The contrast between the political left and right in the US cannot be denied, shaped by the intellectual tenets, premises, paradigms, circumstances and conditions since the country’s foundation. While this divide receives attention in American politics and society, it impacts the entire world because so many issues expect an American response.
As the politician and intellectual Zbigniew Brzezinski said: “America is the guinea pig of the world.” He meant by this that America is a laboratory where experiments take place, and the results are known to the world. Americans exercise their thoughts through the prism of one or the other of their intellectual traditions. They are solicitous of many of these disciplines’ values. However, as a principle, Americans are often in the habit of applying selective instances of the two ideologies, but the points of comparison between them are all illustrative of the differences in the appreciation Americans give to the niceties of life.
Interestingly, each adherent to either side feels they have a right to enforce the views subscribed to. Since left and right cannot exile each other from presenting and arguing their view, they will coexist together forever and will always be contentious against each other philosophically and practically. Each, whether a conservative or a leftist, exists believing in their own rectitude.
Each adherent to either side feels they have a right to enforce the views subscribed to.
Yet, while any new set of ideas and dealings are brought into play in the US and beyond, there has been an ascendancy of left-wing doctrines and beliefs, most recently manifested in the consolidation of the LGBT movement, the extreme bias of the media against traditional values (especially religious ones), the immersion of academics in pushing forward extreme liberal dogmas, the effort to decriminalize illicit drugs, the race-focused and class-oriented interpretation of American and world history, and not least, polling numbers that have ten percent of America’s youth identifying as socialists. For sure, this will have an impact on the country itself — but will also have serious implications for others.
These radical attitudes undermine the fabric of societies. They outlaw sensitive and sensible trends confirmed for ages. They devalue religion, family and the community, and place trust in the elites they have created as capable of answering all questions.
Neither left nor right can bring into its intellectual compass the fullest recognition of all the views concerning human existence. There is a mystery about human life that neither can decipher. However, leftism is plagued by thought deficiencies. It cannot alter human nature. It cannot diminish America’s power and might. It cannot and will never capture the essence of the US. As the old adage goes, people do better when they grow up — or as the former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said: “If you aren’t a liberal when you’re young, you have no heart, but if you aren’t a middle-aged conservative, you have no head.”
Like Newton’s laws, conservatism is the antithesis of leftism. It has its claims of intellectual superiority. In America, conservatism is bet on as more in tune with the virtues of what makes human life tolerable. It is often labeled by its enthusiasts as the codification of common sense. It is always cited that it is the best feeling when the best of human emotions is stirred. It is the spontaneity and persistence of the search for eternal truth. It is the instituting of the straightway methods in life. Further, several proclaim it as embodied in the country’s constitution when it said that “the pursuit of happiness” is a human challenge for any polity or political regime.
Conservatives affirm that people sympathetic to their ideas because they express the true nature of human beings. They stress that as societies evolve, the prospects of people seeking recourse in their communities without depending on the state will be enhanced. Conservatism is human humbleness when it recognizes the sinful nature of man and pleads for God’s forgiveness, redemption, and salvation. Leftism, meanwhile, favor the idea of the interests of the collective. Conservatism believes in a higher law, while leftists promote human reason as capable of comprehending everything human beings face in their lives, dispensing with God.
Again, leftism undermines America and other societies; it will create chaos in world politics if more countries adopt it as their ideology because it is immoral and immature, and is not discerning of the right motives of how nations interact in the international arena.
Conservatism in America and the world will persist because the values of human uprightness are in harmony with its basic creeds. The foreign policies of nations are conducted better in line with conservatism because each country can observe properly its national interests as well as the concerns of other countries.
• Faisal Al-Shammeri is a political analyst. Twitter: @Mr_Alshammeri