Faversham Stoa is a philosophy discussion group meeting on the 3rd Tuesday of every month from 7.30 to 9.30pm in the The Bull in Tanners Street. We cover a large range of topics. If you have an idea for a topic that you would like us to cover why not drop us a line? There's no charge for membership and everyone is welcome to drop in. Just bring your brain and some beer money!

Left Wing & Right Wing

Cartoon Given the proximity of the Faversham Town Council Elections (May 2008), the issue of the difference between Right and Left in contemporary politics seems somewhat timelu. Perhaps if we find an answer to this question we might be on our way to answering next month's problem: how to achieve Utopia?!

Rather than take up polarized positions on what we personally feel to be the correct political stance I suggesy we look at how we identify the differences between right and left.

Does the traditional political spectrum make any sense nowadays? Are political beliefs genuinely clustered in this way? And what do we make of the Third Way of Tony Blair et el.

Here is a table contrasting some of the key values of left and right. It is a bit crude in its polarisation but it provides a good starting point. How accurate is it?

Left Value Right Value
Justice Liberty
Positive discrimination Meritocracy
Equality Of Outcome Equality of Opportunity
DistributiveJustice Personal Wealth
Reform, Rehabilitation and Restorative Justice Deserts, Retribution, Law and Order
Tough on the causes of crime Tough on the criminal
Innovation Conservatism
Progressive Status Quo and Tradition
Collectivist Individual Autonomy
The collective is more important than the individual The individual is more important than the collective
Cosmopolitan Nationalist
Welfare State Personal responsibility
Planned economy Free market economic policies
Economic Interventionism Laissez-Faire
Public spending and High Tax Low tax and Private Profit
Workers' Self-Management Employer's right to manage
Nationalisation of industry Private ownership
Preference for Larger Government Prereference for Smaller Government
Secular Government Religious Government
Law Dictates Culture Culture Dictates Law
Human Nature and Society are Malleable Human Nature and Society are Fixed
Multicultural Monocultural
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