People across the world are being characterised as Leftists and Rightists in so many discussions and that also deridingly.
Let us look what a Centrist is so that we can define the Leftist and Rightist accordingly. The Oxford Dictionary puts it as, “A person who holds moderate political views”. That brings us to another question about what moderate is. Oxford Dictionary gives it as, “Make or become less extreme, intense, rigorous, or violent”.
Lets refer the Oxford Dictionary to find the definition of Leftist and Rightist as well. They are,
Leftist: A person with left-wing political views.
Rightist: A person who supports the political views or policies of the right-wing.
Its still confusing. The definitions have thrown new words, left-wing and right-wing. Lets look into them as well.
Left Wing: The radical, reforming, or socialist section of a political party or system.
- Radical: Relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something.
- Reform: Make changes in something, especially an institution or practice, in order to improve it.
- Socialism: A political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
Right Wing: The conservative or reactionary section of a political party or system.
- Conservative: Averse to change or innovation and holding traditional values.
- Reactionary: Opposing political or social progress or reform.
Using these definitions, we can now define the Leftist and Rightist as,
Leftist: A person who is averse to the prevailing traditional system and believes in improving it drastically so that the entire society benefits equally.
Rightist: A person who believes in the existing traditional system and opposes reforms against it.
If you look at you, your friends, your relatives, your neighbours; you will find the Leftist and the Rightist residing in the same person. We want radical changes in certain matters while we want some others to be kept unchanged.
But when we think politically, we conveniently interchange Leftism with Communism and Rightism with Religion. If Oxford Dictionary and the definitions we arrived at are to be believed, these parallels are not only inadequate but quite incorrect as well.
As a political leader (for that matter any other person as well), being at any of the extreme ends can be inconvenient and inappropriate. It would be a distress for the citizens who are not on the same end as him/her.
You may ask what are the drawbacks of both ends. The biggest drawback of both the extreme ends is Extremism and the associated Violence. Both sets of people, the ones who want radical changes and the ones who oppose all sort of changes, do wholeheartedly accept one intense doctrine; the doctrine of using force to make everyone toe their line. Another drawback is that both the systems have been abject failures historically.
Ideally, a political leader should be a centrist. But Physics tells me that Ideal Conditions are always hypothetical. In this case also it won’t be applicable and useful.
So, I believe, a political leader and for that matter any person should be Centre – Leftist.
- He should uphold the necessary and upright traditional values (not everything is bad).
- He should have unprejudiced, impartial and logical lookout to different matters in his hand.
- And lastly he shouldn’t be averse to reforms (Change is the only Constant).