There’s much confusion about the meaning of left and right in America today.
The confusion is, ironically, on both the left and the right.
I witnessed this most recently in commentaries and news reports about the riots at the Vancouver Olympics.
Those participating in the riots most frequently describe themselves as “anarchists.”
So let’s start with proponents of “anarchy.” Where do they fall on the left-right political spectrum?
As proponents of no government, they would fall on the extreme right.
A true anarchist would be as far to the right as you can get on the political spectrum. Just to the left of anarchists would be libertarians, who acknowledge there is a role for government but want it strictly limited. Those we call “conservatives” might be just to the left of the libertarians.
Over on the other side of the political spectrum, the left side, would be those who want government to have totalitarian control. These would be hard-core Stalinists and communists.
Just to the right of them, but still way over on the left side of the spectrum, would be fascists, those who are still totalitarians, but don’t insist that government own all the means of production. Fascists are content to control the means of production.
Just to the right of these folks are those in our society who call for a “mixed economy” in line with the European model. You could also call it “soft socialism.”
In other words, what truly defines the political spectrum is attitude toward the proper role of government.
How does this model differentiate from the general misconceptions we hear so frequently?
First of all, fascism is often portrayed as a “right-wing” ideology, when, in fact, it is far left. Fascism and communism are ideological kissing cousins. That’s how close they are on the political spectrum and in their way of governance.
In fact, I would say that fascists are often mistakenly called communists. Take a look at China today and it is not by any stretch of the imagination communist. It is fascist. Even though most people who think of themselves as “left” would tell you they detest fascism, in practice, they often have not.
Mussolini was beloved by the left and practically defined fascism. Hitler was embraced by the Communist Soviet Union, until he betrayed Stalin’s non-aggression pact. Hollywood Communists led the “peace movement” in the U.S. and fought involvement in the European war until Hitler betrayed Stalin. Then, overnight, they became war mongers.
Secondly, anarchists are often descried as left-wingers, when in fact they are on the extreme right of the political spectrum. Again, the political spectrum, if it is to make any sense at all, should be based on attitude toward government.
Because of these misconceptions, many Americans are missing the real political threat facing our country. It’s not from communism, but it is from another form of socialism – fascism.
Whenever you hear about “public-private partnerships,” you’re hearing about a fascist concept.
Whenever you hear about emergency government plans to confiscate property, block transportation and seize control of communications, it’s socialism that is knocking on the door.
Look at the way we have abdicated our individual liberties in favor of “group rights.” That’s a fascist concept. Look at the way we demonize certain groups (whether you’re talking about smokers or Bible-believing Christians) and elevate others (native Americans and homosexuals come to mind as the new noblemen or chosen people) in our society. That, too, is a fascist concept.
One of the reasons America is moving toward fascism today is because it has lost its constitutional moorings. We’re supposed to believe in limited government in the United States. The federal powers are enumerated in the Constitution. But, in recent years, Washington has far exceeded its authority. And very few politicians – Democrats or Republicans – seem to give a darn.
So, maybe you ask, who’s in the middle of the political spectrum?
The Founding Fathers were.
They believed in very limited central government but left to the states broad powers to legislate.
And I’m with them.
If we really want to understand what it is we believe and why the American form of constitutionally limited government is so superior to other forms, it’s important to understand the political spectrum.