* Who is a ´leftist´ and who is a ´rightist´?

Left and right – two notions used very frequently by politicians, journalists, and common people. Notions the content of which everybody intuitively knows clearly but which only a few are able to explain without ambiguities. Historians would definitely point out historical connections related to the origin of the notions in the times of the French Revolution and their development in the context of the development of modern societies; political scientist would probably contribute with the aspect of power distribution in fight for power and its development; a politician might manage with simple comparisons of the We and They type; and in daily speech, we would probably most often meet with popular names of political parties and expressions such as social security, etc.

 

Although the typical perception of political space as a scale leading from the left to the right is common and widespread, it is not the only pattern of ordering political entities or opinions. Also, as certain authors think, it is an outdated notion that does not offer a precise view of the real distribution of power and opinion environment in politics. In its times, it functioned as a relatively reliable model of political reality. However, the era of its fame has already passed away. It is therefore even more surprising with what inertia both notions remain within the repertoire of common language. The leftist is therefore still an expression describing a person promoting – among other things – the widest possible social securities that the state should provide, while a rightist most frequently describes a person who would restrict state paternalism to the maximum degree and who would leave the care for his/her fate to individuals as much as possible. Usually, the assumption is that both ideal types are opposites positioned at the opposite margins of an imaginary scale. Each of us is then left-oriented or right-oriented according to such model.

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