We're told that the extreme of the Left is Communism, such as what we saw in the Soviet Union, Communist China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, etc. We're told the extreme of the Right, diametrically opposed to Communism, is Fascism; as in Fascist Italy, Spain, and Nazi Germany.
We're told that liberals, Democrats, progressives, communists, social liberals, greens, social democrats, socialists, democratic socialists, "civil-libertarians," and anarchists are all members of the "Left." Meanwhile, Republicans, conservatives, neoconservatives, capitalists, "economic-libertarians," social authoritarians, monarchists, theocrats, nationalists, and fascists are all members of the "Right."
But if you know anything about Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and any of the mentioned political beliefs, you begin to see that the whole premise of the modern Left/Right paradigm falls apart. The problem lies in the fact that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, while claiming irreconcilable ideological difference, were actually two forms of the same system of government: totalitarianism, or authoritarianism (the only difference is that authoritarians claim to rule through or for the "people," which is always a bunch of crap).
|The Left/Right Paradigm: Concentration Camp or Gulag?|
In this light, the absurdity of grouping anarchists with Soviets and libertarians with Nazis should be obvious. Anarchists believe in no government, and libertarians believe in extremely little government; how could they be lumped in with Soviets and Nazis, respectively, but be opposed to each other? Obviously anarchists and libertarians should be grouped closely, and opposed to totalitarianism/authoritarianism, with the rest of the ideologies placed along the continuum accordingly.
This new paradigm would alter the Left/Right continuum to more accurately reflect the realities of the world. Basically, it should be maximum individual freedom (no government) versus zero individual freedom (maximum government). Liberty versus Power. Anarchism versus Statism. Individualism versus Collectivism. Libertarianism (or individual anarchism to be precise) versus Authoritarianism, and whatever other fancy names we can come up with for the same idea.
|Moreover, let's make it into a damn Yin-Yang because Yin-Yangs are cool.|
Sound confusing? It is, so we'll save the history for Part 2.
Recommended reading (click links or pictures to purchase from Amazon.com):
by Murray Rothbard
by Ron Paul