Since both the political far-"Right" and far-"Left" are wrong in America, let’s examine why they are wrong and postulate what is socially, politically, and morally correct.
At the outset, we need understand that there are no such entities as "political Right and Left"; these terms describe social, political, and moral positions held by individuals who adhere to opposing positions. For our purpose, however, these individuals en masse are like-minded enough to constitute formidable factions wielding powerful influence in our culture and can be addressed in popular vernacular.
We must tread carefully in this examination because people on both sides are deeply entrenched emotionally in their positions, so pushing against both will cause resistance from both.
Nevertheless, an alternative to both is worthy because America is in an ideational civil war, yet peace is possible if divided individuals would think rather than feel their way into social-political-moral positions. Emphasis will be on "moral," here, because both sides claim an ethical righteousness to their causes that allows attempts to use laws-of-the-land coercing everyone to their agendas.
We also must recognize that there are good, honest individuals on both sides simply mistaken in premises through errors of knowledge or judgment and go along with the extremists out of habit or insufficient thought.
So even though we start with valid generalizations, we need remember they don’t apply to everyone in either camp but still set the stage accurately for legitimate probes.
Stereotypically, the far-progressive Left isn’t concerned with personal morality — pretty much anything goes — but focuses on group victimization (race, gender, ethnicity. etc.), which offers a pseudo-"morality" serving a "social equity" schema by blaming no individuals for harming others such as burning and looting property but exonerates groups (BLM/ANTIFA) who destroy in the name of "justice" against perceived or fabricated prejudicial "oppressors."
As noted, they also push for laws forcing adherence to "victimized" group privileges.
Stereotypically, the far-conservative Right finds guidance for social-political-moral behavior in faith-based religious doctrines. The religiously motivated anti-abortion position (based in a religionist, non-scientific view of the unborn) is the most glaring example because if made into law by government edict affecting all women, such law would over-ride personal morality entirely and prevent every individual woman of any opposing religious or secular philosophy from deciding issues concerning her own primary property, her body.
The above emotionally explosive hot-button examples for both Left and Right are used deliberately, here, to dramatize the mirror-like fundamental nature of the conflicts because both camps are driven by beliefs — one based on secular group-identity dictums and the other based on religious-doctrine dictums but both attempting to dictate moral behavior unilaterally for the entire populace.
The Left goes so far as to support criminal physical violence against non-believers in their particular causes, and the right goes so far as to dictate what personal violence — pregnancy and bearing an unwanted child — a woman must commit to her own body.
A third alternative — a liberty-for-all and individual-rights-oriented position that resolves the opposing forces of group-oriented positions versus religious-oriented positions — can be found by identifying which other social, political, and moral behavioral model would be applicable to every individual, harm none in the process, and leave dictums and force entirely out of the equation.
We start with Aristotle, who over 2,000 years ago identified reason — noncontradictory thought — as the tool of survival for humans. Since humans do not have instinct to provide innate instructions for survival, we each must decide what is best for successful living.
The ability to reason is an inborn faculty but must be activated volitionally and practiced consistently. If reason is not utilized, emotions will take over the decision-making process.
Emotions are automatic psychosomatic responses to stimuli — in the Left-Right cases the stimuli being people with different ideas — based on values selected via reason or randomly accumulated via family, friends, or other outside influences. Emotions can be rational or irrational, life-serving or life-defeating, causing happiness and fulfillment or misery and anger.
Since reason must be utilized individually to select values, it is irrational to mindlessly adopt values (and opinions) via group demands — the far-Left— or to adopt values (and opinions) via religious demands — the far-Right. One might — via reason — agree with certain values (and opinions) of any given group or religion, but to adopt values (or opinions) automatically via emotions is nonproductive personally and usually harmful to others physically or socially.
So, what is a solution to stop social-political-moral conflicts between Left and Right, thus ending their ideological war against each other, a war that harms everyone, Left, Right, and independents caught in the crossfire?
The answer lies in the third way alluded to above.
Consistently rational thinkers may realize this by their own wits, but the answer also has been codified by a 20th-century American philosopher who expanded Aristotle’s identification of reason as the human tool of survival to include a methodology as to how individuals can chart their own personal paths to happiness and fulfillment and at the same time get along socially- politically-morally in a respectful, peaceable manner.
That philosopher is Russian-born novelist Ayn Rand.
To state the core of her philosophy succinctly, Rand’s "Objectivism" holds that no individual (or government) may initiate force against any other individual (or their property), and every individual has the right to think or do anything they wish as long as they do not infringe on the right of others to think or do anything they wish without infringing on the same right of others.
One may disagree with other aspects of this philosophy, but if both far-Left and far-Right individuals would adhere to this one central and sensible behavior of respecting the individual rights (and property) of others, they would have to stop forcing — or forcing by government edict — their own social-political-moral values upon any other individual.
And peace would prevail.
Alexandra York is an author and founding president of the American Renaissance for the Twenty-first Century (ART) a New-York-City-based nonprofit educational arts and culture foundation. She has written for many publications, including "Reader's Digest" and The New York Times. She is the author of "Crosspoints A Novel of Choice." Her most recent book is "Soul Celebrations and Spiritual Snacks." For more on Alexandra York, Go Here Now.
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