In the recent weeks, there has been a harsh debate in Israel about new laws from the right-wing parties regarding the media and the Supreme Court. The media and the Left complain that a fascist wave is gaining momentum in Israel, that free speech is in danger and that our Supreme Court will lose its independence.
The Right argues exactly the opposite. In fact, the nightmare that the Left is describing is the current situation, just that it is the Left that is shutting mouthes by its control of almost all the media and the Supreme Court. The new laws are here to bring back more pluralism and democracy in Israel and give voice to the majority.
There is no doubt here that the Right is … right here and the usual hypocrisy of the Israeli Left reaches new heights.
But the issue I would like to bring is a bit wider. The Left/Right debate comes from the 18th century. The terminology itself of « right » and « left » was created during the French Revolution – when the monarchists seated on the Right side of the Parliament and the Revolutionnaires on the Left side. But the ideological roots are usually traced back to Hobbes and Rousseau and the debate about Man in the State of Nature.
That is the fundamental question that can explain the rift between Right and Left. According to Rousseau (I simplify, this is a blog), Man in the State of Nature is naturally good, happy and peaceful – this is the « good savage » myth, based on what appeared to be peaceful societies in the Pacific Ocean islands. Civilization is what corrupts men and the reason for violence, crime, immorality and all that is bad and evil. This vision is still very profoundly encroached in many of the left: that’s why they always try to blame crime or poverty or whatever on « society », why they always have excuses for terrorists and criminals. That’s not « their » fault, society, the western world, modernity are the real culprit.
On the other side, Hobbes claimed that the Natural State of Man was a war of « All against All ». Anarchy in its worst meaning, the rule of the jungle. Men without civilization tend to be brutal, evil, immoral, dangerous. That is why civilization is so precious but also so fragile. That is why we must defend it against its enemies and always be vigilant against those who try to undermine it from within.
Of course, what we call today « Left » and « Right » is not always the same as what we used to call in the past and also varies according to countries. But I think we can basically identity three political fields where there is a left and a right:
– Economics from socialists to free-marketers (liberals in the European meaning).
– Society issues from liberals (in the American meaning) to conservatives.
– Foreign issues from pacifists to hawks.
There is a correlation between all these fields, but not a complete one. Conservatives are usually free-marketers and often hawks. But you can also be a free-marketer and a liberal and a pacifist – that’s what would be called a libertarian. Or conservative, hawk and socialist – a communist. There are all sort of variations for all sort of reasons, some legitimate and soundly based, some less, but that’s not the point. The point is that there is a correlation underlining the fact that there is a Left and a Right « World View » deriving basically from the Hobbes/Rousseau conflict.
And now, science can help us prove who was right and who was wrong, as I will demonstrate, in the next post.