Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Political Labels: Are a You Right-Wing or a Left-Wing?

I didn't know it till now that the political "Right" and "Left" comes in a wide array of ideological differences until I read this article on the Britannica blog (Political Labels).

"Various other labels have been introduced into the political sphere from time to time, but they tend only to confuse. Thus, for example, the word “liberal,” which originally arose in English politics and was meant to be the same as “left.” But then the particular ideas that comprised liberalism, such things as personal liberty, free markets, and limited government, came to America and gradually became identified with “right.” Then some people in one party that liked to think of itself as right started shouting “Liberal! Boo!” at people in the other party who were generally thought to be “left.” Now nobody knows what “liberal” means but everybody is quite sure he doesn’t want to be thought one."

In India we are used to labeling the Hindutva brigade as the "Right" and the Communists as "Left" and the Congress as the "Centrist." However, there are major differences in their interpretation in the US, UK, and France. To someone as apolitical as me (I never voted except once or twice), it all sounds like a lot of Greek mumbo-jumbo.

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