This section attempts to explain the difference between Right-Wing and Left-Wing (Conservative and Liberal) Governments and Societies, and to offer an understanding of the implications of this political and social ideology
- An Introduction to Ideology
Ideology is the integrated set of ideas, beliefs, concepts, assertions, that we hold about human life and culture, usually including economics, government and politics.
Our ideology provides us with a kind of lens through which we not only view, but interpret and judge events around us.
This is important because Western societies are governed much more by ideology than rationality, and much of your knowledge of the West will have consisted primarily of exposure to Western ideologies that may be widely-held and promulgated but often have no rational basis.
From your point of view as a non-American (or non-Westerner) it will often be appropriate for you to view these Western ideologies as a kind of virus attacking the fundamental precepts of your culture and way of life. You will soon understand why.
Most ideologies are based on emotional needs and psychological preferences, and seldom on the hard truths of reality. Because of this, ideology cannot normally withstand rational discourse, often degenerating to heated emotions and sometimes violence.
When the fans of two football teams in Europe or South America have riots and large-scale physical violence, that is because the team support is based on an emotional ideology rather than rationality.
Western religions are the same. It is almost impossible to hold rational discussions about any religious topic without the debate descending to heated emotional battles.
All government systems are based partially on an ideology, a belief that one system is superior to others in a particular place and time, but this will become dangerous only if these beliefs are never examined and compared to reality.
Politics, on the other hand, usually meaning Western-style multi-party politics, is entirely founded on, and supported by, ideology, and is dangerous because the supporting beliefs are seldom, if ever, frankly examined.
It is very important to understand that government and politics are totally different species of animal and are not related to each other. Government is just government, the management of the affairs of a nation.
Politics is a quasi-religious, psycho-social battle for supremacy between two or more competing ideologies, manifestating itself in the minor civil wars we call ‘elections’. The government resulting from an election is irrelevant; only the ideological victory is important.
We will deal with this topic in more detail later. It is introduced here because it’s important to you that most foreign influences penetrating your country are based on, and are promulgating, a religious-political ideology, even if apparently unrelated.
- The Foundations of Ideological Society
Westerners were born into a Judeo-Christian, Right-Wing, black-and-white, individualistic world. The Chinese were born into a Confucian, social, shades-of-grey, pluralistic world. The West is simplistic, almost a caricature of a society, while the East is deeply complex.
With effort, the East can come to understand the West, but the West may never understand the East, largely because Western ideology is deeply supremacist, seeking only to conquer and convert, or to kill, rather than understand, anything that is different.
The largest mistake the East has ever made was its failure to fully appreciate not only the fullness of this supremacist ideology, but the underlying brutality spawned by the religious portion of its heritage. Many Chinese are making this same mistake today.
There is almost no historical record of Western supremacist ideology – or the nations that espouse it – ever living in harmony with any country not sharing its beliefs.
Instead, these other countries have been consistently and brutally colonised, their resources plundered and their peoples massacred. This has been true for centuries, and there are no signs today that would give cause for hope of a change.
- Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs and international relations must be considered in terms of the political nature of the nations involved. The kind of government – electoral democracy or single-party government – is not particularly relevant to the tone of these relationships.
Some readers may want to object loudly to the above statement, but I suggest you consider that the US has overthrown many functioning democracies for the purpose of installing dictatorships that were more amenable to Western ideology.
The existence of a ‘democracy’ is no protection from a Christian militarist-capitalist ideology, nor from the US determination for global domination.
- The Political Left and Right – The Peacemakers and Warmongers
The most important distinction for a nation, as with an individual, is its character, and the major determining feature of this character is its attitude toward humanity, reflected in its level of aggression or belligerence – the desire for peace or for war.
People, regions and nations are all infused with this dichotomy which also defines the political left and the political right, which are – respectively – the pacifists and the war-mongers of the world.
Most everything else that is important about a nation (or a person) flows from this distinction, from an identification of either respect, sympathy and concern for people and cultures, or contempt and aggression.
From this simple understanding, you can see which kind of nation would be more concerned about the social aspects of a country. Which is more likely to focus on, and invest tax money in, education and health care, and which in its military?
Of course, a pacifist, left-wing government will be more concerned about society, about the needs and benefits of the people. It will invest in education, universities, libraries, hospitals and medical care, unemployment benefits, retirement pensions.
A war-mongering right-wing government cares much less about these things, leaving it to “the people” to provide for themselves, and spends its time and money on the military, favoring banks and big business over the concerns of the population.
Of the right-wing countries in the world today, the US and Israel are the worst examples (or the best, depending on your point of view), followed by the UK, Canada, Australia and Norway. Japan has a smallish, but very dangerous, right-wing element.
Many nations are primarily left-wing, although all countries will have at least some of their population at both ends of the spectrum. Nations with multiple political parties tend to have a major right-wing party and another on the left, often alternating terms in power.
However, the US is unique among nations in being almost entirely right-wing and having two right wing parties. Therefore, regardless of which party is in power, policies don’t change appreciably.
In our discussions, we will mostly refer to the right-wing ideology of the US since, as with many things, the US is either the best or worst example available.
- Right-Wing Governments and Societies
Right-Wing nations and people tend to be aggressive, belligerent, and militaristic. Their values include national support for a strong military, mostly for aggression, and often contain a strong nationalism.
These nations are on the opposite end of the spectrum from socialists, tending to emphasise “law and order” and incarceration, and are generally authoritarian even though many of these same nations are electoral democracies.
Right-Wing nations and people tend to be simplistic, seeing all things in black and white; they tend to be intolerant, are often bigoted or racist, and are generally less able to adapt. Typically, obstructions are dealt with by force.
- Left-Wing Governments and Societies
A Left-Wing (socialist) state cares more about equality, about relieving the misery of the poor. It cares more about health care and education, about a Social Saftey Net for its citizens. Tax rates are often higher to support these government programs.
It is more concerned with national development, the role and responsibility of government, with social stability, with the good of the nation as a whole, and the government plays a larger role in the country. Law and order tends to be more relaxed.
Left-wing parties and governments are not normally belligerent or colonialist, and do not typically start shooting wars.
- It’s Not About Politics: It’s About People
You need to understand that though we define these characteristics in political terms, their basic nature is not political but human. Therefore, they reflect the character, the human nature, of the people living in these nations.
If the population of a country has a primary disposition to be supremacist and aggressive, that nation’s government will tend to reflect these characteristics of its people in its dealing with other nations.
Perhaps even more to the point, if a nation’s leaders embody this belligerent primary disposition, their propaganda machine will eventually convert most of the population to this ideology. The US is a prime example of this occurring today.
- Right-Wing Nations are Aggressive and Belligerent
Since the US is one of the two most Right-Wing nations in the world, it is therefore no surprise that the US government and its large multi-nationals conduct themselves with aggression and belligerence in their foreign affairs.
The United States is an extraordinarily belligerent nation in its international relations, having been at war for about 200 of its 235 years as a nation, and having invaded more than 50 countries more than 150 times – only once in actual “self-defense”, and even then having deliberately provoked the attack.
With little more than 4% of the world’s population, the US spends almost twice as much on its military and “defense” every year than the entire rest of the world combined – about 800 billion out of a total of 1.4 trillion dollars.
As a group, Americans are nothing if not aggressive and belligerent. Their ‘black and white’ mentality, their fierce individualism, their excessive evangelical Christianity, their in-your-face pushiness (which they describe as being direct and frank), their merciless and predatory form of capitalism, are all part of the same package of right-wing attitudes and behavior.
The Right-Wing views life as a zero-sum game, as if everything were a competition for survival. If I become richer, that can only make you poorer. If I become stronger, that means you are now weaker.
This is why Americans are such adherents to Social Darwinism – true believers in “the law of the jungle”, where the strong prey on the weak. The “war-monger” mentality thrives on conflict where the winner takes everything and the loser gets nothing.
This natural aggression and belligerence are reflected in the truly insane American determination to own guns. American citzens own more guns (over 300 million) than do all the militaries and police forces in world combined (225 million).
With little more than 4% of the world’s population, the US has more than 25% of the world’s prisoners in jails – many more in absolute numbers than does China with 5 times the population – and that is what you would expect from such people.
- A Right-Wing Society is Adversarial and Individualistic
Adversarial means to have an adversary, an opponent against whom you battle. Two people fight, at least figuratively to the death, with the winner taking everything; essentially a gladiatorial society.
It is only the right-wing countries, most especially the US, that thrive on conflict, that prefer a good fight to a good discussion. In these countries, disagreement resolution requires a clear winner and a clear loser – the law of the jungle.
This is the reason right-wing societies like the US treasure their multi-party political system. They don’t love it because it is ‘free’ or ‘fair’, as their propaganda tells us, or because it produces good government (it doesn’t), but because it embeds conflict.
Elections are battles where, just as in war, the winner takes everything. A right-wing doesn’t negotiate; it does battle; a reflection of the nature of the people.
In politics, the population and the candidates are separated into two camps, according to Right/Left ideology, then fight a huge and very expensive battle with the winning ideological camp taking control of the government.
In other civilian life, mediation or conciliation provide no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, no clear winner or loser, so disputes are most often settled in the courts. The US has more than 20 million lawsuits every year, and increasing.
Americans are the most litigious society in the world, spending more on civil litigation than any other industrialized country, and they spend twice as much on these lawsuits each year as they spend on new automobiles.
This is why the US has such a high percentage of the world’s lawyers – one for every 265 people, while China has one lawyer for every 66,000 people. America has only 20% of China’s population, but 20 times as many lawyers.
This fundamental adversarial nature is evident in many parts of US society. The American legal and justice systems, the entire policing system, criminal and civil dispute resolutions, the US capitalist system, are all a perfect reflection of this.
The US criminal and civil courts are not primarily courts of law or of justice, but amphitheaters showcasing a primitive adversarial system where two opposing camps battle in a courtroom for supremacy and ultimate victory, with a clear winner and a clear loser.
The entire process of policing and law enforcement have evolved from the same basic view of humanity. US laws are not designed or intended to keep order or ensure social peace and stability, but are tools in a competitive battle of ‘good against evil’.
The entire right-wing world, and all of US society, is adversarial and strongly individualistic, relying on competition and conflict to decide disputes. It is in these countries craving winners and losers where individualism grows so fiercely. It goes with the territory.
- Right-Wing Societies are Racist
Right-wing religious warmongers also have a strong tendency toward racism, and this repugnant feature is clearly demonstrable as a fundamental part of the basic character of Americans, Israelis, the English, Canadians, Australians, and the Japanese.
Especially with Americans, their fierce individuality and natural belligerence, their quasi-theological adherence to Social Darwinism, all combine with their pathetically-crippled version of Christianity to produce a white supremacy that is truly appalling.
I will deal with this at length in another chapter, but we can note here that the US is the only nation that has ever so embraced human slavery with all its heart, that it enslaved and traded in more than 20 million black slaves, (with an even higher number dying in the trading and transportation) who were generally seen as inferior animals.
We note too that the US is the only nation that – by plan – virtually exterminated an entire race of its own indigenous peoples, carrying out the longest program of genocide in the history of the world. Persisting for more than 100 years, the Americans succeeded in exterminating 98% of a local population of 20 million people.
And it was one of the great American presidents – George Washington, “the father of the country” – who recommended not only massacring these people, but peeling the skin from their hips downward and using it to make leather for boots and leggings.
And finally, let’s note here that these are the same Americans who today lecture the world on human rights.
- A Dangerous Nationalism Thrives in a Right-Wing Society
Nationalism can easily be defined as a popular sentiment of pride in one’s country, as a state of mind identifying the consciousness of a national identity.
A stronger definition is that Nationalism is a doctrine that your culture, beliefs, values, are superior to any other, that due to your inherent superiority your interests should always take precedence, and that your nation should act selfishly to obtain its goals.
This is why on many occasions, US nationalism precludes peaceful relations with much of the world.
And in fact, right-wing Americans have little tolerance for their own left-wing people. We have often seen Americans marching in the streets, waving flags and yelling, “America – love it or leave it!”, as a challenge to their non-violent countrymen.
Americans have quite a strident nationalism, often unpleasant, loud and offensive – and pervasive. US nationalism can be seen everywhere, with Americans “wrapping themselves in their flag” at the flimsiest of excuses.
Right-wing nationalism believes in ‘the survival of the fittest’, for both individuals and countries. The Right Wing seeks out conflict wherever it can prove to be “best man” by winning, while the other are, of course, “losers”.
One of the social controls of US nationalism is use of the term “Un-American”. It is a pejorative term in politics and society which is used to describe behavior that deviates from the right-wing ideology. It means to be subversive or unpatriotic, but also contrary to US Right-Wing ‘values’ and ideology. A proposal to ban plastic bags in supermarkets was condemned as ‘un-American’ because it infringed on ‘freedom’.
The US government actually has a high-ranking Senate Committee called the House Un-American Activities Committee, which is charged with identifying such ‘deviant’ behavior. The US is the only country with this extreme nationalism.
A comparable example would be the government of Australia adopting a policy that eating pork instead of lamb was “un-Australian” and therefore deviant. The world would never stop laughing; the US is a similar joke to the world.
- Jingoism – An Extreme Nationalism
Jingoism is an extreme and belligerent patriotism, an extreme type of nationalism, with an extreme and unrealistic bias in comparing one’s own nation, culture and values against others. We see this demonstrated in the US in two main ways:
- An excessive bias in judging their country, their method of government, their legal and financial systems, their companies, their everything, as so superior to all others that all ‘the others’ should be replaced with US versions.
- An aggressive and belligerent foreign policy. Normally, this means the use of threats or actual force against any other countries (including friendly ones) in order to protect whatever they see as being in their own best interest. It contains little concern for anyone else’s ‘best interest’, or for the needs or wants of other countries.Jingoism is almost always blindly irrational, emotional and delusional. Before the 2012 Olympic Games in London, a columnist wrote that the UK could never surpass China’s Olympics for planning, for grandness, even for success.
But he breathlessly told the world that even though London’s Olympics would be impoverished by comparison to China, they would still be better “because we have freedom”.
That’s jingoism. It’s also blind ideology, immature delusion, and a large portion of plain stupidity – not necessarily in that order.
- The Right is always ‘right’
The Right Wing is generally incapable of understanding others who don’t share their views, and debating with the Right is often fruitless because of their fervent Christian supremacist belief that they are ‘right’.
It is the right-wing ideology that causes most of the trouble in the world, because of its intolerance, the lack of an ability to live and let live. “My way is the right way, the only way, the true way, the way God intended when He created the Universe.”
“If only you could see clearly, you would understand that my definitions of civil rights and capitalism are the only right ones, that my kind of government is the only acceptable one. If only you could understand, you would want to be like me.”
- Americans are Meddlers
Put simply, Americans, because of their deeply-rooted white supremacy, are inveterate meddlers. They haven’t the ability to keep their noses out of anyone else’s business. They judge, condemn and, often, invade and colonise other nations and cultures.
The extreme Right-Wing mentality of America, and of most Americans, mean they are not only aggressive meddlers but colonisers as well, all these really being different aspects of the same trait. Domination – survival of the fittest – is the main issue.
This is the fundamental problem facing the dialogue between China and the US. The USA is far right-wing, aggressive, domineering, meddlesome and colonising, and China is at the other end of the scale.
- Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition
These belligerent right-wing characteristics are tied closely to religion, to an acquired and propagandised conviction of being ‘a divine race’ (Japanese), of being “God’s Chosen People” (Jews), of having God “on my side” (Christian countries).
Religion is fundamental to a Right-Wing society, and US government support for the majority religion has always been a major part of right-wing politics. Today in the US, the ‘religion’ is the far-right evangelical Christian church – not a moderate religion.
Chinese should take note of the fact that while the Western God is praised as a God of love and tolerance, more horrible wars and human-rights travesties have been committed in the name of their God and their religion than from any other source. More later.
It isn’t unusual to see Americans driving a truck full of guns that sports a bumper sticker reading, “Honk if you love Jesus”. These people, in their simple-mindedness, appear totally unaware of the grave disconnect between the violent reality of their nature and their imaginary jingoistic ‘love of god’.
American martial music (and not only American) often contains lyrics singing the praises of their god while they march off to yet another unjustifiable war of aggression, deluding themselves that they are somehow on “god’s mission” to eradicate “His” enemies.
- Right-Wing Governments Abhor Socialism
In countries like the US, “socialism” – caring about the people – is a dirty word. In their minds, Americans equate socialism with despots and tyranny, with fear and hunger in a brutal military dictatorship, living in a world with no hope. That’s the power of propaganda. And the power of ignorance, too.
Typically, a conservative, right-wing nation does not favor social items like pensions or health care, or indeed any social welfare system, and it may not pay much attention to education, either.
A Right-Wing society speaks with contempt of a “welfare state” and believes a government should not spend money on social needs, that private organizations are better equipped to deal with social necessities and problems.
US President Ronald Reagan once famously stated that a national health-care plan would mean “the end of freedom in America”.
This is the reason the US has countless thousands of private charities. As you will see later, many of these are outright scams, but Americans, with their individualistic Right-Wing ideology, appear generally content for social needs to be “off the radar”.
- Inequality is ‘Natural’ in a Right-Wing Society
An important part of Right-Wing thinking and government, is that inequalities in the system are justified, and are indeed a natural phenomenon. Right-wing politics views social and economic classes as the “natural state of man”, and rejects attempts to remove these.
It is considered acceptable that wealth and power are concentrated in only a few hands or that there is one law for the rich and another for the poor.
- Winners and Losers
It is interesting, if alarming, to note that most Americans have no sympathy for those of their countrymen who haven’t much money, who cannot afford good health care, or who have difficulty finding gainful employment.
One characteristic of this US brand of Social Darwinism, where society is divided into winners and losers, is that every man is responsible for himself. “Winners” are universally admired while the “losers” are treated with a disdain bordering on contempt.
One of the worst insults that can be directed to an American is to call him (or her) “a loser”. This epithet suggests a kind of total incompetence, emotionally and mentally deficient, a person who always makes the wrong choices, a contemptible kind of person with no redeeming qualities.
This deplorable characteristic is so strong in Americans that there is often no apparent room in their hearts for kindness or even sympathy for those less well-off than themselves.
If you aren’t doing very well, if you don’t have very much money, if you can’t find a good job, if you can’t afford the health care you need, then it’s your own fault because you’re “a loser”.
We can find many media articles and other commentary condemning unemployed Americans for wanting to receive unemployment or welfare benefits from the government, ostensibly because they are “too lazy” to work.
This accusation is seldom true, but many Americans are almost vicious in describing those who are less fortunate, repugnantly claiming they will not pay taxes so that losers can live for free on that tax money.
This is all part of the extreme individualism contained in the American psyche. When combined with their native aggression and belligerence and their resulting love of conflict, the stage is set for what Americans refer to as “healthy competition”.
In other words, “every man for himself”; Social Darwinism and the law of the jungle mentality. The field is wide open to all entrants and everyone fights for a place. The winners are admired and the losers are, well, losers.
But let’s not forget we aren’t speaking here of a sports tournament where we gather to cheer for our favorite team. We are speaking of society, of the human beings comprising our nation, not all of whom were born gifted and exceptional.
Americans cannot recognise this distinction. In their simple-minded universe, all are equal and everything is ‘free’ and ‘fair’, and if you work hard you can win and rise to the top. If you don’t, nobody will waste sympathy on you because you’re a loser.
If you are poor, it’s your own fault. If you aren’t smart and well-educated, it’s your own fault. If you can’t afford a house or a car as nice as mine, it’s your fault for being lazy, for not working – and for being a loser.
- The “American Dream” is Fundamentally Adversarial
The thinking goes like this: The US is a rich country, full of freedom for each person to realise his potential and acheive his goals. We give you the opportunity, and don’t owe you anything else. If you are poor, it’s your own fault for not wanting to be rich.
This is one reason Americans appear so fanatically focused on their ‘rights and freedoms’, often to the total exclusion of what is best for society or their country as a whole. The right-wing mentality fosters this attitude of concern only for oneself.
- Right-Wing Capitalism is Aggressive and Bullying
This also defines the US version of capitalism, and tells us why Americans constantly repeat the mantra of “competition” and “free markets”. The Right Wing wants no restrictions on its “attack and destroy” mission where profit and market domination are God.
We can see why almost all US multi-national companies in foreign countries are predatory vultures, looking to destroy all domestic competition and to totally dominate every market they enter. Social Darwinism. The law of the jungle; dog eat dog, winner take all.
In many European cities, businesses are prevented from opening a shop too near an existing one of the same kind, since it would likely damage the existing business and perhaps drive it to bankruptcy.
But to the Americans, this kind of competition is “healthy”, since the stronger man will win and, in their minds, this is the way God meant for the universe to operate.
This is pure Social Darwinism – The Survival of the Fittest – and The Law of the Jungle. To most of the world, “competition” has a sense of equality about it, a “fair fight”, but to Americans, competition means that the strong are set free to prey on the weak.
The US government and American multi-nationals unceasingly pressure foreign governments, especially in developing nations, to open wide their borders to unrestricted competition on the basis that this is the “right” way to develop an economy, and they vilify and condemn any government refusing to do so.
But this pressure is not for ‘competition’ in any sense that would be healthy for a developing country. Rather, its intent is to open the doors for US multi-nationals to enter, to use their immense resources to kill off any domestic competition and dominate every market for every product. And if given the chance, they will generally succeed, as you will see.
No American company wants a circumstance that represents true competition of equals, or near-equals. And, as we can see from history, in any competition of equals, American companies usually fail miserably. They win only if they can dominate by force.
Whenever American corporations are restricted from their open plundering in foreign countries, they whine constantly about the lack of “a level playing field”, crying that circumstances are ‘unfair’ to them.
Take it by force, if you can, and whine if you can’t. The American way.
- A Right-Wing Society is Fearful
It is interesting that one of the core bases of right-wing political conservatism is the installation and management of fear in the population. This includes the fear of external or internal threat – real or imagined – that can be used to control the people.
Right-wing governments, including that of the US, constantly use this fear management to rationalise and justify the privileged elite class system and the embedded inequities and injustices from which they profit.
Today, the US is exceptionally effective at creating and manipulating fear in the population to engender and maintain support for, and to eliminate questioning of, its brutal aggression against Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iran, North Korea, and more.
The majority of the US electorate today believe to a greater or lesser extent that their nation is effectively “under siege” by Islamist radicals, and that their government’s brutal military aggresssion is somehow justified. Of course, this belief is false.
- Right-Wing News is very Different from any Other Kind
Most of the mainstream media in the US are owned or controlled by the far right-wing, which is quite efficient at reporting only the news that fits their agenda as well as that of the government – a totally effective self-censored propaganda machine.
Much, or most, of the news reporting is biased and slanted to fit the interests of this group, who will often totally fabricate news stories to further their narrative of propaganda. The lies that are told, are often breathtaking in their boldness.
In its prelude to the invasion of Iraq – which had been planned in detail two years prior – the US government and all the media propagated dozens of false stories about Iraq’s nuclear program, about genocide, long after the stories had been proven false.
This fear-stoking gambit is used repeatedly as a prelude to demonise in the eyes of Americans any nation that the US government has already decided to invade, and is clearly in use against China today.
This topic will be examined further in the Sections on Media, but we would note here that it is an axiom in politics today that no Right-Wing government could survive without lying to the population about its intentions, agenda and activities.
Typical Right-Wing Characteristics
Bigoted, racist, and intolerant; supremacist
A strident nationalism and patriotism
Militaristic, aggressive and belligerent
Simplistic thinking – everthing is either black or white, right or wrong
Unable deal with complexity; an intolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty
Inability to understand, intolerance for, and inability to integrate, new perspectives or ideas
A firm belief they are always right
Tough on law and order, resembling or being effectively a police state
Individualistic, playing up the role of the individual
Belief in the primacy of business, in capitalism and efficient markets, free trade and low taxation
Preserve the wealth and power of the aristocrats and nobles – a ‘natural’ situation
Strongly support the far-right Christian church
Quotes by Typical Right-Wing US Citizens
“Europe’s aversion to war is a threat to world peace” – Robert Gates, US Defense Secretary
A National Health Care Plan “would mean the end of freedom in America” – US President Ronald Reagan
“US National Health Care is an insult to God” – Glenn Beck (US commentator)
“The only way to reduce the number of nuclear weapons is to use them” – Rush Limbaugh (US commentator)
The Sichuan earthquake was “nature’s way of saying there are too many Chinese in the world” – comment on article by Nicholas Kristoff, NYT.
“If we use force, it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future.” Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State.
Dr. Long Xinming (龙信明), Founder and Senior Editor for the BearCanada.com, is also one of the frequent contributors for The 4th Media.