Right vs. Left – Defined

The definitions of the Political Right and the Political Left have changed quit a bit over the last couple hundred years…

Many of the Founding Fathers would have been see as Radical Leftists for their views on personal freedom and deviating from what at the time was considered to be traditional values towards Monarchy. Today, it almost seems as if the left is praising leaders of countries that have big governments with tight controls over the lives of the people.

The terms Left and Right were coined during the French Revolution, referring to the seating arrangement in parliament; those who sat on the left generally supported the radical changes of the revolution… The Founding Fathers fit this description quite well …those who sat on the right supported preserving the institutions of the Ancien Régime (the monarchy, the aristocracy and the established church)… Things the Founding Father fought against.

Today in the U.S. the traditional values defended by the right are the same things the Founding Fathers supported, while the left is supportive of more “progressive” or “revolutionary” ideas (Obama said it himself that he was going to “fundamentally transform America” – a very revolutionary statement).

So as you can see the terms right and left inevitably will flip flop over time as things inevitably change. They are not solid unchanging definitions that can be relied upon to compare past and present positions of political views, because what political views are currently enforced also tend to change over time. Rather they are indications of who the revolutionaries and traditionalists are.

Of course you could also look at it from the perspective of the french revolutionary leftists being in favor of the creation of a republic, and the rights were in favor of the Monarchy, but that just doesn’t fit with the way things are today, and once again proves my point that the definitions change over time.

The big problem today that confuses most people is that they attempt to equate Left to Liberal and Right to Conservative. There may be some truth to that equation for the last few decades, but it is not always the case.

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