Posted in philosophy | 8 Comments »
“Left” has been defined in many different ways, and here I’ll twist language a bit to demonstrate why it can be desirable:
Left stands for individual liberty in opposition to the privileges of state, capital, religion, etc.
Left stands for looking at the concerns of oppressed people first, rather than comparatively well-off ones.
Left stands for support of revolutionary change, rather than the status quo. (ie: rebels v. tories)
Left stands for an inclusive ecumenicalism in opposition to provincialist conservatism.
The fact that the term “left” has been conflated so often with statist programs (and those who advocate and implement them) for massive intervention in the economy and people’s lives renders it effectively useless as a descriptive label without volumes of qualification, though there is a continuum here along which people’s political actions and positions can be placed relative to each other, provided that a clear metric is employed.
Given the descriptions above, one can see that some on the left — those at the extreme pole of the axis — reject the state entirely as solution to social problems. At the same time, nobody on the right does.
A recent exploration relevant to this topic was given by Brad Spangler.
Using the guideline here, many but not all self-identified libertarians fall on the left of the spectrum. One might surmise that a “left”-libertarian, then, is any who falls farther left of the midpoint of the libertarian spectrum, to whatever degree.