the people and to defend the state. In each of these systems, the people have no rights which they can be secure in, all privileges are dependent upon and subject to definition, and redefinition, by the state. All rights and privileges are based upon their value to those in power, and no one has a Right to anything at all.