Right Wing No More: Calling For the Reformation of Conservatism


By Cristina C. Giancchini

Do we still have a Right Wing today? A left-leaning friend of mine recently told me there's no longer a Left Wing, in a sense that it no longer upholds the spirit of solidarity, of social concerns, having thus grown into a corrupt, self-serving, entity. His words made me wonder whether the Right Wing – or even the Conservative ideology – is still what we think it is or if it has also mutated into something else.

Right Wing vs Conservatism

The concept of right and left goes back to the Athenian Democracy (as one of our readers pointed out [please read the comment section]) but it gained more contemporary contours during the French Revolution, to describe both aisles of the parliament, where on the left sat the revolutionaries and the on the right sat the monarchists, the defenders of the old regime. Therefore, being a right winger equalled to be a defender of traditions, of the old order of things.

Right Wing politics opposes socialism – plus its extremist form, communism. It defends economic, social and political liberalism – basically, free markets; freedom of speech, thought, of association, of religion; and a small, non-intrusive, government. This political ideology more often than not is prone to include people who share the same political views but refuse to have any religious belief.

Conservatism shares many traits with the Right Wing but it stresses its preference for tradition (religious beliefs, cultural and national customs) and its extreme criticism of radical changes to society.

Do We Still Have a Right Wing?

Today, right wingers blend quite well with socialists, inasmuch as they fear being called 'reactionaries' or in extremis 'fascists' – it's truly a shame that today's right wingers are ignorant for there are fascists in both sides of the political spectrum, so right wingers should not be bothered by the left's intellectual impotence to the point of annulling themselves and assimilating the opposition's ideology. In the name of reaching a consensus, right wingers came up with an interesting expression called 'social democracy' to express economic liberalism with social concerns – as a way of gaining socialist support, to pass a myriad of bills in the house of representatives.

It is not necessary to corrupt oneself in order to make deals with the other side – in fact, this is what brought us to the chaotic period we are experiencing now [some states began annulling themselves for economic interests, other states took advantage of it, multiculturalism was born and now we face a clash of civilisations – whether one believes it or not]. A strong right wing can still compromise with socialists on social issues but never on economic and political ones, for without a strong economy – achieved through ethico-liberal economic policies – and without strong values, based on spirituality, or even religion, and patriotism; social problems will only tragically intensify.

In sum, the right wing is dead.

Where Should Conservatism Head To? 

Conservatism is excellent in the way that it protects tradition, it upholds customs plus basic yet imperative values that help keeping the natural order of things. However, it must go with the times. Evolution does not have to mean erosion, for instance:
  • Respecting the rights of Gay people as the human beings they in fact are does not clash with conservative views – we focus on their contribution to society, not their sex life [though Gay people also need to understand that criticising their 'on your face' stance does not make a conservative individual homophobic – but this sort of verbal assault lies in the category of intellectual impotence].
  • A National Healthcare System is imperative for any national economy [though the funding of such a system must be creative – financiers can help governments finding a solution, one that does not imperil the capital. People's health cannot be subjected to the whims of stockholders; in fact, People's Healthcare is of national interest] and it does not clash with conservative views at all, when in truth it agrees with the religious aspect of charity and taking care of one another.
  • Complementing State and Church to combat loss of values. The Church must not temper with politics, but the State must not shun Religious identity from public life either. Those interacting with us must be sure of our religious and traditional ID – in other words, the true strength of any state. 
  • Holding Religious views is not an anti-thesis of modernity [saying otherwise is yet another expression of intellectual impotence].
  • Ethical Capitalism is what any conservative must aspire to. Business social responsibility doesn't mean redistribution of wealth but seeking profit with the welfare of the community and of the country in mind. Let's face it, 'redistribution of wealth' is just a fancy concept to conceal widespread state corruption
  • Small Government is our goal. The State is not to be the main job provider, it is not to steal from the people [through excessively high taxes] and it is not to over-legislate [as it is a way of limiting people's freedom] – the role of the government is to enforce the law, keep the order, guarantee minimum services [health, education, utilities, state insurance and banking for those who cannot have access to private ones], secure society and defend the nation's borders. 
  • In international Relations, mutual respect is capital. To that end, there must not be disequilibriums in relations [i.e. there must be no pick and cherry when it comes to criticism, and the sense of superiority must be purged – which makes things much more interesting and intelligent].

In sum, we have a confused conservatism that is obsessed with the past; so we need an official and unified Neo-Conservatism that abides by basic conservative principles and adjusts to modern life (without yielding to Utopia, DoubleThink and NewSpeak).

“Dwell in the past and you'll lose one eye, Forget the past and you'll lose both eyes” - Russian Proverb


(Image: The Houses of Parliament, London - Claude Monet)

[The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dissecting Society]

Comments

  1. Hi Cristina,

    In my opinion, there's no right wing, not any longer at least. And conservatives are too stuck in the past (in that sense they are no better than the Islamic Purists, i.e. Wahabbis).

    I also think we need a reformation of the Right/Conservatism though I'm still struggling with the role the so-called atheists play: is it possible to be a right winger and not have a belief in the Creator? If yes, then perhaps we need to expand the seats further to four camps: right front, right back; left front, left back?

    This is definitely food for thought. Thanks, Cris.

    Cheers

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  2. Tradition is what keeps societies in proper order. Having said this, conservatism is crucial to fight the left's licentiousness and permissiveness. Right wing? We don't need it if they are going to merge with socialists. Flexibility yes, giving in, no!

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    1. Um, "Tradition" has no inherent value. "Conservatives" only use "tradition" as an argument when they intend to lose.

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  3. Hello Cristina,

    Actually, left and right wing go back to the Athenian Democracy, thus, Xenophon (430-354BC) writes quoting a politician's defense of himself, "Name one instance, Critias, if you can, when I have joined forces with either the extreme left or the extreme right wing and helped them to deprive decent people of their citizenship." Something relevant to day as governments seek to deprive their citizens of their rights by granting the entire world those same rights.

    As for the main theme of the post, I in my usual oblique agreement: The left is moving leftward at Warp 10 and not all are able to keep up. Then there are those who naively believe that leftist is about caring for others, rather than that caring for other is simply a pretext for empowering the most corrupt elements of society. The Bernie - Hillary split represents this conflict well.

    But anyone who suggests that Fascism was conservative is already part of the post-conservative reality, since Fascism was the label for the all-wise superstate. Bother the EU and the US are fully committed to Fascism, both pre-WWII and afterwards. Thus, I agree that the EU doesn't really have a right wing and it is dying in the US. Much of the problem is that the schools are forbidden to teach any conservative beliefs, except as some malicious caricature. For example, national healthcare only works because the vast majority of the world's health R&D is pair for by the US, while deficit spending covers the rest of the illusion.

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    Replies
    1. The Xenophon quote comes from a work that is often called Helenica.

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    2. Hello Looney, thank you so much for the correction - I was obviously misinformed. I will add a note with this information to the article. In your opinion: did the Athenian left and right wings bear any similarity to the French ones, or was one case more virulent than the other?

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    3. Hello Cristina,

      I haven't tried to do a careful study of the nature of the right and left in classical times vs more recent ones. My instincts are that the situation is somewhat mixed. For example, during the time of the invasions of Darius and Xerxes, the Athenians were divided over the need to prepare for war, thus, we have some parallels with modern hawks and doves. The latter and dying era of the Athenian democracy featured "those who would sell the nation into slavery for a denarius" which seems to me like an early description of the modern social justice movement. But as I mentioned, this would require more study.

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    4. Looney, you gave me a good idea - thank you so much. There's no doubt there are many parallels but it would be interesting to know if our concept of political polarisation wasn't inherited from the French. I will definitely look into it. Again, thank you.

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  4. We don't have a right wing and conservatives are a damn joke. Where did the values go and what values are those? At least the leftists have an international group where they come up with the script for the world and they all follow it, but us what do we have? Nothing. Each right winger is different in different countries and we allowed the leftists to smear us cause we do not have a universal code! It's time to change, no doubt. But in what direction?

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    1. Carl, I am hoping that Max can organize a "Conservative Internationale". We really should have our own songs done by talented composers. Country Music?

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    2. Looney, LOL LOL LOL maybe you could help me with that? "Conservative Internationale"...it's catchy but the leftists would think we're copying them and G-d forbid it. How about ICCV "International Consortium of Conservative Values"?

      "We really should have our own songs done by talented composers. Country Music?"

      We should. Country Music...we need to put that to a vote :)

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    3. Max, these are the details where I am counting on someone like you with a more international viewpoint!

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  5. To all the other readers, thank you for your comments.

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