Political wing

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The left wing/right wing dichotomy is perhaps the most significant dimension in ideological space.

This terminology originates with the French Revolution of 1789, when members of the National Assembly who supported the king were seated to his right and those who supported the revolution (in opposition to the monarchy) were seated to his left. "Right" can thus be seen as support of an established hierarchy and opposition to change, while "left" represents prioritizing the needs of the citizens over maintenance of the existing system.


  • /violence: a comparison of violence perpetrated by each wing


Left Right
...values the intent as much or perhaps more than the outcome (If the outcome is good but the intent was bad, then a positive outcome was merely an accident unlikely to be repeated; if the outcome is bad but the intent was good, then further attempts may yield success -- which, once achieved, is likely to be repeated. "If at first you don't succeed...") and prefers to see things in shades of grey: most evil contains some good, and even the best people do bad things sometimes. ...favors all-or-nothing thinking (which might charitably be called "boldness" or "decisiveness"): if you expect to succeed, you must not consider the possibility of failure; if you expect to fail, those who make the attempt are fools worthy of mockery. "Do, or do not; there is no try."
...is more or less horrified by the idea of anyone being compelled to serve anyone else. In this view, society functions because people of good will cooperate with each other to make things better for everyone, and people ordering other people around leads to bad things happening. ...sees relationships in terms of social hierarchy: people who are not either above you (and therefore to be obeyed and respected) or below you (and therefore to be commanded and denigrated, aka "kept in their place") are competition and therefore potential enemies not to be trusted. In this view, society only functions because people are compelled to serve those above them.

see also /violence