‘Right’ and ‘Left’ are arbitrary designations, yada yada… We know that. But these terms DO refer to two real opposing forces – that’s what we’re interested in. Of course, they should more properly be called something like ‘Up’ and ‘Down’ (or ‘Vertical’ and ‘Horizontal’ if we want to affect an air of neutrality… We don’t.) But that would be utterly meaningless to the vast majority of people. So Right and Left will do for now…
First things first: the main dividing line between Right and Left is hierarchy versus equality. (NOBODY desires equality as an end in and of itself, by the way – just think about that for a second if you haven’t before – and so it is more accurate to say it’s a matter of hierarchy vs. an aversion to hierarchy.) Also note: the Right’s preference is for hierarchy – not mere inequality. They’re not the same; a fact easily confused through linguistics – i.e. ‘inequality’ is the linguistic antonym of ‘equality.’
It should also be said that the Right’s primary fixation is quality – and that the opposite of that is equality (a-quality?) Understand: it is egalitarianism that is reactive.
Onto more fully exploring the differences…
The Right is defined by its 5 principles:
Hierarchy, spirituality, organic unity, particularism, and a cyclical conception of history.
The Left defines itself by 5 antithetical principles:
Equality, materialism, individualism, universalism, and a linear conception of history (‘progress.’)
In reality, the Left being a negative, reactive force is derived from a personal aversion to hierarchy, an aversion to spirit, an aversion to organic unity, an aversion to particularism, and an aversion to the cyclical conception of history. They then dress these reactive negatives up as positives: ‘equality’, ‘materialism’, ‘individualism’, ‘universalism’, and a ‘linear conception of history.’
Socialist Left: hyper-equality, materialism, collectivism (a mechanistic surrogate and replacement for organic unity – a reaction against liberalism’s individualism – itself a reaction against organic unity), universalism, and a linear conception of history.
The Left has historically contained many reactions against itself within itself (partly because, being reactive, it has no end; and can never be satisfied) – ‘socialism’ being the prime example: substituting collectivism (fake/inorganic unity) for individualism. But there have also been trends within leftism apparently attacking materialism, universalism, and the linear view of history too. Instead, seeking to replace them with their own versions of spirituality (leftist critiques of ‘materialism’ and consumerism – hippie spirituality, feminine and pluralistic neo-religion, and new-age people), particularism (identity politics and disintegrative left-wing nationalism), and a cyclical conception of history (left-wing cynicism towards the idea of ‘progress’ – the environmentalist movement; the Frankfurt School, etc.)
The Right doesn’t have sub-types – it fights for the truth; and therefore has one true form. It can be internally differentiated firstly in terms of degrees, of more vs. less pure. Secondly, it can sprout deviations:
A materialist Right (e.g. Nietzscheans), an individualist Right (e.g. right-wing libertarians), a universalist Right (e.g. some adherents of the Traditionalist School veer off in this direction), and an almost progressive Right (e.g. certain ‘techno-futurist’ and ‘trans-humanist’ right-wingers out there.)
And finally, there are a few confused and/or disingenuous individuals who can be termed ‘left-wing conservatives’ or ‘left-wing traditionalists’ – i.e. combine spirituality/anti-materialism, organic unity, particularism, and a cyclical conception of history; but with equality instead of hierarchy (e.g. Alasdair MacIntyre, Christopher Lasch, early Roberto Unger.)
A brief overview of the five principles of the Right and Left:
(1) Hierarchy vs. Equality
— Hierarchy: that there exists in the universe an objective graduation of values, and that it is in accordance with this that the world – including man and his social arrangements – should be both judged and structured.
— Equality: the claim that all individuals should be considered to have the same worth. However, it is not in human nature to equally value the unequal; so egalitarians necessarily set about either making the unequal more equal, or when that doesn’t appear possible, they try and claim that the apparent differences are illusory — that they don’t really exist (are a ‘social construct’, etc.)
(2) Spirituality vs. Materialism
— From a philosophical perspective, there are broadly two possibilities: 1) consciousness came first and gave rise to matter. (‘Spirituality.’) Or, 2) matter came first and gave rise to consciousness. (‘Materialism.’) This is important, because if consciousness came first then it suggests that Ideas and Values existed first, and that the material world came into being in order to actualise them. They are objective. On the other hand, if matter originated first, then concrete entities came first and consciousness then developed with its ideas and values as subjective approximations. They would not be in the slightest bit objective.
The two have radically different end-points correspondingly – with spirituality; we come from consciousness, into matter, and then back to consciousness. And in materialism; we come from matter, into consciousness, and will descend back into matter.
[note: when we speak of ‘consciousness’, it should be understood to mean consciousness in its absolute purest form – cosmic consciousness – the vast majority of what we self-experience as consciousness is really an interaction between consciousness and matter.]
(3) Organic Unity vs. Individualism
— Organic Unity: the social order conceived of as a unified whole – comparable to a living organism; with internal structural/functional differentiation. All the organs/parts acting harmoniously and for the greater good of the whole. In possession of an internal hierarchy, and with each part playing its role according to its intrinsic nature and abilities.
Organic Unity represented using the terms from the traditional caste-system of India:
— Individualism: That the most important thing is the rights, well-being and happiness of the individual. The overall whole doesn’t meaningfully exist; and to the extent that it does it is an oppressive entity to be overcome – makes unjust demands on the individual. Individualism can be boiled down to the following: that as long as they are not actively harming anybody else, the individual should be able to do whatever they like.
Everything revolves around the individual. The individual is sacred:
(4) Particularism vs. Universalism
— Particularism: of perceiving the world through us and not-us, of exercising moral action where we stand. Of acting through the concrete prism of what we are, and what we’re connected to.
A human being is naturally embedded into a greater social organism – itself existing within and across time. Man cannot exist as an isolated atom. His purpose here on earth is creative work and action – to build something of quality. Therefore his job is to do this primarily within – and for – our own group; fulfilling the proper role accorded to him.
— Universalism: a one-world Brotherhood of Man. There are no meaningful separations within the human race – we are all human. Essentially, the other side of individualism. In reality, universalism is normally a camouflaged attack on ones own group – or an attempted exploitation of the majority by a minority group. See: cosmopolitanism.
(5) Cyclical Conception of History vs. Linear Conception of History
— Cyclical Conception of History: The idea that social orders rise and fall. That the natural tendency of the universe – and therefore of the human world too – is towards entropy (chaos); everything tends to decay – unless there is the presence of an active will capable of pushing things in an upwards direction. Where that will abates, decline ensues.
As life becomes easier, adaptation renders men weaker. The preferences of a type of person are reflected in their value-system. Hence the value-system of a weak age will reflect weakness.
Degeneracy – whether it be physical, mental, moral or spiritual.
[graphic below copied from Ironmarch.org because it was so good]
— Linear Conception of History: egalitarianism is in reality the product of resentment, fear, and aversion. It’s a psychological reaction to ones social circumstance. It is therefore necessarily hostile to the present; and is necessarily actualised in an ideal vision of the future – where these things are overcome, and freedom/equality is attained. This is why the visuo-spatial orientation of the Left is forwards-backwards. The Left doesn’t believe in degeneracy, because they don’t believe in an objective standard of quality which things can be judged negatively against, coupled with their perception of the natural tendency of the world as ‘forwards.’ (i.e. improvement.)