What is Left? What is Right?

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You can’t watch a political TV show today without someone being described as on the Left or on the Right. Today, to be on the left means you’re a democrat, or to be on the right means you’re a republican. But the distinctions don’t end there. When someone really wants to make somebody else look bad, they’ll label them as far left or far right. Then there are those who are considered more moderate. They’re said to be in the middle, you know they’re the “nice people” in the political spectrum.

Now how would the founding fathers chime in on this way of measuring government? How would they label a democrat or republican today? Would they use the same standards as we do for their measuring stick?

They differed greatly from us today in this way. They didn’t measure government by political parties at all. Democrat or Republican is irrelevant when it comes to the founding fathers measuring stick. Their measuring stick is party blind. It doesn’t recognize campaign rhetoric or anything like that. This is because they didn’t measure government by political parties, but by the amount of political power being exerted.

Think about the modern measuring stick – Communists are thrown on the left; Fascists are put on the Right. If that’s the case, what’s in the middle? Is a moderate person someone who likes a little Communism and a little fascism; a mixture of both maybe? Looking at it this way we can see that the modern measuring stick is not really a measuring stick at all.

The founding fathers had a better, more accurate way of measuring government. It’s a timeless way too – it never goes out of style. It’s always accurate, and it’s blind to political parties and a person’s intentions, whether good or bad, and it doesn't change with the shifting sands of expediency. Here’s what their measuring stick looks like.

This image represents the simple way the founder’s measured government, and they learned about this by studying history. The founding fathers wanted to structure a government that was under the control of the people. They wanted the government to be strong enough to protect the people but not too strong to oppress them, and they called that the balanced center. Now the political spectrum makes sense when we look at it this way.

Remember, the history of nations went through a repeated cycle, and here’s how it works. The people are oppressed by a leader, they get tired of it and oust the tyrant, violently. Then they’re free from tyranny, but here’s the problem – they don’t know what to do with their freedom. They don’t understand the science of government and correct principles based on self-government, so the people start fighting amongst themselves and then anarchy reigns. Then to restore order, a new tyrant takes over and the people are right back where they were at the beginning. People seldom learn from history.

The founders called this the swinging pendulum. Tyranny to anarchy and back to tyranny again. The founders were watching it unfold right before their eyes during the French revolution. In 1789 the French revolted. They executed the tyrant in a violent revolution and a reign of terror began. It was open anarchy. Then, they appealed to Napoleon to restore order. They even signed a pack to make him and his family rulers forever. They were right back to where they were in the beginning.

This almost happened in America because of the weak government under the Articles of Confederation. America was close to anarchy right after the war for independence. Some wanted to make George Washington, George I, king of America, so he could fix the problems. Of course, Washington, a man of honor and virtue, refused. Here’s what he said regarding the political spectrum.

“… we may find by our own unhappy experience, that there is a natural and necessary progression from the extreme of anarchy to the extreme of tyranny ….”

Thomas Jefferson said this:

“We are now vibrating between too much government and too little government, and the pendulum will rest finally in the middle.”

There in that statement the spectrum was defined perfectly by Jefferson, and he never mentions political parties. The Constitution of the United States was designed to put us right in the middle of that spectrum. Enough power to protect us, but not too much to tyrannize us. So, using the measuring stick of the founding fathers, how would you measure politics today? I think you’ll find that most parties aren’t on different ends of the measuring stick at all.

To learn more about this and many other important concepts of government, get a copy of The 5000 Year Leap. This book explains, in simple terms, many basic principles taught by the Founding Fathers.

9 comments

Jan 11, 2023
Gerard Cote
Labeling is an ineffective way of organizing and managing human energy, and distracts us from the realization that we are desperately lacking spiritually guided moral Leadership.

Leadership Paradigm Shift Necessary.
In order to understand world history, the American revolution, and our Constitutional Republic, one must use the lens of the Leader/Follower paradigm, which is the second most basic cohort distinction after male/female.
Viewing human interactions through this filter, will provide a much clearer understanding of human history.
Every generation since the beginning of time has been sprinkled with a proportionate number of Leaders. If that Leadership is not spiritually grounded, the result is disgruntled Followers, who without adequate moral leadership are the perfect recipe for Anarchy and disaster.
Human energy, once kindled, will seek an outlet, and if not properly channeled through good moral leadership will cause havoc and destruction. Time immemorial gives many examples of this.
Simply put, Followers benefit from Leader’s vision and Leaders benefit from Followers support.
The current Generations of Americans today are lost because of this lack of moral Leadership. A simple solution is to promote a return to a morally guided way of life, grounded in Faith and family.

Jan 11, 2023
Rob

I look at what is happening all over the world today and I think what tremendous fore thought our founders had. Can you just imagine where we would be today without the bill of rights and a constitution that includes the first and second amendment.
The problem today is government has no fear of the people, until that changes, things will be as they are.

Jan 11, 2023
Matthew

The French people did not sign a “pack” with a Napoleon, but perhaps rather a “pact”. I often tell my students beware of the spellchecker and the auto correct.
I have been teaching this version of the political spectrum in my government classes for years, with “ordered liberty by consent of the governed” being at the center of spectrum. The terms left and right, conservative and liberal and progressive are essentially meaningless. Fascists, communists, anarchists and socialists all exercise their own particular brand of tyranny, but tyranny nonetheless.

Jan 11, 2023
Boyd White

This is a distinction worth arguing for. When someone uses Left and Right it is worth saying, “That is not the political spectrum I recognize. I believe in the anarchy/state-of-nature to tyranny spectrum.”

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