Right-wing politics

Right-wing politics

In politics, right-wing, the political right, and the Right are positions that uphold traditional values and/or authorities. The term is used in contradiction to the term 'left-wing'. The left/right terminology in politics appeared during the French Revolution, as radicals would sit on the left-hand side in political assemblies and the moderates on the right-hand side, a practice that continues to the present day in the French National Assembly. [The Architecture of Parliaments: Legislative Houses and Political Culture Charles T. GoodsellBritish Journal of Political Science, Vol. 18, No. 3 (Jul., 1988), pp. 287-302]

The term 'right' has been used to identify a wide range of political movements, tendencies and thinkers. Ideologies considered part of the right include: Traditionalism, Conservatism, Neoliberalism, Laissez-faire, Objectivism, Monarchism, Aristocracy and Reactionism.


The term originates from the French Revolution, when liberal deputies from the Third Estate generally sat to the left of the president's chair, a habit which began in the Estates General of 1789. The nobility, members of the Second Estate, generally sat to the right. In the successive legislative assemblies, monarchists who supported the Ancien Régime were commonly referred to as rightists because they sat on the right side. It is still the tradition in the French National Assembly for the representatives to be seated left-to-right (relative to the Assembly president) according to their political alignment.

As this original reference became obsolete, the meaning of the term has changed as appropriate to the spectrum of ideas and stances being compared, and the point of view of the speaker. For example, by the late 19th century, the French political spectrum tended to be perceived as being composed of the far left (Socialists and Radicals), the center-left (Liberal Republicans), the center (Moderate and Conservative Republicans), the center-right (Constitutional Monarchists, Orleanists, and Bonapartists), and the far right (Ultra-Royalists and Legitimists).Fact|date=August 2008 "See political spectrum and left-right politics for further discussion of this kind of classification."

As new social issues arose, right wing views continued to be concerned with keeping "traditional" values (often religious values), which has more recently been expressed, for example, as emphasis on the preservation of individual and corporate rights through constraints on government power. The values and policy concerns of the right vary in different countries and eras. Also, individual right wing politicians and thinkers often have individual priorities. There are no universally accepted objective criteria to determine which of two sets of beliefs or policies is more right-wing. ("See political spectrum")

Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations", one of the earliest attempts to study the rise of industry and commercial development in Europe, was a precursor to the modern academic discipline of economics. In this and other works, Smith is expounded how rational self-interest and competition can lead to economic prosperity and well-being. It also provided one of the best-known intellectual rationales for free trade and capitalism, greatly influencing the writings of later economists. Smith was ranked #30 in Michael H. Hart's list of the most influential figures in history, [harvnb|Hart|1989] and he is known as the father of modern economics. [cite book |author=Pressman, Steven |title=Fifty Major Economists |year=1999 |publisher=Routledge |isbn=0415134811 |page=20]

In nineteenth century Britain, laissez-faire capitalism found a small but strong following by such Manchester Liberals as Richard Cobden and Richard Wright. In 1867, this resulted in a free trade treaty being signed between Britain and France, after which several of these treaties were signed among other European countries. The newspaper "The Economist" was founded, partly in opposition to the Corn Laws, in 1843, and free trade was discussed in such places as "The Cobden Club", founded a year after the death of Richard Cobden, in 1866. [cite journal|author=Scott Gordon|title=The London Economist and the High Tide of Laissez Faire|year=1955|journal=Journal of Political Economy|volume=63|issue=6|pages=461–488|doi=10.1086/257722] [cite web|title=London Clubs in the Late Nineteenth Century|url=http://www.nuff.ox.ac.uk/economics/history/paper28/28taddeiweb1.pdf|author=Antonia Taddei|year=1999]

However, Austrian scholars consider that laissez-faire was never the main doctrine of any nation, and at the end of the eighteen-hundreds, European countries would find themselves taking up economic protectionism and interventionism again.

Objectivism is a philosophy [So identified by sources including::Hicks, Stephen. "Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy" (2006), s.v. " [http://www.iep.utm.edu/r/rand.htm Ayn Rand] " Retrieved June 22, 2006. Smith, Tara. Review of "On Ayn Rand." "The Review of Metaphysics" 54, no. 3 (2001): 654–655. Retrieved from ProQuest Research Library. "Encyclopædia Britannica" (2006), s.v. " [http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9062648 Rand, Ayn.] " Retrieved June 22, 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online.] [One source notes: "Perhaps because she so eschewed academic philosophy, and because her works are rightly considered to be works of literature, Objectivist philosophy is regularly omitted from academic philosophy . Yet throughout literary academia, Ayn Rand is considered a philosopher. Her works merit consideration as works of philosophy in their own right." (Jenny Heyl, 1995, as cited in cite book|title=Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand|editor=Mimi R Gladstein, Chris Matthew Sciabarra(eds)|id=ISBN 0-271-01831-3|publisher=Penn State Press|year=1999, [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0271018313&id=bei61AcYlT0C&pg=PA17&lpg=PA17&sig=FxQ177GbCkq1rn4hiipdSIjjGeE p. 17] )] developed by Ayn Rand in the 20th century. Objectivism holds that reality exists independent from consciousness; that individual persons are in contact with this reality through sensory perception; that human beings can gain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation; that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness through acting in one's "rational self-interest"; that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights, embodied in pure, consensual "laissez-faire" capitalism; and that the role of art in human life is to transform man's widest metaphysical ideas, by selective reproduction of reality, into a physical form—a work of art—that one can comprehend and respond to.

Contemporary usage

Strands of right wing thought come in many forms, and individuals who support some of the objectives of one of the above stands will not necessarily support all of the others. At the practical political policy level there are endless variations in the means that right wing thinkers advocate to achieve their basic aims.

The right leans to decentralized society based on economic freedom and civil liberties; opposing centralized political control over people's lives and the economy. [Bobbio, Norberto, "Left and Right: The Significance of a Political Distinction" (translated by Allan Cameron), 1997, University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226062465] Like left-wing, right-wing movements include both with culturally liberal and conservative movements, making economic policies a more universal difference between the left and the right. The right advocates separation of powers, whereas the left advocates consolidated powers. [Politics of Fear By Frank Füredi]

In recent times, the right is almost universally associated with economic freedom.

The most notable distinction between left and right is in economic policy. The right advances policies such as property rights, free markets, and free trade. The left advocates equal outcome and ideologies such as socialism or communism ranging from radical to moderate.

Economic liberalism is the economic component of classical liberalism. Theories in support of economic liberalism were developed in the Enlightenment, and believed to be first fully formulated by Adam Smith which advocatesminimal interference by government in the economy, though it does not necessarily oppose the state's provision of a few basic public goods. [Eric Aaron, "What's Right?" (Dural, Australia: Rosenberg Publishing, 2003), 75.] These theories began in the eighteenth century with the then-startling claim that if everyone is left to their own economic devices instead of being controlled by the state, then the result would be a harmonious and more equal society of ever-increasing prosperity [Adams, Ian. Political Ideology Today. Manchester U Press 2001. p 20] . This underpinned the move towards a capitalist economic system in the late 18th century, and the subsequent demise of the mercantilist system.

Private property and individual contracts form the basis of liberalism. The early theory was based on the assumption that the economic actions of individuals are largely based on self-interest, (invisible hand) and that allowing them to act without any restrictions will produce the best results, (spontaneous order) provided that at least minimum standards of public information and justice exist, e.g., no-one should be allowed to coerce or steal.

While economic liberalism favors markets unfettered by the government, it maintains that the state has a legitimate role in providing public goods.cite web|title=Adam Smith|publisher=econlib.org|url=http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/bios/Smith.html] For instance, Adam Smith argued that the state has a role in providing roads, canals, schools and bridges that cannot be efficiently implemented by private entities. However, he preferred that these goods should be paid proportionally to their consumption (e.g. putting a toll). In addition, he advocated retaliatory tariffs to bring about free trade, and copyrights and patents to encourage innovation.cite web|title=Adam Smith|publisher=econlib.org|url=http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/bios/Smith.html]

Rafael Di Tella and Robert MacCulloch contend that right-wing governments tend to bring economic freedom and rich countries have consistently more right-leaning governments while poor countries have consistently more left-wing governments. [ [http://www.people.hbs.edu/rditella/papers/WPLegit06.pdf "Why doesn't Capitalism flow to Poor Countries?"] Rafael Di Tella (Harvard Business School) and Robert MacCulloch (Imperial College London)]

The annual surveys "Economic Freedom of the World" and "Index of Economic Freedom" are two indices which attempt to measure the degree of economic freedom in the world's nations, using a definition similar to laissez-faire capitalism.

Some say that a two-dimensional political spectrum would portray their political position more accurately. [ [http://www.la-articles.org.uk/pc.htm The Political Compass - Why Libertarianism is not Right Wing ] ] ("See Nolan chart, Pournelle Chart, Political Compass").

The centre-right Gaullists in post-World War II France advocated considerable social spending on education and infrastructure development, as well as extensive economic regulation and even a limited amount of the wealth redistribution measures more characteristic of social democracy.

As noted above, the political use of the terms "left" and "right" has evolved across linguistic, societal, and national boundaries, sometimes taking on meanings in one time and place that contrast sharply with those in another.

Two prominent political ideologies, very different from one another, are widely considered "right-wing", but in each case, for different reasons, the classification is controversial.

Libertarianism has focused on the preservation of individual and corporate rights through constraints on government power, while not necessarily favoring "traditional" values.

Some on the right reject the rights-based assumptions of this philosophy. Conversely some libertarians do not consider themselves to be right wing and reject the traditional one-dimensional political spectrum, preferring to think in terms of liberty vs. authority rather than socialism vs. capitalism.

Some associate ethno-nationalism, anti-elitist, populist groups with the right.Canovan, Margaret. 1981. "Populism."] [cite book |last= Betz |first=Hans-Georg |title=Radical Right-Wing Populism in Western Europe |publisher=Palgrave Macmillan |date= 1994|isbn=978-0312083908] According to most scholars of fascism, there are both left and right influences on fascism as a social movement, and facism has historically attacked communism, conservatism and parliamentary liberalism. The Italian Facist party was originally founded by prominent socialist figures and attracted support from trade unions and labor movement. Some fascist movements have become more monolithically right-wing, and became intertwined with the radical right. [Roger Griffin, Interregnum or Endgame?: Radical Right Thought in the ‘Post-fascist’ Era, "The Journal of Political Ideologies," vol. 5, no. 2, July 2000, pp. 163-78] [‘Non Angeli, sed Angli: the neo-populist foreign policy of the "New" BNP', in Christina Liang (ed.) Europe for the Europeans: the foreign and security policy of the populist radical right (Ashgate, Hampshire,2007). ISBN 0754648516] fascism opposed communism, conservatism, liberalism. Many scholars accept fascism as a search for a Third Way among these fields. [cite book |last=Bastow|first=Steve |title=Third Way Discourse: European Ideologies in the Twentieth Century|publisher=Edinburgh University Press |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=0J9DpxWxi14C&pg=PA93&dq=%22third+way%22+fascism&sig=ACfU3U21wyLLZwse3dYoyA7aXJoN9cYUsw |isbn=074861561X] cite book |last=Macdonald |first=Hamish |title=Mussolini and Italian Fascism |publisher=Nelson Thornes |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=221W9vKkWrcC&pg=PT16&dq=Gabriele+d%27Annunzio+paris+peace&sig=ACfU3U1BTr2IQkCU7gfZKyLAg2TRbp6a8g |isbn=0748733868] [cite book |last=Woolley |first=Donald Patrick |title=The Third Way: Fascism as a Method of Maintaining Power in Italy and Spain |publisher=University of North Carolina at Greensboro |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=SjOyGwAACAAJ&dq=%22third+way%22+fascism] [cite book |last=Heywood |first=Andrew |title=Key Concepts in Politics |publisher=Palgrave |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=221W9vKkWrcC&pg=PT16&dq=Gabriele+d%27Annunzio+paris+peace&sig=ACfU3U1BTr2IQkCU7gfZKyLAg2TRbp6a8g |isbn=0312233817] [cite book |last=Renton |first=Dave |title=Fascism: Theory and Practice|publisher=Pluto Press |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=Ojtn0IT6LpgC&pg=PA28&dq=%22third+way%22+fascism&lr=&sig=ACfU3U29w491Co0j3H4s72KUCvx_36hSIQ |isbn=0745314708] [cite book |last=Kallis |first=Aristotle A |title=The Fascism Reader |publisher=Routledge |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=tP2wXl5nzboC&pg=PA33&dq=%22third+way%22+fascism+eatwell&lr=&sig=ACfU3U049ZN8MGgXE7O87P1E2rKYDdUGnQ |isbn=0415243599] cite book |last=Griffin |first=Roger |title=The Nature of Fascism |publisher=Palgrave Macmillan |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=fcn5ZtaPc7oC&dq=%22third+way%22+fascism+eatwell&lr= |isbn=0312071329] [cite book |last=Parla |first=Taha |title=The Social and Political Thought of Ziya Gökalp, 1876-1924 |publisher=Brill |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=63weAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA113&dq=%22third+way%22+fascism&lr=&sig=ACfU3U22B0TsrgAkF0dKzH-tGewY7I5n2g |isbn=9004072292] [cite book |last=Durham |first=Martin |title=Women and Fascism |publisher=Routledge |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=yA1Y5znKY1sC&pg=PA4&dq=%22third+way%22+fascism+eatwell&lr=&sig=ACfU3U00G6DB4k2NLWe5EMGpvsNKqyq5tA |isbn=0415122805]

Postitions around the world


Economic policies


Foreign policy postitions

Role of government

ee also

* Liberalism
* Classical liberalism
* Free market
* Free trade
* Globalization
* Libertarianism
* Economic liberalism
* Objectivism
* Far right
* Fascism
* Ideology
* Left-Right politics
* Left-wing politics
* Conservatism
* Nolan chart
* Political compass
* Political spectrum
* Republicanism
* World's Smallest Political Quiz


* Berlet, Chip and Matthew N. Lyons. 2000. Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort. New York: Guilford Press.
* Diamond, Sara. 1995. Roads to Dominion: Right–Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States. New York: Guilford.
* Easton, Nina J. 2000. Gang of Five: Leaders at the Center of the Conservative Crusade. New York: Simon and Schuster.
* Eatwell, Roger. 1996. "Fascism: A History." New York: Allen Lane.
* Fritzsche, Peter. 1990. "Rehearsals for Fascism: Populism and Political Mobilization in Weimar Germany". New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-505780-5
* Griffin, Roger. 2000. "Revolution from the Right: Fascism," chapter in David Parker (ed.) "Revolutions and the Revolutionary Tradition in the West 1560-1991", Routledge, London.
* Griffin, Roger. 1991. "The Nature of Fascism". New York: St. Martin’s Press.
* Himmelstein, Jerome L. 1990. To The Right: The Transformation of American Conservatism. Berkeley: University of California Press.
*Laclau, Ernesto. 1977. "Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory: Capitalism, Fascism, Populism." London: NLB/Atlantic Highlands Humanities Press.
* Laqueur, Walter. 1966. "Fascism: Past, Present, Future," New York: Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
* Payne, Stanley G. 1995. "A History of Fascism, 1914-45". Madison, Wisc.: University of Wisconsin Press ISBN 0-299-14874-2
* Paxon, Robert 2004. "Anatomy of Fascism", Vintage, ISBN-13 978-1400033911
* Reich, Wilhelm. 1970. "The Mass Psychology of Fascism". New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
* Weber, Eugen. [1964] 1982. "Varieties of Fascism: Doctrines of Revolution in the Twentieth Century," New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, (Contains chapters on fascist movements in different countries.)

External links

* [http://www.politicalcompass.org/ The Political Compass] , a two-dimensional political chart
* [http://FreedomKeys.com/nolancharts.htm The Nolan Charts] , other alternative political spectra (mostly libertarian-oriented).
* [http://www.publiceye.org/research/chart_of_sectors.html publiceye.org] - A leftist organization's perspective on the right.
* [http://www.la-articles.org.uk/pc.htm The Political Compass and Why Libertarianism is Not Right Wing] by J. C. Lester
* [http://www.publicgood.org/reports/spectrum/ Putting the Far Right into Perspective] - Public Good Project
* [http://chronicleofbias.com Chronicle of Bias] , a site that attacks media bias towards the left and advances the right's views
* [http://www.rightwingsquadron.com Right Wing Squadron] , Conservative politics, views and opinions

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