What is the difference between left, right, liberal and conservative?

The main differences between the left and right ideologies center around the rights of individuals and the role of the government.

The terms liberal and conservative are used in the definition of the supported guidelines.

The left believes that society is better off when a government has a greater role, guaranteeing rights and promoting equality among all.

In turn, right-wing people believe that society progresses when individual rights and civil liberties take priority, and government power is minimized.

Let us now see the differences between liberal and conservative. While liberals have a more progressive view and in favor of change, conservatives have a more traditional view of the existing social order.

It is necessary to emphasize that the concepts right, left, liberal and conservative have changed a lot since its creation and that today the line between them is very tenuous. However, for the sake of comparison, we will focus on the guidelines that most resemble each of these political ideologies.

Left Right
Political philosophy Liberal. Conservative.
state It defends a larger State, which has the role of making society a place of equal opportunities for all. It prefers a smaller state, in order to allow space for individual initiative.
Companies Fight for greater regulation and taxes on companies. It advocates low taxes and less corporate regulation.
Economic policy Equal income, higher tax rates on the wealthy, government spending on social programs and infrastructure, more regulation in business. Reduction of taxes and less regulation of companies, reduction of public spending.
Public spending The left expects the government to guarantee social welfare, which is why its spending is high. It advocates reducing government spending and its welfare programs.
Equality of income Generated from proportional taxes on the rich to create income equality. The right believes that those who have the capacity and privileges to win must be free to do so.
Health Policy He believes that access to health care is one of the fundamental rights for all citizens and must be guaranteed by the State. It opposes the expansion of government health programs and leaves it to the private sector.
Abortion Generally in favor of family planning policies, legalizing abortion and stem cell research. Usually against abortion and against stem cell research.
Gay rights They generally support same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination laws. It is generally opposed to same-sex marriage.
Size of Arms In favor of disarmament. In favor of releasing the possession of weapons.
Examples of political parties in Brazil PT, PDT, PSB, PSOL, PCdoB. PP, DEM, PR, PSC, PEN.
Personalities Albert Einstein, Chico Buarque, Karl Marx. Margareth Thatcher, Adam Smith.

What is the Left?

Left-wing ideology holds that the government must guarantee the good of its citizens. For that, it must be big and strong, controlling all sectors of society, regulating companies and collecting taxes.

His ideas are inspired by socialism and communism.

What is the Right?

Ideology advocates less government participation in society, allowing the market itself to dictate its rules.

The right defends a greater individual responsibility of the people and autonomy of the companies, with less taxes and regulation.

Its theoretical basis comes from liberalism.

Main differences

The left believes that there must be an adequate tax payment system, where everyone must pay a specific amount of everything they earn.

On the other hand, the right believes that there should be less tax payments for people who produce more, as this could contribute to the well-being of society.

In the case of health and education, the left believes that the government should play a greater role, providing care facilities and a free and accessible educational system for all. On the other hand, the right thinks that these should be provided by private entities.

How did the terms left and right come about?

The political terms left and right originated in the 18th century during the French Revolution and are based on seating arrangements in the French National Assembly.

Those who sat on the left of the parliamentary president supported the revolution, opposing the monarchy. They were in favor of a radical change, which would lead to the end of the monarchy and give more power to the people. Therefore, this ideology is related to the workers’ struggle.

Those who sat on the right supported the old monarchist regime. The stronger their opposition to change and their desire to preserve traditional society, the more to the right they would be. Tradition, institutional religion and the privatization of the economy were considered the fundamental values ​​of the right.

Left and Right in current policy

Over the years, this division between right and left has become more complex, as new demands and interests have emerged. Thus, the concepts of right and left were no longer sufficient to define the political ideals of the parties.

So it was necessary to create other divisions to explain the different parties and their demands. The most used are: extreme left, left, center-left, center, center-right, right and extreme right.

Groups with more radical and extreme ideas are at the ends, while in the center are the parties that act more moderately and that have a greater electoral appeal.


by Abdullah Sam
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