Monday, February 15, 2021


For several years now I’ve been doing a small, local TV show called “Left & Right” on Conway, New Hampshire’s “Valley Vision.” It evolved from of a previous show called “Taking Sides,” hosted by New Hampshire investment counselor Anthony Cloutier. I was a frequent guest there beginning about eleven years ago and was expected to argue for the conservative side because of views expressed in my newspaper column. Cloutier eventually lost interest however, and I sort of took over, inviting people to argue opposing viewpoints on issues of the day — and the show was renamed.

Sometimes, however, my invited guests are not completely comfortable being called leftists. While a few were, others consider themselves moderate, center-left, or libertarian even though I considered them liberal or leftist based on their writings. Consider also that President Joe Biden emerged from a large pool of leftist Democrat candidates as a moderate, although many pundits are questioning that characterization based on his recent executive orders. So, what exactly does it mean to be on the left in today’s parlance? And what characterizes someone on the right?

One’s position on abortion is probably the over-arching criterion. Leftists today are overwhelmingly pro-abortion while those on the right are usually against it. All the Democrats who ran for president in the past several election cycles were pro-abortion while only a few Republicans were. The second-biggest issue would have to be the role of government. Right-wing conservatives consider government a necessary evil and would agree with a statement by  Henry David Thoreau and John O’Sullivan: “That government is best which governs least.”

The left attempts to solve problems by instituting government programs. The right leaves it to private individuals acting alone or in concert. The left would see more power exercised by the central government in Washington, DC. The right would uphold Constitutional limits on federal government power and, when possible, devolve to states or to the people as the 10th Amendment states. The left believes in universal healthcare funded by the federal government. The right opposes that and believes competition between private health insurance companies would lower costs.

The left pushes income equality. It would raise taxes on the rich and spend on social programs. However, despite trillions spent on social programs beginning with President Johnson’s “War on Poverty” over more than half a century, poverty seems to be winning. The right would reduce taxes, reduce government regulation of business, and balance the federal budget. However, Republican Presidents Reagan, the two Bushes, and Trump preached such principles and were considered “right,” but the size of government and the federal debt both expanded under their administrations.

Regarding education, the left would make public colleges and universities free and abolish existing student loan debt. It’s already changing K-12 public school curricula in Illinois, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and other states to accentuate “social justice” even in English, math and science. Literature by white men is being abolished. LGBT issues are broadly emphasized as well as a “non-binary gender spectrum” with more than two sexes. This week, Illinois is expected to rule outright that teachers must: “embrace and encourage progressive viewpoints and perspectives.” 

In history curricula, white men like Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, and others are de-emphasized or ignored altogether and replaced by “people of color.” The right champions achievements of western civilization in science, math, and literature. It would teach those along with governing principles based on individual liberty and proposed by Founding Fathers like Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Hamilton. It stresses civics lessons portraying the US Constitution as the best plan for government ever designed in human history.

Although I saw some of this coming when I was still teaching US History ten years ago, I never would have believed how far and how fast the left has been able to push its agenda in our schools.

Regarding immigration, the left would virtually ignore illegal immigration, end deportations, and stop building a border wall. The right generally opposes illegal immigration and especially welfare for illegal immigrants, although some factions of the Republican Party do not. Aside from them, the right supports a border wall, deportations of illegals, and strictly limiting immigrants from terror-supporting countries like Iran and Syria.

The left favors strict gun control. It would confiscate “assault rifles” without defining exactly what those are. It would limit ammunition sales, the size of gun clips, it would more strictly control concealed carry permits, and institute stringent background checks. The right stresses a literal interpretation of the second clause of the Second Amendment: “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

On future shows, I’ll ask my guests if they agree with the above outline of what comprises the left and the right in 2021 America.


cowboy ted said...

Yes, I do agree with your analysis of "Left" & "Right." In my opinion, the time is ripe to reinstitute the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which basically states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. I'd like to see state ag's begin to collectively file lawsuits against the federal government for overreach. The only downside is that this might be about 50-60 years too late.

barryzell said...

Another bullseye Tom in telling it like it is. Will share your link with friends and groups. Great work as usual.

Barry Zell

Kafir said...

You left out one comparison. For the most part the secular Left has a problem with Christianity, Judaism and religion in general, but gives a pass to Islam. They know next to nothing about it, but have accepted an alliance with them primarily because of the anti-Western totalitarian nature of both ideologies. Much has been written about this “Red-Green Axis” so there is no need to repeat it here.

On the other hand, the Right is becoming more knowledgeable about Islam probably because it is a threat to Christianity. However, they are still weak-kneed when it comes to publicly discrediting it especially as it infiltrates our public schools. Islam is not only a religion, but it’s an all encompassing political system. It is dualistic i.e., rules for them and rules for us (Sharia law). We don’t need to concern ourselves with its religious aspects, but since 51% of the doctrine (Koran, Sira and Hadith) deals with how Muslims are to treat Kafirs (infidels), it is imperative for our Ruling Class to study it (and I don’t mean the white-washed version, but the actual texts).

Islam actually means submission and not necessarily submission just to Allah, but all must submit to Allah and Muhammad. Sounds an awful lot like the modern day Democratic Party, doesn’t it?

Peter said...

I have been registered as Independent for most my life, but I think you would classify me more as a leftist. Here are my views on your subjects.

Abortion: Neither I, nor anybody I know, are “pro-abortion”. It is a ghastly thing. But if certain criteria are considered, namely the health of the mother, I would consider myself “pro-choice”.

Big Government: There’s a long history of the GOP embracing activist government when in power and then turning against it ferociously when a Democrat is in the White House. Recently Republicans like Rubio and Hawley have been hawking big government programs. Rubio, with the massive Paycheck Protection Program, which has the government shoveling hundreds of billions of dollars out the door every month, and Hawley, who wants something even more expansive: a program that would pay businesses to keep their workers on the payrolls. And the facts speak for themselves, federal expansions and spending have happened just as quickly, if not more so, under Republican leadership.

Income inequality: I agree that poverty is winning. I think it has something to do with the fact that in the 1950s and 1960s, when the economy was booming, the wealthiest Americans paid a top income tax rate of 91%. Today, the top rate is 43.4%.

Education: I wonder why it is in the best interest of the country to provide free education, but have a random cut-off at year 12. Having such a large portion of our young population with a crippling debt does not seem beneficial to anyone. And I am for history being taught truthfully from all perspectives.

Immigration: We are a country of immigrants. It is what has made us a great and powerful country. When an illegal is caught, throw them out. How can you say that the left wants to end deportation when Obama was deporting them in record numbers?

Gun control: I do think we need to draw the line somewhere with military style weapons. Should people be able to have bazookas? Cannons? And of course we need background checks, that seems to be common sense.

I find it a shame that political differences can so often result in hate and violence instead of a coming together in discussion.