Politics & Policy

A Guide to Basic Differences between Left and Right

Election day in Elyria, Ohio, November 8, 2016. (Reuters phoot: Aaron Josefczyk)
Some opposing definitions in the American political lexicon

Source of Human Rights     

Left:   Government  

Right: The Creator

Human Nature

Left:   Basically good (therefore society primarily responsible for evil)

Right: Not basically good (therefore the individual primarily responsible for evil)

Economic Goal

Left:   Equality

Right: Prosperity

Primary Role of the State

Left:   Increase and protect equality

Right: Increase and protect liberty

Government

Left:   As large as possible

Right: As small as possible

Family Ideal

Left:   Any loving unit of people

Right: Married father and mother and children

Guiding Trinity

Left:   Race, Gender, Class

Right: Liberty, In God We Trust, E Pluribus Unum

Good and Evil

Left:   Relative to individual and/or society

Right: Based on universal absolutes

Humanity’s Primary Division(s)

Left:   Rich and poor. Strong and weak

Right: Good and evil

Ideal Primary Identity of an American

Left:   World citizen

Right: American citizen

How to Make a Good Society

Left:   Abolish inequality

Right: Develop each citizen’s moral character

View of America

Left:   Profoundly morally flawed, inferior to any number of European countries 

Right: Greatest force for good among nations in world history

Gender          

Left:   A social construct

Right: Male and female     

Most Important Trait to Cultivate in a Child        

Left:   Self-esteem

Right: Self-control

Worth of the Human Fetus

Left:   Determined by the mother

Right: Determined by society rooted in Judeo-Christian values

Primary Source of Crime

Left:   Poverty, racism, and other societal flaws

Right: The criminal’s malfunctioning conscience

Place of God and Religion in America

Left:   Secular government and secular society

Right: Secular government and religious society

American Exceptionalism

Left:   Chauvinistic doctrine

Right: Historical reality

Greatest Threat to the World

Left:   Environmental catastrophe; currently global warming         

Right: Evil; currently Islamist violence

International Ideal

Left:   World governed by the United Nations, and no single country is dominant

Right: World in which America is the single strongest entity

Primary Reason for Lack of Peace in Middle East

Left:   Israeli settlements in the West Bank

Right: Palestinian, Arab, Muslim denial of Jewish state’s right to exist

Purpose of Art

Left:   Challenge status quo and bourgeois sensibilities

Right: Produce works of beauty and profundity to elevate the individual and society

Guns

Left:   Ideally universally abolished except for police, armed forces, and registered sportsmen

Right: Ideally widely owned by responsible individuals for self-protection and protection of others

Race

Left:   Intrinsically significant

Right: Intrinsically insignificant

Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Diversity at Universities

Left:   Nothing more important

Right: Far less important than ideological diversity

Black America’s Primary Problem

Left:   Racism

Right: Lack of fathers

Greatest Playwright

Left:   Entirely subjective. There is no greatest playwright

Right: Shakespeare

War   

Left:   “War is not the answer.”

Right: Sometimes the only answer to evil

Hate

Left:   Wrong except when directed at the political Right

Right: Wrong except when directed at evil

Cultures

Left:   All equal

Right: Some are better than others.

America’s Founders

Left:   Rich, white, male slave-owners        

Right: Great men who founded the greatest society

Purpose of Judges

Left:   Pursue social justice

Right: Pursue justice

National Borders

Left:   A relic of the past

Right: Indispensable to national survival

View of Illegal Immigrants

Left:   Welcomed guests

Right: Illegal immigrants

Nature           

Left:   Nature intrinsically valuable

Right: Nature is made for man.

— Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His latest book, The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code, was published by Regnery. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com. © 2017 Creators.com​

Dennis Prager — Dennis Prager’s latest book, The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code, was published by Regnery. He is a nationally syndicated radio show host and creator of PragerUniversity.com. © 2018 Creators.com.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More