Does "left" and "right" wing terminology have any meaning these days?

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Rakuen Growlithe
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Does "left" and "right" wing terminology have any meaning these days?

#1

Post by Rakuen Growlithe »

Sometimes it seems like "left" and "right" in politics has nothing to do with policies and everything to do with whether you agree with the person or not. They seem to function purely as tribal markers, e.g. if we identify as left then anyone that is good is left wing and anyone that is bad is right wing. I've had the issue of talking about political extremism in South Africa and Europeans immediately think I'm talking about right wing parties. It could also be that that's what they are familiar with but I think it's more to do with identity because people use "right" as an insult.

There was an article on Deutsche Welle which seems to show the same thing (https://www.dw.com/en/south-africa-face ... a-67305882). It's about xenophobia and violence in South Africa. It is a problem. What I found odd was that there were two subheadings about how the right is growing stronger but there's very few right wingers in South Africa, except maybe some Afrikaners. The governing ANC is literally in a long-term alliance with a communist party and the third biggest EFF is also very much left wing in their policies of state control, free healthcare, free education, free housing, etc. DW is actually forced to admit that when they say "Though the party takes a radical leftist approach to the economy, it is also openly xenophobic." Maybe I'm crazy but xenophobia has nothing to do with being right wing!? It may be true that many right wing parties are xenophobic but there's nothing inherently right about xenophobia.
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Re: Does "left" and "right" wing terminology have any meaning these days?

#2

Post by somnia »

I generally don't comment on political stuff as it usually gets out of hand very quickly, but I will indulgence a bit.

I agree, xenophobia has nothing to do with "left/right wing". It could be that writer of the artical is so called left wing and because the things the parties does goes against their believe, so they must be right wing, hence creating some sort of confusion? I might be not fully understanding thougn.

Regarding your question in the title... I don't believe it does, everyone is throwing the term around at any and everyone that disagrees with them. Though I do believe that this is just the minority, but the loudest people causing this.

// Slight joke to follow, please do not take it seriously...
Rakuen Growlithe wrote: Mon Nov 06, 2023 7:26 pm except maybe some Afrikaners.
Oi! Are you assuming my political alignment because I am afrikaans?!
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Re: Does "left" and "right" wing terminology have any meaning these days?

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Post by Washburn »

somnia wrote: Mon Nov 06, 2023 8:54 pm
Rakuen Growlithe wrote: Mon Nov 06, 2023 7:26 pm except maybe some Afrikaners.
Oi! Are you assuming my political alignment because I am afrikaans?!
I think he are doing so to me too my bra. We is gonna have an altercation this kant.

Just kidding haha. Just had to flex my broken English / Afr accent.
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Re: Does "left" and "right" wing terminology have any meaning these days?

#4

Post by Galahad »

I find "far right" is used as a sort of quasi-slur against anyone who happens to be a bit unfriendly to people unlike them, lol. Never mind that one can be socially left- and economically right-leaning, like a few conservative gay furries I know. Or that some of the most anti-social behaviour I've seen has also come from the left.

South Africa's mainstream political discourse is overwhelmingly left, if we are using US terminology. Drive down any main road before election season and have a look at the promises on the posters. It's far more often than not socialist, centralist (not centrist) or promises of a welfare state (in an economy where about half are on welfare grants, while less than 40% pay any income tax at all). And of course, the growing dialogue of such things as land expropriation without compensation, BEE etc. etc.
Even parties commonly decried as "far right" like the FF+ are mildly conservative, such that I no longer take the label seriously. The DA is a sort of centrist mixed bag, with some socially liberal takes and some economically conservative takes.
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Re: Does "left" and "right" wing terminology have any meaning these days?

#5

Post by Rakuen Growlithe »

Galahad wrote: Sat Nov 18, 2023 7:53 amNever mind that one can be socially left- and economically right-leaning, like a few conservative gay furries I know.
I think this is a general problem. People become so obsessed with labels that they start treating the label as the truth instead of what the label is meant to represent. It's a convenience thing, especially for something complex like politics. I would imagine that many, if not most, people hold ideas from both the traditional left and right. I don't identify with either group because I think they are both filled with nonsense but I hold ideas from both sides. It's limiting when people get too focussed on the labels that they think that one has to choose from a set menu of ideas instead of an idea buffet.
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Re: Does "left" and "right" wing terminology have any meaning these days?

#6

Post by somnia »

Rakuen Growlithe wrote: Sat Nov 18, 2023 11:27 am
I think this is a general problem. People become so obsessed with labels that they start treating the label as the truth instead of what the label is meant to represent. It's a convenience thing, especially for something complex like politics. I would imagine that many, if not most, people hold ideas from both the traditional left and right. I don't identify with either group because I think they are both filled with nonsense but I hold ideas from both sides. It's limiting when people get too focussed on the labels that they think that one has to choose from a set menu of ideas instead of an idea buffet.
It is almost like the world isn't just black and white hey?

This is what I don't like about labelling things like politics or people. You will almost never get someone or an idea that is just x or y, there will always be some interpretation or sliding scale.
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