Already some very interesting responses here. Some of them are directing questions at me specifically so I will attempt to answer them.
Azrael wrote:Which debate do you want; whether people are good or bad, or what motivates left vs. right politics?
Either one is fine, all the responses so far have been about the latter, and I have no problem with that. Hopefully the two debates aren't so separate that they can't be contained in the same thread. With regards to a proof of my hypothesis, I never offer any such thing (unless my hypothesis is of a scientific nature), and I don't intend to start now. I offer a view, your choice is to accept it or reject it. It appears you have chosen to reject it and your arguments are compelling.
If you think the spoiler was a mistake I would be happy to edit it (or feel free to do so yourself).
With regards to Azrael's comments about conservative vs liberal, and also the questions raised by Vaniver and mmmcannibalism, there is a terrible trend of morphing the meanings of words in modern politics, usually to suit ones own agenda. I am guilty of this here to a degree as the correct meaning of the words left and right in this context is usually defined as liberal and conservative. I should have made this clear but I meant something slightly different and more complicated. The reason is that during the formation of modern democracy and political thought monarchy was something of an established norm.The right wing or conservative thinkers, as pointed out above, favoured the old ways and slow change. Current politics now have a slightly different history, and therefore the meaning of conservative has changed. For example with regards to modern USA (and many other countries), I could be called a conservative, in that I think many of the changes over the last 50 to 100 years were a very bad idea, and that the government should seriously consider reversing many of them. However I could hardly be described as right wing according to the current usage of the word. In fact the republican party in the US which is usually referred to as right wing seems quite radical to me. So we have a conflict in the meanings of the words. I was referring to right wing not as meaning conservative now, but as meaning what conservatives believed back when these words were first used to describe political ideology.
There is also a conflict between what the various political parties profess to believe, and their actions.
icanus wrote:right wing policies could just as easily be seen as working on the assumption that people are innately good: We don't need to legislate protections for minorities because people will deal with that for themselves. We don't need a social safety net because charity will take care of anyone who falls through the cracks. We don't need to regulate business because entrepreneurs will act morally. Criminals deserve harsh penalties because they are bad and as such different from real people and probably beyond redemption.
Although many people on the right claim that the ideology is about reducing legislation, in many cases the opposite is true, the current debate in the US about minorities is about legislating where they can build mosques for example, or making stricter rules about crossing borders and more comprehensive policing of these rules. Not regulating business is a misnomer often used for creating more regulations about what businesses can do, for example special legal protections for companies like the firearms industry and the oil industry, preventing them from liability in the case of harm. The existing rules that apply to everyone are added to with special exceptions for certain circumstances. Calling this 'deregulation' seems wildly dishonest. It also seems to be dishonest to claim to be reducing the power of the government over people's live while increasing the power of corporations over people's lives. The fact is that people want reduced interference from any large powerful organisation, this is not something that is only a problem when the government do it. The modern left wing is just as guilty of this dishonesty, mainly in that they have given up most of their ideological differences from the right, and are now simply more of the same. The words liberty and liberal are also changed beyond recognition, and libertarian is even worse. The original meaning of liberal was the movement of politics away from central power and towards collective power, and at the time after throwing off monarchy this was a fairly straightforward and understandable definition. But now that the context is gone the words have come to mean personal rather than social liberty, which is an entirely different idea. The majority of personal liberties infringe upon other people's personal liberties, and so the words have lost any coherent meaning, and have come to mean "what I want". Against a backdrop of slavery and monarchy the words suddenly become clear again.
So where does this all leave us? Well, confused for a start. I have already taken up far too much space here to get into the details of modern left and right wing politics, as I pointed out in my spoiler I think the whole issue is pointless anyway. I believe we would be better off having a multi dimensional spectrum of politics, perhaps only 3 dimensional so as not to over complicate things. No doubt someone has attempted such a classification and it never caught on.
I will try and wind up by defending my hypothesis, although it should not be assumed that I do so because I believe it. On the contrary I have made it my life's goal to systematically doubt everything in the universe, and that in no way excludes my own ideas. I defend it because I wish for it to have a fair chance before everyone, including me, discards it.
I was referring to concepts of left and right wing that are now outdated, think of the independence war in the US, or if you are sick of hearing about US politics the French revolution, or the independence of any colonial nation. I was thinking along the lines of government by the few, versus government by the many. I think this is as fair a definition of the terms as any of the hundreds one could choose and I apologise for not defining my terms from the outset. I think my hypothesis stands on this, as the few generally believe that the many are unfit to govern. If the government is by the many however, the reasoning is that the many are indeed fit to rule, and may reach an intelligent and fair consensus. These ideas are also not that outdated. The circumstances have changed somewhat, but an aristocracy of the rich through a free market is qualitatively not that different from an aristocracy of the rich through bloodlines. The idea of left making extra laws was simply to replace the whim of kings and aristocrats. The idea that the laws are more controlling and intrusive in peoples lives, and more destructive to their freedoms than the edicts of unaccountable ruling elites is absurd, except in those rare cases where the ruling elites were unobtrusive and respectful of the people's liberty. Equally absurd is the idea that any reduction in rules results in a corresponding reduction in the exercise of power.
I think that the comments posted by others have severely weakened my hypothesis, and although it is not entirely destroyed, it does seem that I have grossly oversimplified things. This is partly a result of the format of the discussion however. I think that if I were to write many thousands of words rather than the amount I did write, I would be criticised rather than praised for the extra complexity. If I were to write a book on the subject an internet forum is hardly the place to do so.
***This post is my own opinion and no claim is being made that it is in any way scientific nor intended to be construed as such by any reader***