Political – Left to Right

Since our earliest Social Studies classes in Junior High School the teachers talked about the “political left and the political right”. However, to my recollection the only explanation I ever got for the terminology was that the British Parliament had the Liberals seated on the left side of the chamber and the Conservatives seated on the right. Nobody cared to go into more detail than that.

But there is a real continuum of the all the forms of government (or lack of government) that is clearly laid out from left to right. Interestingly, in our culture we seem to always refer to the continuum as “left to right”; likely because we read from left to right. Step back ten thousand years, after the end of the last Ice Age, our human fore bearers lived as hunter-gatherers in small tribes and clans. By most all accounts from anthropologists, humans lived in a state of chaos with tribe against tribe against Nature. Point of fact, the word “race” derives from “tribe” – so if you fear, distrust or hate people in another tribe – you are a “racist” or a common sense tribesman.

So we now know that our ancestors lived in a state of chaotic racism; they were definitely rightists. So, in a strange way, leftist intellectuals are correct about far rightist; they are racist.

As cities arose (civilization means: “dwellers in cities”) the rulers of the cities brought order out of the previous chaos. The written legal codes authored by Hammurabi and Draco brought “law” to the ancient humans. We moved leftward from total chaos. Note that most of the crimes in the “Draconian Code” were punished by death; hence its dire reputation.

Now if you were a leftist reading this essay you would think: “well, society is a constant movement to the left where all goodness and justice prevails.” You would be dead wrong of course. In fact, humanity lurched back and forth between chaos, warlordism and monarchy for thousands of years. Left to right, right to left.

There were brief respites from the dominant far left totalitarian monarchies; the Greek republics and the nearly 700-year Roman Republic. They moved a portion of humanity rightward toward more freedom and less control. That is, until Julius Caesar and his family pushed Rome toward the totalitarian left. The written laws were pushed aside; the will of the emperor was everything. As the Roman Empire declined and fell, chaos returned to Europe. The pendulum swung to the right again.

The “Dark Ages” were truly just that. Science, technology, education all faded away as most Europeans never ventured more than 20 miles from the place of their birth. The whim and word of the warlords was law. They controlled all aspects of the lives of their serfs or the occupants of the nearby villages (referred to as “villains”). So complete was their control (totally left here) over the lives of their underlings that they frequently enforced their right of “prima nocturne”. This was the lord’s right to have sex with a vassal’s wife on her wedding night. An excellent example of “complete control”.

Therefore, we could say that this era attempted totalitarian regimes on the micro level in the small counties, duchies and so on, while the wider world still wallowed in chaos. Right and left existed at the same time. A baron, who in his home realm wielded the power of life and death over his subjects; was just another victim when Mediterranean pirates attacked his ship.

The era of the Renaissance started to pull Europe out of the darkness and was followed close on by the Enlightenment. You could say it was the advent of more civilized regimes with a leavening of freedom. It was actually a great start toward a balance between left and right. Out of the Enlightenment philosophers and writers came America’s Founding Fathers. These men did not want to be ruled over by a king, nor did they want chaos and mob rule. Slowly and painfully through a long war they came up with a middle path.

The Founders looked back to Rome and Athens to create a system of government that had both the rule of law and a large measure of individual freedom. In doing so they launched the first political revolution the world had ever seen. The word “revolution” was a new political term in 1775; referring heretofore as a wheel turning around an axel or planets circling the sun. In the previous (17th ) century American colonies were regarded by the mother country as a net drain on their resources – the nascent Americans were left to their own devices to provide the government services of defense and infrastructure. So the colonists simply created their own governments: legislatures, governors, militias and judges with little or no assistance from England for more than a century.

So these Americans on a rude frontier ruled themselves for four or five generations. Come 1775, the citizens of the thirteen colonies had known no other system. More importantly, by the sweat and enterprise of those foregoing generations, the vast majority of the colonists were among the richest people on the earth. Now, England was more interested in “helping” the colonist with their government, their defenses and (especially) their tax collections. Understandably, most of the prosperous colonists wanted none of it. They wanted the situation of 1775 to “revolve” back to a better time and called for “revolution”.

In this endeavor they succeeded after eight long years. But through the war years and afterward the Founders wanted an end, on this continent, of the “divine right of kings”. To accomplish this, they discovered the “divine right of the people”. Specifically: “We hold these truths to be self-evident…endowed by their Creator…” The Framers struck a balance as had no one else, between law and freedom and built a republic in the middle of the continuum. They wrote a Constitution that was the marvel of the world and much copied in the centuries that followed. Nowhere in it was mentioned the creation of political parties, but they appeared anyway in the succeeding years.

These parties started America back on the road to the “right – left” pendulum. To provide a frame of reference, all of the major ideologies and American parties are displayed in the graphic below.



Complete Control: governing entity tells you what to believe, who to marry, if you can marry, what you can eat or drink, what you may wear, what you can say, if you can have sex, when your genitals get mutilated and how you will be tortured and/or executed for objecting to any of the above.

Complete Freedom: governing entities are helpless or non-existent. You are free to do whatever you have the power to do; for yourself or to others. Man made laws cease to exist. “Might makes Right”! You are free to kill, rape, maim, etc. Or have the same done to you. And there is no gun control (other than accurately hitting your target).

When I laid out the above continuum for myself for the first time I was stunned. When you analyze each ideology or party by their control over each individual it rolls out in a fairly smooth continuum as shown above. Nazis are indeed on the right, of Marxists and Jihadists. But they are to the left of Democrats and Republicans. Republicans are to the right of Democrats by maybe 9 millimeters. Democrats are to the right of Nazis by maybe 6 millimeters. Note that the Tea Party is equidistant from the Republicans and the anarchists.

This brings us to the anarchists. Why is it that they think they are brethren to the leftists? Well, because psychologically they are the same. They are “true believers” as defined by the brilliant philosopher Eric Hoffer back in 1950. They are filled with self-loathing and deservedly so. They know they are worthless, both the leftists and the anarchists. When you are filled with self-hatred it follows easily to hate others. I personally believe that 90% of the people in America who call themselves “anarchists” are phonies or “wanna-bees”. They are too weak, incompetent and inept to survive in the near total freedom that real anarchy means.

Back to the middle path of the Founders. The classically educated men who wrote our founding documents knew very well the tyranny of the European kings and the totalitarianism of the Turkish Sultans. Remember that young America’s first foreign war (under Jefferson) was with muslims of the Ottoman Empire. They also saw the chaotic savagery of the American frontier.

A republic seemed to be the best way to chart a middle path that would bring peace, prosperity and happiness to the vast majority of the people in the nascent America. Even a cursory read of the Federalist Papers would show one that the Founders saw “democracy” as mob rule and chaos. They specifically sought a representative republic where only landowners (and Revolutionary War veterans) were citizens. (Everyone else was a resident or foreigner.) Because these citizens had a stake in the well-being of their towns, states and country, they could be expected to choose the best representatives to fill the legislatures, governor’s offices and the White House. This system worked stunningly well for 38 years. The new American Nation exploded in prosperity and growth. That is, until the advent of the democrat party in 1828.

Andrew “Jackass” (not then the pejorative that it is now) Jackson’s support base was thousands of impoverished frontiersman who owned no land; therefore, they could not vote for him. Simple solution, ignore the Constitution. Go legislature by legislature on the frontier states, then the coastal states with the “one white man, one vote” campaign. Why that precise phraseology? Well, the Founders, in their wisdom, made “landowners” citizens. In English, “landowners” has no gender or race. But gender and race was important to Jackass. As the largest slave wholesaler in the South, he could not conceive of black people as citizens. And women; well it was the Nineteenth Century South. By changing each states voting laws, Jackson was able to steal the 1828 election and begin the era of “Jacksonian Democracy” (AKA: mob rule).

Jackson was the first President to receive an assassination attempt (actually several). Fortunately for Jackass, he was a more skillful killer than they were. This was the first (unfortunately successful) attempt to ”fundamentally change” America. The evidence is occasionally found sprinkled in public school history books, as in: “President Jackson introduced the ‘Spoils System’ to American politics.” [i.e.: “To the victor go the spoils!”] Even at eleven years of age, reading that line in my sixth grade history book, I thought it sounded crooked and immoral. Indeed, it is. America started down the leftwing (totalitarian) path with Jackson. The female landowners could no longer vote, the non-white landowners could no longer vote. Being a landowner meant nothing politically once the democrats took charge.

As might be hoped for, a party was formed to counter the democrat party, the Whigs. They took their name from the British party that was against the tyranny of the British crown. Obviously, they saw the democrats as the same tyranny the British provided. As the years passed, the Whigs could not stand up to the democrats and their dedication to slavery. So they were supplanted by the Republicans who could, at least, define what they were against: legalized slavery. Such a position guaranteed conflict with the democrats; but nobody knew what a horrible conflict it would be.

Some called it the “Civil War”, others called it the “War Between the States”. Maybe it was actually a “Stealth War Between the Parties” disguised as one of the above. There is a good deal of evidence for this view. The “Solid South” was then massively democrat in registration – now that any white man could vote. The Republican strength was in the rural villages and towns of the Middle Atlantic, New England and Western states and was fairly unified internally. The democrats had a schism of sorts in their party, but a helpful one. The democrat population was divided between the rural South and the big coastal cities. The “helpfulness” was in evidence in the big city democrats in the North being extraordinarily helpful to the Confederacy. New York City was awash in Confederate sympathizers, from the draft riots to the New York Times publishing Union troop movements, that town was a veritable fifth column. Then there was General McClelland, a democrat, who was said to be the most brilliant general the North had. He would badger President Lincoln for more supplies, more soldiers, more money to build an effective Army. When he had it all ready, he forgot to attack the Confederates over and over. {Uncharitable Union officers thought he might be a traitor.} Since he wasn’t court martialed, after the war he ran for President on the democrat ticket, but lost – thankfully – and General U.S. Grant (the Republican) became President.

Now one cannot lay all of the problems of the Republic at the feet of the democrat party, but maybe most of them. Is there a solution? There may well be now; there is a businessman, frustrated by the ineptitude and corruption of the “dummycrats” and the fecklessness of the old line Republicans, he is backed by over a hundred million pissed off Americans. Let us see what happens.

James M. McDonough




4 Responses to “Political – Left to Right”

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military dot image Rob    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0


Great read! I liked your segway through the eras while maintaining relevance to our modern day plight.


military dot image larryf    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Agree Rob! Great job Jim!

military dot image Robert Pelles    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Nice piece and good history lesson that should be studied by the Washington Elites. Might finally get them to think.

military dot image Mike S    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

What a great read! A wonderful summary of a part of American history. And, it hasn’t been edited by our transparent government yet. What’s that saying about those who don’t know/respect history?

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