What is not politics
sofatutor magazine student
Whether in social networks, on television or in conversations - when it comes to politics, the terms “right” and “left” are often used. But what does that mean?
Where do “right” and “left” come from?
The division between left and right goes back to the seating arrangement of the French Chamber of Deputies from 1814, explains the Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb). Seen from the president's perspective, on the left side sat the parties that were striving for political and social change. On the right side were the parties that wanted to keep the situation.
The terms “right” and “left” are used today to describe the political attitudes of a person, a group or a party. They are thus separated from the other side, the political opponent.
Confusion about the terms
Since the classification into right and left is only rough, these terms are controversial. Nevertheless, the division into right and left is common in everyday life and in the media. You can do that e.g. B. watch in social networks. Opinions often differ: a party can describe itself as left, but the media assign the same party to a different political direction.
What do we understand by left today?
Left politics is generally understood to mean striving for social equality. The freedom of the general public takes precedence over the individual. Opinion researcher Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann found that left-wing values are not only associated with equality, but also justice, formlessness, warmth, closeness, spontaneity, the international and cosmopolitan and the “you”.
What do we understand by right today?
In contrast, the political right assumes an inequality of people and advocates a hierarchy with traditional values and norms. Individual freedom is more important than social equality. According to Noelle-Neumann, people associate right values with emphasis on differences, distance, authority, discipline, regulated manners, the national and the “you”.
And what's in the middle?
The center lies on a political axis between the positions “left” and “right”. This term is also controversial as it is also used inconsistently. The large, democratic parties or mainstreams in Germany, the conservatives and social democrats represented by the CDU and SPD, often assign themselves to the political center in order to place other parties either on the left or on the right. They want to appeal to as many people as possible.
Warning: there are still left-wing extremists and right-wing extremists!
The political attitudes mentioned are compatible with the idea of democracy and the constitution. That is why it should not be equated with a left or right-wing extremist attitude. These are further gradations in the political spectrum.
What is right-wing extremist?
Right-wing extremists want to abolish democracy. For them only their own “people” are important. They reject foreigners and those who think differently and are ready to act against them with verbal and physical violence. They question the equality of all people. In order to achieve their goal and to convince people of their ideology, they often use conspiracy theories that are linked to fascism and National Socialism. Right-wing extremist groups speak of neo-Nazis, i.e. new National Socialists.
What is extreme left?
Left-wing extremists also reject the democratic order and instead demand a system that is “free of domination”. They pursue completely opposite goals as right-wing extremists and fight them ("anti-fascism"). Left extremism is based on the idea that the existing political system exploits and oppresses people. The ultimate goal of the left-wing extremists is to fight this “exploitation” and “oppression” - also with violence.
The terms “right-wing extremist” and “left-wing extremist” are used as external attributions. This means that groups or people with this political stance rarely call themselves that.
Conclusion: The terms “left-wing extremist” - “left” - “middle” - “right” - “right-wing extremist” are controversial. However, left and right attitudes as well as the political center are compatible with democracy and the constitution. Right-wing and left-wing extremists are anti-democratic and anti-constitutional.
Cover picture: © Eugenio Marongiu / Shutterstock.com
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