The Irrepressible Left

The Irrepressible Left

Some advanced thinkers would like to deprive us of the distinction between left and right, but a world that is getting more unequal and insecure, more divided and dangerous, belies such talk. There have always been issues and policies that are not securely anchored to one end of the political spectrum. Welfare regimes have been nurtured by the conservative right as well as by communists, by liberals as well as by nationalists, by fascists as well as by social democrats. Politics is about negotiating alliances and striving for the upper hand; concessions of one sort or another have always been indispensable to brokering coalitions and establishing legitimacy. Nevertheless, through all the fog of claim and counterclaim, those who strive for larger and more-inclusive rights, for greater equality, for more-adequate public provision, and for democratic governance of the economy, in doing so define themselves as the left. The right, by contrast, is willing to tolerate or encourage inequality and exclusion on the grounds that they promote market efficiency or correspond to some natural hierarchy or are required by respect for established property rights.

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Lima