The political spectrum refers to the range of political positions or opinions
that exist from the progressive left wing to the conservative right wing.
The term political spectrum is a concept that models political beliefs and
ideologies as a continuum, with left-wing liberalism and right-wing conservatism
anchoring the two poles. A radical extreme of the far-left would be anarchism,
with fascism its counterpart on the far-right and most people falling somewhere
closer to the center on the political spectrum.
The spread of democracy helped spread the left/right continuum, which became
known as the political spectrum. One of its earliest instances in print comes in
an 1857 Southern trade magazine to describe the range of political opinions an
individual might express.
In the late 1800s, political spectrum cropped up in the long-running weekly
magazine The Nation in 1870, showing its spread into the popular press. By the
early 1900s, the term political spectrum, as well as the terms left, right,
and center, had joined the public vernacular to discuss the array of political
positions in government and society.
Origin Of The Terms
These terms where firstly introduced in French revolution in 1789 when the
French general called the Estates General. Estate general is nothing but the
assembly the meeting of all the people of the country. In that meeting there
were people who were pro change who wanted revolution they were the common
people and they sat on the left side. Those people who were pro monarchy they
were rich people and they don’t want any change in the status because they were
doing well that time and the clergy they sat on the right side. This is called
as left and right wing.
Left Wing Ideology
Their policies are as follows:
- Liberals: one who is open-minded or not strict in the observance of
orthodox, traditional, or established forms or ways.
- Socialists: one who want social justice and equality for all.
- Democrats: one who believe in democracy, rule of the people.
- Communist: a system in which goods is owned in common and is available
to all as needed.
- Pro Change: those people who want change.
- Equality in society:
they will always demand that everyone should be
equal in society, ex- the earlier king should be equal to the poorest farmer
both have same rights and the same duty any special treatment should not be
given to the king.
- Separation of religion and state:
the church or any religion which is
dominant in the country it should not interfere with the government and the
government should not ask for the religious authorities to interfere in the
work of the government and the government should be totally separate form
religion. This was also championed after French revolution because in France
the church was very powerful and after the French revolution the power of
the church over the state was gone.
- Central planning: - the central economy should be planed.
- Government intervention in economy:
this concept is given by John
Maynard Keynes he was famous 20th century economist. He said there should
not be completely free economy why because if the market is completely free
then there will be things like the great depression of 1929 as in United
- Welfare state: - the government should work for the betterment of people
for the welfare of the people and not for profit purposes.
- Protectionism-anti-free trade:
Protectionism is the practice of following protectionist trade policies. A
protectionist trade policy allows the government of a country to promote
domestic producers, and thereby boost the domestic production of goods and
services by imposing tariffs or otherwise limiting foreign goods and
services in the marketplace.
- Progressive views in matters like same sex marriage, abortion, and
they have modern views on the above matters.
- Against death penalty:
usually the left wing parties are against death penalty well these thorough
shows that they are going soft on crime.
Examples Of Left Wing Parties
- Indian National Congress – Central Left
- AAP – further left of centre (more than INC)
- Communist parties: CPI, CPI(M) – Far left
- USA – Democratic party (Joe Biden)
- UK - Labour party (Keir Starmer)
Their policies are as follows:
- Conservatives: tending to emphasize the importance of preserving
traditional cultural and religious values, and to oppose change, esp. sudden
- Nationalists: one's own nation and support for its interests,
especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations.
- Republicans: those who favoured the continuance of the republic made every
effort to defeat the monarchists and to have republicans elected in their
Limited role of government in people’s life and economy:right
wings says that there should be limited role of government in people’s life
and economy, government should not regulate the industry they should not
dictate how people should live where their children should study all this is
the decision of people and state should not interfere.
Nationalism:most of the right wing parties in the world have a very
high nationalism policy they believe in nationalism.
Religious conservatism and tradition:they believe in the cultural
traditions of the country they are conservative in religious matter they
want to preserve the culture and traditions of the country that have been
going on since many generation or a long time they want to preserve the
status quo of religion and tradition
Personal freedom of people:they believe in the personal freedom of
people, for example in USA people are completely free to protect themselves
so accordingly they have a right to carry guns, to carry firearms so in USA
the laws to own a gun are very liberal they are not very strict anyone can
go and buy a gun so there is a lot of gun violence in USA now what the right
wing in USA says that people are free to choose they are free to protect
themselves but on the other hand the left wings says that the people should
not be allowed to carry guns why because this is against majority of the
people who are not carrying guns they should not feel scared that someone
will come and shoot us in our school, in our theatre as it happen in the USA
a lot of time. This is always the topic of debate in USA over the guns
rights against left and right and this can be also a debate over the freedom
Equality for all – no special protection to minorities: they also
believe in equality for all but heir there equality is little bit different
left wing will says that everyone is equal but there can be special
protection given to the minorities or other minor linguistic groups but here
the right wing will say that no special protection to any minority everyone
should be treated equal. For example- in India the right wing often says
that Uniform Civil Code (UCC) should
be brought inn that also says that everyone should have equal no special
protection or different laws for anyone in the country everyone should be
treated equally in criminal as well as civil matters.
Support for Religion: it also supports religion because they are
supporting traditional values, conservatism so they say that yes religion is
present it should not be completely separate from the state but it should be
given some support and religion should be supported by the state.
Less regulation of economy – private sectors promoted for growth: right wing parties want less regulation of the economy they want freer hand
to the private sector so that growth and development is faster.
Low taxes: to the growth and development of the economy the government
want low taxes for example - Donald Trump lowered the US corporate tax rate
from over 35% to 15% also in India Arun Jaitley the finance minister had lowered the
corporate tax rate from 30% to 25% in the budget of 2018 and this was for
companies which have annual revenue less than 50 cr. As by this we can see that
the right wing parties are usually for bring down tax rates.
Tough on crime – for death penalty: they want death penalty they says
that death penalty is necessary to prevent crimes and to bring effective law
and order control.
Tough on immigration:they are also against of immigration the best
example for this is Donald Trump he brought his famous travel ban and other
countries like UK are also facing problem with immigration they don’t want
many immigrants coming into UK. But there is an exception like CDU in Germany Democratic Union
of Angela Merkel it is in favour of immigration in Germany
Examples Of Left Wing Parties
- BJP – Right of centre
- Shiv sena/ MNS – Far right
- USA – Republican party (Trump)
- UK – Conservation party (Baris Johnson)
- Germany – CDU (Armin Laschet)
- UK – UKIP – Far right (Froddy Vachha)
- France – National Front – Far right (Marion Anne Perrive)
As the name suggest it is a center approach these parties usually take middle
ground neither left nor right they take the center approach they bring
compromise between left and right wing views and they are generally moderates
their politics id often issue based so far let’s say there are two different
issues there is one issue of abortion and there is another issue of free trade
so it might be possible that on abortion their view are equivalent to left wing
that is they are in favour of abortion that abortion should be legal so in that
manner they are leftist but they might agree for free trade policies they are
against protectionism here they have right wing views but it is still the same
party, this happens lot of time so this shows that these parties are issue based
depending on the issue they can take the stance either left or right best
example of centre party would be Liberal Democratic Party of UK, in India there
is no such central party but same times the policies of Indian National Congress
are like centralist but mostly policies of INC are left-of-centre.
- As we all known that Congress is the centre left party but it was the
one that brought in the LPG reforms in 1991 Liberalization Privatization
Globalization free market and the leaving the protectionist policy anti
protectionist these all are the policies of right wing but they were brought
by the left wing party Congress, by this did we call congress the right wing
this is the dilemma.
- Now we will take about BJP, no doubt that BJP is the right wing party but it
has continued with all the socialist policies that were started by the congress
in the past 40-50 years or even by the last UPA government of Manmohan Singh for
example they have continued Mgnrega and the programs like swachh bharat abhiyan
earlier it was nirmal bharat abhiyan, so by these policies do we call BJP left
wing? No the thing is in India all the political parties to some extent are
socialist. They will have some socialist leanings policies because they will
want welfare. India is officially a welfare state, India is officially a social
state so there will be some socialist policies
- The nature of the left and the right wings have changed with time and
will change with time because it has been more than 230 years since we have
been using these terms. We cannot say that during French Revolution the
right wing was Pro-monarchy so today it will be pro monarchy there is no
monarchy today there is no king so who will right wing party will favor a
king so it means that the right wing definition has changed now it means
something else than what it used to mean 200 years ago.
- The nature of left and right will dependent on the other political
parties ideology, whether your opponent is left or right it will depend on
that the best example of this is USA in USA there are two political parties
on the right we have Republican party the GOP grand old party in the left we
have Democratic party but the economic policies of this Democratic party is
pretty similar to Republican.
- They nature also depends on the present day trends of politics all the
political parties in the world change their policies according to the
current mood of the people for example earlier Barack Obama was completely against same
sex marriages even in one of his interview on television he said that I am
against same sex marriages it should not be legalized and this is despite him
being a democrat he belongs to the left wing party which is favoring the same
sex marriage but when the public opinion turned in favor of same sex marriages
then he again said on TV that now I am in favor of same sex marriage.
Written by Manuj Gautam and Nirbhay Saxena, from Noida International University, Greater Noida. In this blog we are going to discuss on the controversial topic right wing and left wing that how this concept occur the origin of this and the ideology of this with the relation of the political spectrum.