What's a good party? What's a bad party? The Yin and Yang of Politics
I know most people aren’t interested in politics and I can’t blame them. Politics seems boring, and most politicians seem like a quarrelsome bunch of very mediocre people. The topics and conversations go often along the same lines of thinking over and over again, as if there never was any originality and independent thinking involved. And let’s be honest: you can listen to politicians defending themselves, promoting their party, eternally criticising the others who don’t agree with them - the fact that they have vested interests in promoting their agenda is so obvious, we don’t even think about it.
Most people don’t follow politics much, there’s not many really educated views among people, but rather this generic fatigue and distrust when it comes to politics. Many are confused about all those terms: socialism, communism, liberalism, social democrat, left, right, center, moderate, extremist and so on. It’s time to clarify what actually matters in politics and say a few things that honestly never get said but should be said. I hope this will contribute to better understanding of politics outside of that horrible and unnecessarily hyped political news coverage.
There’s so much noise in today’s media, it’s difficult to see clearly and to separate the sheep from the goats. People don’t think for themselves (check my previous video) so it’s easy to manipulate the average person by throwing in some catch phrases during speeches that are easy to repeat and let people parrot them over and over again. But.. you’re here with me to win perspectives and actually think about things and recognise what’s essential. I’m not going to tell you which specific party is good or not. I’m here to tell you which overreaching political attitudes are good and bad. So here we go.
Politics is as if you were measuring it on a spectrum, on a scale. You have a left end, you have a centre point, and you have a right end. Accordingly, you can group parties into far-left, center-left, center, center-right, and far-right. Now before I explain what that means, I already want to make the claim that you can find all the good parties at and around the center point. So centrist parties are legitimate, center-left parties are legitimate, and center-right parties are legitimate. They support quite moderate policies, their priorities might shift slightly to the left or to the right, but their central characteristics is that they balance out policies between those two sides around the centre. And that’s a really good thing, as you’re going to realise in a bit.
The bad parties, the villain, you find further from the center point. It’s commonly called the far-left and far-right. You can also call such parties and ideas alt-left and alt-right where alt means alternative. The point is, the far-left and the far-right are far away from the center point on the political spectrum. Therefore, they are extreme. And that’s another insight here: the further you get from the center, the more extreme you become. So the bad parties are the extremists on both sides of the scale. Extremism is never good. There hasn’t been a time in history where extremism contributed to the well-being, longevity and peace of any society. What is good is the balanced parties that place themselves at the center and close to the center.
Now, let us explore briefly what political left and right actually means. In a nutshell, policies of the left, parties of the left, ideas of the left focus on social equality and egalitarianism. Legitimate left politics means you consider the moral worth of people as the same, no one as a human being is worth more than others regardless of their social status. Thus the word egalitarianism, from french word ‘égal’ meaning equal. That’s why left-wing politics stands for social equality and typically involves concern for the less privileged, the disadvantaged, the poorer ones who don’t seem to get along well socially and economically. That’s the simple description of the left and the left’s concern seems totally legitimate, cause there are always people somewhere who don’t get along socially and economically in every country.
Now, what’s the right-wing politics? Well, in a nutshell, policies of the right, parties of the right, ideas of the right focus on social hierarchy and social order. Legitimate right-wing politics means you consider the importance and the inevitability of social and economical hierarchies. Hierarchy means society itself. Hierarchy stands for order, for structure and right-side politics aims at supporting and maintaining a current structure of society, the hierarchy. Typically, such right-wing politics and ideas are called conservative or traditional, because they conserve the society’s structure, its traditions and the time-tested ways of living. It doesn’t aim to change society, it strives to maintain it. Conservative people don’t mind having hierarchies. They recognise them as perhaps natural and definitely desirable, even though they might create inequalities.
So there we have it, the Yin and Yang of politics. The preserving force of conservatism on the right side, and the force of social change on the left side. The left side wants to improve people’s conditions, because you always have inequalities of various kinds in society. That’s why left-side is the side of progressive ideas and progressive attitudes, the wave of change. The right side wants to keep and maintain the core of society, the customs and ideas that work and have always worked, the main structure, the social hierarchy which keeps the social fabric together.
If you pay attention, then you might slowly realise that although those two legitimate sides appear like opposites, they don’t really contradict each other - in the same way as yin and yang are not supposed to contradict each other, but to complement each other... in the same way as water and fire don’t contradict each other, they just exist in their right places at the same time. It’s the same with left and right-wing politics. They are both legitimate, because they point at two totally real dynamics in society and life: the forces of preservation and the forces of evolutionary change. Without conservatism every social change would quickly destroy society. And without social change, a society would quickly become so stiff that it wouldn’t be able to continue.
So, please take this from this video: it’s okay to be conservative. And it’s okay to like progress. These are two legitimate views that result from an even deeper source. It has to do with people’s inner temperaments, how people want to prioritise things in life. Conservative people (right-wing, remember), appreciate safety and routine. They tend to be very conscientious people. Progressive people are more open-minded, like to experiment with things and are pioneers when it comes to progress (left-wing, remember). No technological progress without left-leaning people! No stability and endurance without right-leaning people! These are no contradictions! We need both of those sides! And in every conservative person there’s a little progressive one. And in every open-minded progressive one, there is a little conservative person.
Now that you know that we need those two forces of change and preservation, you can quickly realise that the balance and harmony between these two is what keeps the society healthy and at its best. That takes me back to the point I made about centrist parties. It’s the good parties of center-left and center-right which make up a regular democracy. Those parties need to engage with each other, negotiate, make compromises for the wellbeing of society. You will have an exchange between these two forces, which will keep the politics of a country in a healthy balance. That is, as long as the political parties talk and interact with each other. That counteracts polarisation and maintains unity despite the differences. And that’s exactly what you get with center-left and center-right parties. That’s not what you get with far-right and far-left parties.
Far-left and far-right parties won’t play that natural game of balance. They will only want to enforce their own side, their own perspective, their own view on others. They’re authoritative. There’s no rational dialogue possible with extremist people. That’s why it’s so difficult to solve the problem of extremism, cause such people aren’t receptive to rational argument.
That brings me to the point that I’d like to make about human nature when projecting it onto politics: moderate centrist parties revolve around the mind, the intellect. They talk and debate, make arguments and analyse, despite their imperfections and weaknesses. It’s the parties of reason. That’s why they are called moderates. The mind, the intellect is the source of moderation, it keeps the emotional passions in moderation. That’s what it means.
Extremist, however, don’t come from a rational place. They come from an emotional place. Obviously, there’s always some rationality in their world view, but that view is totally emotionalised into infinity. And it’s the emotion that overgeneralises and distorts views. Extremist parties have some little bits of rationality in their arguments, and then they project their simple explanations on every aspect of society, neglecting details and complexities, And no wonder, they don’t come from a place of reason, they come from a place of negative emotion. And if you check some of my previous videos, you will know that emotionality in general is more primitive than reason. The reason however is more complex, more sophisticated than emotions.
So, that’s the difference between the legitimate parties of reason, and the extremists. Whenever you watch politics on TV, Youtube, radio or read articles, ask yourself this: what place does this politician and his party come from? From a place of reason? Or from a place of emotion? From a place of social unity? Or from a place of social hatred and envy? Then you’ll know who’s good and who’s bad.
One last thing: the media does us a disservice by just calling center-left and far-left parties just left-wing, as if they were the same people, and by calling center-right and far-right parties just right-wing, as if they were the same people. All are thrown into the same bag, but the differences in degree are essential. Because all the problems arise from legitimate centrist ideas being taken to their extremes in one or the other direction.
So, be on your guard and every time when making political decisions ask yourself this: what force do you actually represent? Are you for order, or are you for change? And then ask yourself: are you for social unity? Or are you always dissatisfied with everything in society? Do you blame society for everything? Cause if you answer the last question with yes, you might be planting tiny little seeds of extremism for a future time. And you don’t want that.
At the end of the day, no matter what party you choose, it’s you who need to get your life in order, and no party and no government can do that for you. It’s also not their task to live your life. So pull yourself together and keep your hatred and envy and disdain in check. Work on yourself to become your better self. And be aware that in most cases it’s not your party that needs fixing. It’s not the government that needs fixing. It’s not society that needs fixing. It’s you who needs fixing by yourself! Now go into the world and vote for the moderate parties of balance and reason for a greater good!
See you in the next one!