The Political Left Believes:
-That the state knows better than its citizens what is in their best interests;
-In the primacy of the collective over the individual;
-That individual human lives can, and if necessary, must, be sacrificed for the “greater good” as defined by the state;
-That equality is more important than freedom (and that in the prologue to the perfect state, some individuals will be more equal than others);
-That political freedom is a myth, that law is useful only in so far as it advances the interests of the state, that private property is theft, and that public ownership of the means of production is the only way to ensure economic prosperity and equality for all;
-That the only freedom worthy of pursuit (by the state) is the freedom from physical wants for every citizen;
-That in the pursuit of economic progress (as defined by the state), the state is justified in using any measure to attain its goals (whatever its impact on individual welfare or individual lives);
-That the state should actively intervene in all spheres of life in pursuit of state-determined social and economic goals;
-That all economic and political activity should be controlled by the state;
-That social and environmental factors are the prime determinants of individual behavior;
-That truth and morality never were and can never be absolute, except in so far and for so long as they serve the interests of the state; otherwise, they are infinitely malleable;
-That the state is better suited to allocating scarce resources than the free market, including making decisions as to aggregate production and consumption and the setting of prices and wages;
-That the state has the first claim to its citizens’ income and wealth (i.e. what’s yours is theirs);
-That money (in private hands) is the root of all evil;
-That radical, revolutionary and, if necessary, brutally violent change is often the only way to transition from one political, social and/or economic system to another.
The Political Right Believes:
-That individuals can be trusted to act in their own best interests;
-That the individual is, and individual rights are, the cornerstone of civilized society;
-That every human life has value and merits equal protection under the law;
-That the measure of a civilized society is the degree of freedom accorded every individual within it;
-That political and economic freedom are predicated on the rule of law and the right to private property;
-That individual freedoms must include freedom of speech and expression (including freedom of the press), religion, assembly and mobility;
-That the surest path to economic progress is freedom of opportunity and the right of individuals to capture the rewards flowing from the risks they have taken;
-That pro-active discrimination by the state is rarely, if ever, justified in the interests of social and economic justice, however defined;
-That the best government is that which governs least;
-That individuals are accountable for their own actions;
-That truth has an objective basis and that moral principles are absolute;
-That, in most circumstances, the free market is the best mechanism for allocating scarce resources;
-That your income and wealth belong to you and that you are the best judge of how they should be invested or spent (i.e. what’s yours is yours);
-That profit is the just reward for economically and socially beneficial behavior;
-That social, political and economic change is best undertaken incrementally.
This left-right matrix was provided by a great friend of the program, VOLYA, which means Will and Liberty in both Russian and Ukrainian.
THE CLASSIC VERSION:
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he’s a fool, and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The shivering grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.
THE CANADIAN VERSION:
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the
winter. The grasshopper thinks he’s a fool, and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. So far, so good, eh?
The shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others less fortunate, like him, are cold and starving.
The CBC shows up to provide live coverage of the shivering grasshopper, with cuts to a video of the ant in his comfortable warm home with a table laden with food. Canadians are stunned that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so while others have plenty.
The NDP, the CAW and the Coalition Against Poverty demonstrate in front of the ant’s house. The CBC,
interrupting an Inuit cultural festival special from Nunavut with breaking news, broadcasts them singing “We Shall Overcome.”
Jack Layton rants in an interview with Mike Duffy that the ant has gotten rich off the backs of grasshoppers, and calls for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his “fair share”.
In response to polls, the Liberal Government drafts the Economic Equity and GrasshopperAnti-Discrimination Act, retroactive to the beginning of the summer.
The ant’s taxes are reassessed, and he is also fined for failing to hire grasshoppers as helpers.
Without enough money to pay both the fine and his newly imposed retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government. The ant moves to the US and starts a successful agribiz company.
The CBC later shows the now fat grasshopper finishing up the last of the ant’s food, though spring is still months away, while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant’s old house, crumbles around him because he hasn’t bothered to maintain it.
Inadequate government funding is blamed, Bob Rae is appointed to head a commission of enquiry that will cost $10,000,000.
The grasshopper is soon dead of a drug overdose, the Toronto Star blames it on the obvious failure of government to address the root causes of despair arising from social inequity.
The abandoned house is taken over by a gang of immigrant spiders, praised by the government for enriching Canada’s multicultural diversity, who promptly set up a marijuana grow op and terrorrize the community.
This invented compare and contrast parable of the ant and grasshopper is the best way of discussing the political right and left.
I am a big fan of Charles Adler, and as such I felt compelled to post the matrx and the story of the Ant and Grasshopper – Thank you Charles!