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What is Political Spectrum and Why it's Crucial for Good Governance

Mukta Gaikwad May 10, 2019
A political spectrum classifies the political ideologies on the basis of their beliefs and origins. The spectrum shows the distinction of political ideas and their different routes to the same destinations.
A spectrum means a scope, formed to grade the subtle variations of subjects, differing within a continuum. Thus a political spectrum means a model wherein the varied political systems are placed on an axis on the basis on their ideologies. A political spectrum shows the divisions between the political dimensions and how they evolved.
The fundamental ideas on this spectrum are the 'left wing' and the 'right wing'. As the world developed and its leaders emerged, different ideologies were formed. This development led to the 'left-right', 'libertarian' and 'authoritarian' political styles.
The dividing factor of left and right wing politics came about as the French supported the republics and the monarchies, respectively. These are the cornerstones of the political spectrum. The other political values that we see, are offshoots of these thoughts.

The Left Wing

The Left Wing politics is also addressed as political left, leftist or the Left. The Left Wing politics was a term coined during the French Revolution as the deputies of Third Estate sat to the left of the President's chair. On the political spectrum the Left ranges from center-left and far left.
The term center-left remains closer to the political mainstream, while the far left is more radical in nature. The center left are the social democrats, progressives, democratic socialists and green or eco-socialists.
The center left policies are based on market allocation of resources and believe in less government intervention. Individualism is also favored by the thought to deal with moral ideas.
The far left of this political wing is referred many times as the radical left. The ideologies such as communism, Maoism, Autonomism and Collectivist anarchism. Contrary to center-lefts, these groups believe in common ownership, egalitarianism and eco-terrorism.
Identity politics is an interesting facet of far left wing. Often these left-extremists take to arms to bring about a change in the established political process.
The economic beliefs of leftists differ from one group to the other. Some believe in Keynesian macroeconomic theory, some in industrial democracy, rest in social market and a few in nationalization and central planning. There are a few parties which advocate Marxism too.

The Right Wing

Referred to as right wing, political right, rightist and the Right, this theory of politics is founded to safeguard the traditional and cultural values. However, Rightists always maintain the social hierarchy. The origin of this term stems from the French Revolution as the 'right wing' was referred to those who sat in the right of the President's chair.
The rightists supported 'monarchy', 'aristocracy' and 'established church'. Later the term was used to describe those political groups that share a connection with historical aristocrats, conservatives, reactionaries, monarchists, and nationalists. Today the political ideas that support free markets and capitalism are categorized as the Right Wing.
Similar to the Left Wing, the Right Wing ranges from far right and the center-right. In the olden days the center right supported the Constitutional Monarchists, Orleanists, and Bonapartists. The modern-day definition of center-right has come a long way encompassing liberal democracy, capitalism, market economy, private property rights, and welfare states.
The far right of the Right Wing has many connotations to it. Far right is often category of nationalists, religious extremists, reactionary groups, fascists, and Nazism. Many times termed as the 'hate group' this political ideology targets the ethnic minorities and follows the doctrine of racial discrimination.
Since its inception the Right Wing has inclined towards preserving religion than building economies. Contemporary rightists do promote capitalism. Right Wing libertarians support economic freedom, free markets, private property rights, and free trade. Support to the religion has been an integral characteristic of Right Wing politics.

Left-Right Wing

The Left-Right Wing is used to explain the Left Wing and Right Wing political ideologies that run along the same dimension of the political spectrum. The Left Wing and Right Wing are polar opposites of each other.
The classification of political ideas run along one place defining Left Wing as social liberals, social democrats, socialists, communists, and anarchists. The Right Wing take the stance of conservatives, reactionaries, monarchists, religious fundamentalists and nationalists. The take on capitalism as per this dimension changes from country to country.
Debate of current times in reference to Left-Right Wing is to what extent is the government involved in evolution of civilizations. The Left is accusing the Right of supporting the upper class and the Right preaching to Left against its over emphasis to the working class. Interestingly, both the political policies believe in freedom and equality.
However, the Right advises working towards economic freedom to get to the goal, and the Left believes in intellectual evolution to attain the freedom. Although both the political philosophies have the same motive they work together with conflicting thoughts.

Syncretic Politics

Syncretic politics attempts to reconcile the conflicts between Left and Right Wing of politics. A total reverse of Left and Right, this political ideology finds its origin in the syncretic religion. The popular syncretic movements are 'Producerism' and 'Fascism'.
Amongst the lesser known syncretic parties are 'People's Mujahedin of Iran', which blended Marxism and Islamism, 'Minaret of Freedom Movement which combined Islamism and Libertarianism and Russian 'National Bolshevik Party' which developed as a union of Leninist and Fascist aesthetics.
The famous quote goes 'If you are 18 and not a socialists then you haven't got a heart. And if you are 50 and not a capitalist you haven't got the brains!' throws light on the fact that ideas have to change as demographics change.
The violence depicted in the human history is a testament to the suffocating civilizations. Fanaticism has no tolerance. Every political idea, system, and value finds its place in the spectrum. If they all belong on the same axis, then why do they conflict with one another? Evolution is the purpose of survival; and by that virtue, of political spectrum too.