Right/Left Paradigm Defunct in Totalitarian Regimes

Right/Left Paradigm Defunct in Totalitarian Regimes November 23, 2018

This is effectively a quote of the day from 3lemenope:

To the substance, I find the overlay of the Left/Right dichotomy onto regimes that have no significant democratic play in their regime types to be rather pointless, since the purpose of the Left/Right dichotomy in political science is to track broad comparable trends in political ideology, which should not be confused with either national ideology or regime ideology, two very different applications of the parent concept. An authoritarian dictatorship usually appropriates a preexisting national ideology and is itself characterized by the features of its regime, but usually its forays into questions normally handled by political ideological sorting and collating are instead shortcut entirely, leading to such regimes adopting a “whatever works” attitude towards policies that would in a normal democratic regime be sorted via a Left/Right dichotomy or along some other similar axis. Any political ideology they clothe themselves in is for the purpose of ending questions in, and providing easy answers to, the populace for why otherwise unpopular or anomalous actions must be taken by the government, as Hannah Arendt observed, and does not in reality bind that regime toward pursuing any of the actual policies that would be indicia of the political ideology.

It’s a really good point that I can’t help but agree with. It confirms the over-simplicity of the left/right paradigm.


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