The purpose of this article isn’t to redefine left and right, but to correctly identify the distinctions between the two and to put left and right in the appropriate context.
Left and right are largely misused in mainstream discussion and media. The left and right spectrum is an economic spectrum with opposite property norms. Starting in the center, moving left on the spectrum moves closer to communism or collective ownership of property. Again, starting in the center, moving right on the spectrum moves closer to capitalism or private ownership of property. Somewhere in the middle of the spectrum lies a mixture of the two that would describe the U.S. economic system.
With this understanding of the left and right as an economic spectrum, we can see that much of the rhetoric about the “far-right” doesn’t really have to do with being on the right at all. The mainstream refers to neo-conservatives like George W. Bush “right-wing” when there really isn’t much difference between his policies and Obama’s policies. Bush did no more to promote private property than Obama and actually infringed upon individual liberties and property rights on a historic level.
Another example of this is calling Donald Trump “right-wing” and grouping Nazi’s, white supremacists, and white nationalists all into the same category. Trump isn’t very different from Hillary Clinton, as he continues to demonstrate. He sounds like a progressive when he talks about creating jobs repairing infrastructure and building a giant wall. If he ran as a Democrat, the left would have embraced Trump’s big-government sympathies.
Some think of the right as socially conservative. Individuals on the right may be socially conservative or not, but the economic right (private property rights) in no way limits individual liberty. Rather, capitalism restricts the infringement on individual liberties. This is another distinction that is inherent due to the nature of each side’s respective property norms: left stands for collectivism while right stands for individualism. The left fights for the rights of groups or classes while the right fights for the rights of individuals.
The horrors of statism are only possibly when individuals in a society lose their individual rights and certain groups of people (politicians, bureaucrats, police, etc.) are somehow delegated the right to infringe upon the rights of everyone else. My intention isn’t to define libertarianism as right-wing for the sake of the right-wing, but to unify the philosophy of libertarianism under property rights and individual liberty. To be clear, Republicans and Democrats fall near the center of the spectrum. There is little, to no difference between the two parties and the Libertarian Party fails to effectively promote libertarianism as something very different from a mixture between the two parties. Only by restoring the sanctity of private property rights can liberty begin to overcome statism.