The Left and Right Paradigm Is a Lie - We Need to Talk About the Centre
No Binary Solutions Welcome
The idea of left and right in politics is always divisively subjective and relative to your own presupposed position on that spectrum. If you were to say that your natural political position is occupying the centre right, then you could refer to anyone on the right of you as far right and anyone on the political left as on the left of you, irrelevant of whether or not those people are on the centre left or far left. So, if you consider yourself as on the far right, then even the people on the hard right will often be termed as leftist. I saw this while I was investigating the Traditional Britain Group, a right wing conservative pressure group who often referred to centre right politicians as on the left of politics.
The simplistic right/left paradigm has become a cumbersome and confusing tool to wield. This is because the centre is a separate entity which is often mislabelled because of one's individual perspective. The centre ground offers social appeasement, unquestioning compromise, and is the true home of the modern day cultural equity experiment. However, if you were to listen to many of the various political commentators, you could be excused for believing cultural equity is the sole responsibility of the far left, mainly because that is the ideological home of economic equity.
The famous Canadian psychology professor, Jordan B. Peterson, will often use the term “radical left” but when defining the policies of these supposed radical leftists, he tends to refer to policies of the centre, centre right, and the centre left. Conservatives often accuse the left of passing law and public policies which are iconically non-traditional, while not accepting that these changes have been introduced and supported by the politicians who occupy the centre ground.
Recently, the only mention of the left/right paradigm as being unhelpful and outdated has come from a younger generation. So could it be that the previous generations have failed to advance their varying political arguments because they’ve been working within an outdated and oversimplified model? Also, does the left/right ideal allow for any argument to deteriorate to an “us versus them” scenario? And are the right and left both guilty of bundling all their fears into one entity? Political ideology is a lot more nuanced than simply left and right.
There are many people who would consider themselves as without an ideological home, so where do their preferred political policy traits rest on the original political spectrum? Indeed, some people may lean right on immigration but then sway left on the subject of welfare, yet they are still forced to define themselves as one or the other.
Such a simplistic "east vs west" dynamic makes it almost impossible to correctly pigeonhole many of the politically minded. And when newer structures appear, such as the alt-right, people tend to attempt to fit the new group definition within our pre-existing aging linear measure. For instance, one could say that the centre right is followed by the right, which precedes the alt-right, followed by the far right, and end in fascism. But this attempt at creating a simple diagram of a complicated political spectrum can be unfairly alienating to many, and at the same time, extremely naive.
The right vs left, east vs west, and us vs them starting points have convoluted our already dysfunctional two party political systems. Society has a bad habit of automatically simplifying any significantly complicated problem into binary solutions. Our “first past the post” elections become a race between A and B, our referendums have a yes/no ultimatum, and our polarizing politics represents this human urge for choice between good or bad. This obviously causes problems when someone insists on using this pretentious dichotomy which often leads us down insanely self destructive paths.
So, is it not time to bring the centre ground into the firing line when criticising political ideology that it is responsible for? Maybe it is time that the left and right start realising that their true political foes are those who sit on the fence in the centre ground? We are desperate for a new structural definition that can help us locate our individual political starting positions. One of the major issues with our current ideological descriptors is that if a political party move slightly left or right then millions of people can find themselves feeling politically homeless or bereft of significantly diverse choices.
Is the real question; How do we invent a new framework to identify political persuasion in an attempt to forever change the popular political lexicon, to result in more refined ideological definitions, which can avoid negative group mentality taking control? The answer cannot be binary.