LEFT WING v. RIGHT WING: A QUICK CRITICAL ANALYSIS
Author: Aryan Sharma, III year of B.A.,LL.B, from Indore Institute of Law
Are you a communist or a capitalist? Are you a liberal or a conservative? Do you support the right wing or the left wing? You must have been compelled to answer such a question at least once in your life. Instead of your personality and individuality, people today are more concerned about your political affiliation.
That is the reason why such questions have become very common nowadays.
And the answers to such questions are mostly affirmative. You find yourself inclined either towards the left-wing politics or towards the right counterpart. Neutrality is just lost. And depending upon the political inclination of the person who asked you the question, you either become friends with him or you two are about to start a sparring debate.
Before moving any further, let’s just first familiarise ourselves with the basic understanding of this left and right terminology in layman’s terms. The terms originated for the first time during the French Revolution of 1789 when the members of the National Assembly divided into supporters of the king to the president’s right and the supporters of the revolution to his left.
PRESENT DAY MEANING
Now let’s get into the deeper meaning. In current times, we refer to left-wingers as ‘socialists’ or ‘communists’ and right-wingers as ‘conservatives’. In the simplest of terminologies, the left wing is concerned with making a progressive future; a perfect place to live where everyone is equal and together. On the contrary, the right wing focuses more on history. Right wing believes that the systems and customs of living were better in the past, and they should be applied in the present to make a better future.
WHICH ONE IS BETTER?
Now the question arises as to which one is better? To be honest, there’s enough room for criticism on either side. Let us analyse each of them individually.
CRITIQUE OF RIGHT WING
Talking about the right wing, lets compare the conservatives of the USA to that of Russia. The USA has been following the policy of capitalism since its inception while, on the other hand, Russia has been a communist state. As a result, the rightwing of the USA advocates capitalism while the right wing of Russia advocates for communism because of their respective histories.
Hence, it can be concluded that the right wing has a certain fascination or fixation with the way things were. But we do know that things weren’t perfect in the past as well. History is often over glorified and the flaws are usually omitted. People also remember only the good things. The right wing doesn’t talk about the bad things in the past and chooses to live in the past.
CRITIQUE OF LEFT WING
As far as the left wing is considered, it lives in a utopia. They are over-optimistic. The goals they wish to achieve are way too good to be real. Whenever a conservative wins over a socialist, more often than not it is on the grounds of reality. Let’s take the example of Marxism. A true Marxist believes the proletarians will come together and fight the bourgeoise and overthrow them.
And under the dictatorship of proletarians, there will be equality in the truest sense. But when we look at the reality, we find that throughout the history, various countries adopted this Marxist and socialist ideology and later, many of them rejected it. There are countries where the condition deteriorated even further after the implementation of the Marxist thought. The most prominent example is the fall of the Soviet Union. Marxism bought equality there. It made everyone poor. That is the problem with left ideologies, they have never been realised as predicted. Reality betrays socialist/communist optimism.
As we examined both the wings, we came across that each one had its own share of flaws. There is not one good or one bad ideology. Sometimes you might come across situations where the right wing makes sense, and left wing sounds completely absurd while some other times, you might find the left being wise and the right being foolish. There is no black or white. There are just shades of grey. What we need to understand as individuals is that we should try to refrain ourselves from blindly following any one, particular ideology.
It is so because if one does that, then he/she will also have to justify all the bad and cruel things done in the past or being done presently in the name of that ideology. To save ourselves from such trouble, what we can do is to analyse each situation individually. Then apply the various ideological approaches available to us in that situation and assess which approach is taking us towards the most beneficial result. The beneficial result means our individual benefit as well as the benefit of society at large. For other situations, we must repeat the entire process again. This way, we will be able to control the ideas rather than being the slaves of ideas and ideas controlling us.