Let me share a viewpoint with you that might help explain some social, political and maybe marriage behavior. Let me begin by briefly explaining the concept of a continuum. A significant portion of becoming educated is looking at situations and attempting to break the whole into parts so we can better look at the parts, examine the parts instead of the whole, and try to see if the parts stand out in any way from other parts. Differentiation arises out of this process; in fact, it is the process of looking for differences and then defining them or explaining them as to how they are different. Differentiation is recognizing something that we think is different and separate in some unique way. If it is different, then that component may become important enough to use as an analysis tool.
Sometimes one factor which we think is unique also has a factor of degree. The concept of a person having a temperature is an ideal example. A high temperature might tell us to take some action like taking a medication or taking a person to the doctor or hospital.
Differentiation can also be expanded to present two different, and often times, opposite measures. Light versus dark is an ideal example. Then there are shades of gray in-between those two extremes. Many people remember better if the writer can offer some graphical image that really parallels what is being presented. I wish to present to you the concept of continuum and at each end are two opposing political views. To best offer a graphical image in your mind, think of this continuum as a horizontal line, ruler or board.
Let me first define the continuum. A measuring ruler, held horizontally, is perfect for showing this concept. The horizontal length is a scale of sorts. At either ends are opposite components, in this case, views. This really works when you find societal components that appear to be in conflict, typically opposites. Freedom and slavery would be a prime example. The ruler, in this case, is not a temperature gauge but a societal gauge. The continuum ruler allows us to place individuals and parties, in relative positions along that ruler as to their beliefs and actions. What is wonderful about the continuum analogy is we can typically “see” this ruler in our minds. People who have visual memory can really grab on to this technique. What is also important and implied by the use of the ruler analogy is that we can place people and society groups anywhere we want along this continuum. It is very important that you define what the two extremes are. Also implied is that this continuum significantly sweeps up, includes, a lot of the society we wish to talk about and may help us talk about and possibly explain political behavior of individuals and groups. In the prior example of free and slave, or, free and incarcerated, there are also degrees of how much freedom a person has or how many impediments are put upon a person that do not allow full freedom. In this case putting free on the left or right might not matter, just make sure you put them at opposite ends. But, there are some instances when one should place a defined social situation on the left or right of the ruler or scale.
“The terms “left” and “right” appeared during the French Revolution of 1789 when members of the National Assembly divided into supporters of the king to the ?president’s? right and supporters of the revolution to his left.”
In the Western world: “The Left seeks social justice through redistributive social and economic policies, while the Right defends private property and capitalism.”
I wish to share with you a personal suspicion I have behind why individuals in the United States, and possibly other nations, have right or left political views.
It should not be enough to make a drawing in our minds with two opposite factors placed at either ends of a ruler. We should endeavor to understand why the differences exist. What is the why or reason behind two factors being opposed.
Here is the view. I think whether you are a right continuum person or left depends upon, in part or whole, whether you are a “ME” and “I” type of person. Let’s put the “ME” person at one end of the ruler and the “WE” person at the other end of the ruler. The WE person is left and the ME person is on the right so that we follow the French and EU political seating arrangement.
Look closely at the Wikipedia use of words to describe the left; they are inclusive and recognize and embrace more people. Look at the words to explain the right. “Private” implies individual and family. The word “capitalism” implies valuing profit over the needs of society.
There are two basic forms of political views and philosophy that may result in different political parties. This is very close to be the situation in the United States but it also works for other nations, too. The concept starts out being extremely simple to conceptualize. The first is the view of “ME” a rather self centered view. The second view is “WE” which tends to include people outside my family, tribe and state. These two personal outlooks by individuals seem to translate and expand into a political philosophy similar to what is listed below. I will use only the word ME and US to represent the two opposing views.
We will next examine each separate end of the continuum,ME and We, in our next posts (soon to be added).