To construct a thorough analysis of the terms ‘left’ and ‘right’ in a political context several questions must be answered;
Can left and right be defined by associating the left with ‘reform’ and the right with ‘preservation’?
Is a more accurate definition revealed by associating left/right wings with particular political ideals and values?
Do the terms retain any meaning in the modern political landscape? Or has the line separating them become blurred in the 21st century?
Associating left and right with ‘revolution’ and ‘preservation’ is an over simplification that promotes contradiction. This association implies a political party’s left or right standing is altered by the political movement within the country. Therefore a successful ‘revolution’ from a party would transform them from a left wing party to a right.
An example is the Bolshevik’s communist revolution in Russia. All communist parties are regarded as being on the extreme left of the political spectrum but under this system of classification, the success of the revolution and the subsequent creation of Soviet Russia would see the party converted to the right wing. This is because upon obtaining power, the Bolsheviks abandoned any notion of revolution & committed themselves to ensuring their political ideals remained in power.
Such a paradox can also be seen by the Howard Government’s amendment to the Work Choices Act. A traditional right wing party, the Liberals shifted further right with their changes to Work Choices. This was achieved by softening unfair dismissal laws, making industrial relations even more market orientated and deregulated. This creates juxtaposition under the ‘political movement’ classification, as the Liberals creation of an even more market based economy would, under this system, see them become left wing. This shift to the left was achieved by the party moving further to the right.*
*A deregulated and market orientated society are traditional right...
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