Knowing whether you are from the right or from the left can be helpful in developing your future perspective. Generally, leftists are people who aspire to social equality while rightists fight for nationalistic patriotism. In this article you will discover who you are. Let us begin!
Method 1 of 3: Placing yourself on the political spectrum
Step 1. Evaluate the policies that are most important to you, no matter which side they belong to
When you think about politics, what are the issues that you think about the most? Typically, which positions do you like and which are less important to you? Before trying to position yourself to the left or right, remember to reflect on your own political spectrum without thinking about "positions." Ask yourself the following questions knowing that there is no "correct" answer:
- Do you think that the government should try to improve the quality of life, or, for other people to do so, should it stay out of it?
- Do you think that other countries should be helped in case of war or other problems, or should they only respond to a direct attack?
- Do you think that the government should contribute to making the economy fairer or that the rules repress companies and entrepreneurs
Step 2. Take an online poll to define your overall political position
There are several pages on the Internet, and even questionnaires in the newspapers, which can be a good way to find out your political baseline. These sites assess your position on various issues and generally ask you to indicate how important the idea is or how much you agree with it. When you've solved them, you can use those answers to help you dive into some of the matches, pages, and ideas they suggest.
- Solve more than one questionnaire to avoid biases and errors that only one could have.
- Take these quizzes with some skepticism. Instead, check the sites and matches they suggest to you to see if they match your overall views.
Step 3. Read about the basic positions of both sides and see which ones you agree with the most
Again, you don't have to agree with all the positions on one side, and usually you won't. Therefore, it is essential that you think about your own beliefs first, as this will allow you to choose what is important to you instead of feeling that they drag you one way or the other.
The leftists they probably support:
- social assistance programs (food stamps, homeless shelters, unemployment benefits);
- the separation between Church and State;
- tax increases, or "progressive" taxes to pay for social programs;
- environmentalism and green initiatives;
- strong unions and sectoral regulations;
- social change or social justice to create equality;
- a stronger central government, as opposed to the consolidation of regional governments (this could be different in your country).
The right-wingers they probably support:
- strong moral and religious values;
- the belief that charities, churches and communities, and not the government, should provide social welfare;
- lowering taxes or flat taxes to cut government programs;
- the restriction of the areas of government;
- the strengthening of free market capitalism, both inside and outside the country;
- the reduction of laws that affect industries and companies;
- strengthening the powers of regional governments, with a weaker central government (this could be different in your country).
Step 4. Be aware of political biases that will prevent you from forming an honest and well-informed opinion
Again, this is why it is important to form your own judgment before diving into the interpretations of others. If you decide you are "on the right," ask yourself how often you allow yourself to watch the news "on the left." Often the reason you choose one side is that you don't expose yourself to the other. This is often referred to as the political "echo chamber," in which only the same opinions are heard over and over again. For better news, as news changes frequently, try some of the sites that have a "different" perspective:
- Moderate trend news: The Washington Post, Fox News, The National Review (In the United States).
- Liberal trend news: New York Times, MSNBC, The Huffington Post (in the United States).
Step 5. Remember that political views are on a spectrum and you can place yourself anywhere between the left and the right, based on your own vision
One of the greatest tragedies in politics is insisting that you must be either "left" or "right", and that you cannot disagree with your chosen position. However, human beings do not order ourselves so perfectly; we can agree with some policies and disagree with others, regardless of the position to which they belong. To truly understand what your political bias is, remember to be loyal to yourself, not to the beliefs that each position stipulates.
Method 2 of 3: Understand the perspective on the right
Step 1. View right-wing politics broadly as a "conservative" political perspective
Conservatism is the most "right" branch of political thought today, although it has become more difficult to define what it really is. Now conservative and right wing ideologies are often used interchangeably in conversations and you can usually assume that conservatives will consider themselves to be "right wing" and vice versa. They both believe that:
- a smaller state is stronger;
- free and unregulated markets generate more wealth;
- Strong moral, traditional, and religious values are key to a nation's strength.
Step 2. Reflect on social policies, regardless of economic or political ones
One of the biggest differences between the rightists is social policy; specifically the difficult border between "limited government" and "strong social values." In your opinion, to what extent is the government overly involved in social life and when is it appropriate for it to do so? For example, take an issue like gay marriage: two people on the right could have strikingly different interpretations based on the same principles:
- The most conservative on the social plane You might believe that the institution of marriage is thousands of years old and has always been made up of "one man and one woman." This should not change now when it has worked well before.
- The most conservative economically they might believe that the government has no right to be involved in something as personal as marriage and that people should do whatever they want (or marry whomever they want). It is not something worth spending taxpayer money on.
Step 3. Recognize "far right" politicians or candidates, which will help you put yourself on the spectrum
There are several levels of right-wing thinking, ranging from surprisingly moderate to highly conservative thinking. Although in all countries there are parties that are generally considered to be on the right, the electoral seasons show how broad conservatism is. In general, far-right candidates believe that:
- the Government must be reduced considerably and immediately, and must be left out of health care, taxation, regulatory and social programs, such as welfare and social security;
- the Government has the obligation to defend the solid Judeo-Christian values throughout the entire nation;
- the Constitution is infallible and should be the first source of information for legal disputes.
- the free market, where businesses and consumers do what they want without government intervention, will eventually solve most, if not all, of the problems.
Step 4. Follow the parties and candidates who sympathize with the causes of the right, such as the Republican Party, considered in the United States as a "right" party par excellence; so it is often seen as the "landing zone" for new conservatives, although it will hardly be the only option
Republicans generally believe in reducing taxes, regulations and immigration, but with a stronger promotion (with laws) of stronger social and moral values. As the 2016 election campaign shows, there are many candidates, ideas, and perspectives on what it means to be on the right:
- The Libertarian Party it advocates the reduction of the State as much as possible, the decriminalization of drugs, the non-participation of the Government in social and religious life, and the reduction, to a large extent, of economic regulation. It is closer to "traditional" conservatism.
- The Constitutional Party promotes a traditional and religious social order through a strong government presence; it is considered a conservative wing in that area.
- The American Party is socially and economically conservative; Specifically, it hopes that the United States will withdraw from world politics, which includes the elimination of aid to other countries and participation in the UN and NATO, and other world organizations, as well as greater citizen control. on foreign policy.
Method 3 of 3: Understand the Left Perspective
Step 1. Consider left politics, broadly speaking, as a "liberal" perspective
Liberalism has been redefined several times over the years, but today most people use it as a synonym for "leftist" ideology. And so many people consider themselves both "left" and liberal at the same time. Both ideologies advocate that:
- It is essential that there is a large and centralized State for the country to function properly;
- the free market gives too much power to companies and must be regulated to ensure fair treatment of consumers;
- the Government must actively protect the rights of majorities and populations at risk.
Step 2. Distinguish between social policy and economic policies, which divide many liberals
Leftism does not contemplate a specific set of ideals with which everyone agrees. Like the ideology of the right, the most common rupture occurs with respect to social and economic policies, between groups of similar ideology, but capable of opting for different "liberal" positions. For example, think about how two leftists might approach the affirmative action that occurs when minority students receive a slight preference when applying for a job:
- The most liberal on the social plane They might consider that minorities, at all levels of recruitment, face unspeakable and hidden discrimination; So a little push would help level that ground, after decades of hateful laws, policies, and attitudes, even if it meant leaving some people behind.
- The most liberal economically they might consider that acting as if some groups are "worse" and in need of a boost reduces long-term development and that lack of education and resources are more important issues. The real question is in the distribution of welfare, not in the policy of hiring, although that does not help the current generation.
Step 3. To define your own position on the spectrum, understand where the "far left" is located
Extreme liberals, often referred to as the "far left," generally believe that the government has an obligation to fix a number of evils and that it is best suited to handle problems and spend people's money.. Consequently, the far left often believes that:
- capitalism, and in particular free market capitalism, only concentrates power in the hands of a few rich people and destroys the middle class.
- companies and individuals will not treat minorities or excluded groups with respect unless compelled (through rules or incentives) to do so;
- there are some things (like the environment) too important to trust people to take care of, and therefore the government needs to monitor groups' efforts to address these issues.
Step 4. Follow candidates and parties that sympathize with causes on the left, such as the Democratic Party, generally considered a "left" party, in the United States
This makes it a good starting point for emerging liberals, as Democrats broadly believe that the government should enforce social equality for all people, that higher taxes should be imposed on those who earn the most and in moderate regulations in the social and economic spheres. However, this is not the only option for impressionable leftists:
- The Green Party It is one of the three largest American parties and its supporters focus on economic equality, a strong commitment against global warming and pollution, and increasing social rights for all.
- The Justicialist Party It is relatively new and its main goal is to challenge influence and big business in politics. Their argument is that this can only happen through stronger regulations.
- The Party of Working Families it supports both Democrats and Republicans, while adhering to a center-left policy of stronger unions and support for workers, raising the minimum wage, and other protective measures for the middle class against strong business interests.
- Right-wingers consider the state to be large and unwieldy and therefore, to maximize individual freedom, government intervention must be minimal. They also believe that the force of law accorded to government authority often violates individual freedoms and other human rights.
- Leftists believe that government is a force for social justice and change, and therefore must intervene in people's lives to ensure that social justice is achieved.
- There are several questionnaires on the Internet designed to put you on the political spectrum, but you can't trust all of them. Some may have chosen a certain text or certain questions with the intention of classifying people under a certain label. In other cases, the research is simply poor or flawed.
- Political labels can have different meanings in different countries or eras. For example, an Australian "liberal" supports the National Liberal Party, which is leaning to the right, while an American "liberal" supports the Democratic Party, which is leaning to the left.
- Compressing the entire political spectrum into a single axis could cause important information to be lost. Two politicians can disagree on all crucial issues and will still be labeled moderate. Some people prefer a two-dimensional model, such as those that place economic issues on one axis and personal freedoms on another; others prefer models with more dimensions.
- Also, be cautious with relative terms, such as far right or center left, when the center is not specified. The Democratic Party can be considered the most left of the two main political parties in the United States, but by the standards of many European countries, it could be considered a center-right party.
- Although they are frequently related, conservative no means right-wing and liberal no means left. Although they are independent ideas, they are often linked.