RU Right or Left?

Political Ideology Definitions

Questions often arise as to what is a liberal? What is a conservative? What does it mean to support the Left? Or the Right? What does a certain political party stand for? Although positions change over time and it's never good to make generalizations about what a certain group thinks, this section tries to clarifies some of the basic ideological definitions. Politicians have a wide range of opinions; thus, any particular leader doesn't necessary fit neatly into these categories.

The original definition of a liberal was someone who advocated change, new philosophies, and new ideas. A conservative was someone who avoided change, instead preferring to stick to the tried and true. In modern times, these definitions have expanded to include a wide set of political beliefs (which are defined below). To be Leftist or agree with the Left political point of view is synonymous with being liberal. To be Rightist or agree with the Right political point of view is synonymous with being conservative. The Left and Right terms were created because political ideology is viewed on a continuum; most people generally hold views somewhere in the middle. For example, if you agree more with liberal ideas, you're considered more Leftist in your thinking. The graphic below illustrates the continuum:

Liberal (Left) <------------------- Moderate (Middle) -------------------> Conservative (Right)

Generally speaking, the Democratic party follows a more liberal platform; the Republican party follows a more conservative platform. The following table summarizes the current ideology of the parties (the links section gives more detail on what each party stands for).

  Liberal (i.e. Left) Conservative (i.e. Right)
Representative Party Democrats Republicans
Business Increase regulation and worker protection Ease regulation and keep government out of business
Taxes Increase taxes  Cut taxes
Abortion Pro-choice Pro-life
Social Spending Increase Decrease or maintain
Defense Spending Decrease or maintain  Increase
Immigration Grant amnesty to illegal aliens; don't build a fence along the Mexican border; allow illegal aliens to obtain driver's licenses; prevent the creation of a national ID card & database to track people in the country.  Prevent amnesty for illegal & driver's licenses for illegal aliens; construct a Mexican border fence; create a national ID card & database to track people in the country.
Death Penalty Ban Maintain
Government Size Increase the government and use more socialistic policies Reduce the government and use more capitalistic policies
World Peace Negotiate first and only take military action if sanctioned by the U.N. and other world organizations Work with world bodies and use negotiation, but take unilateral pre-emptive action if necessary to protect America
Same-Sex Marriage Legalize Ban
Affirmative Action For (i.e. maintain race-based preferences) Against (i.e. ban race-based preferences)
ANWR Drilling Prevent the Alaska drilling Pursue this and other domestic oil sources
Kyoto Treaty Sign this treaty Don't sign this treaty
Crime Protect the rights of the accused first and foremost Provide maximum punishment and protect the rights of the victim first and foremost
School Vouchers End the program Expand the program
Doctor Assisted Suicide Allow Prevent
Missile Defense Scrap this program Pursue this program
Three Strikes Law Overturn this law Maintain and expand these laws
Minimum Wage Increase Lower or eliminate altogether
Social Security Increase age of beginning eligibility (e.g. 68 or 70); increase salary limits subject to tax Privatize; i.e. allow citizens control over their own money and allow stock investments
Health Care Make 100 percent government controlled De-regulate and introduce free market reform
Personal Responsibility Government needs to protect people from themselves People should be responsible and be held accountable for their own actions
Malpractice Lawsuits Do not cap punitive & pain/suffering damage amounts Cap punitive & pain/suffering damage amounts
Religion Maintain separation of church and state; prevent faith-based government initiatives Introduce more religion in schools; allow faith-based government initiatives
Saturday, January 2, 2010 9:19:09 AM, From: jim, To: Stories