Goldfarb, Jeffrey C.
September 1993
Social Research;Fall93, Vol. 60 Issue 3, p415
Academic Journal
This article looks at issues surrounding the left and right ideologies and its political, economic and cultural implications. It has long been the case that liberalism on social issues--from race relations to gun control to abortion rights--has not necessarily been correlated with economic liberalism. Indeed, the fact that the term economic liberalism has had opposing meanings in Europe and the U.S. indicates that the categories of left and right have long been uncertain. Despite all this, the breakdown in the old left/right dichotomy is refreshing. It provides opportunities to think about politics without clichés. It becomes possible to address basic principles and concrete ends without partisan rigidity. When the Right was clearly capitalist and the Left was socialist, each presented a complete account of how certain fundamental economic arrangements could lead to the common good. For the Right, the free market was the cornerstone of free politics, free culture, and a free society based on individual liberty. For the Left, the abolition of private property was the cornerstone of free politics, free culture, and a free classless society. Both the Left and the Right, at least at their extremes, had a propensity for disregarding details of societal life.


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