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Bob believes, politically speaking, in "equality of opportunity". He knows that in practical terms an individual's status can seem to convey certain inherent advantages or disadvantages, such as someone in a wheelchair having difficult in reaching to pick up things past a certain height as well as someone without hearing having trouble driving cars in certain traffic. However, Bob inherently thinks that people are all fundamentally both "equal" and "good" at an ethical level and thus wants a system of government in which every single person realistically has a chance to advance in social terms from birth onward. He knows that hard work pays off and so thus what happens in terms of actual outcomes can vary, but that's fine as long as everyone has decent respect for each other.

Is this "left wing"? Is this "centrist"? Is this "right wing"?

Steve believes, politically speaking, in "equality of outcomes". It's not enough that everybody is in something like a footrace with every participant at the same starting line. Everybody needs to finish at about the same place. Thus, the system of government should ensure a level field of success in which all people basically have the same amenities, same enjoyments, same perks, and more.

Is this "left wing"? Is this "centrist"? Is this "right wing"?

Donald believes, politically speaking, that "equality is a hoax". He firmly asserts that some people inherently choose to debase themselves due to poor moral worth to the point of which they don't deserve empathy from others. He strongly insists that certain ethnic groups, religions, sexual orientations, and so on deserve a higher status in society compared to others due to their innate superiority. He wants government to recognize this natural aristocracy in how people live.

Is this "left wing"? Is this "centrist"? Is this "right wing"?


Postscript: I picked those names at random. Not that it matters, but "Steve" makes me think of the 'Blues Clues' guy and I used "Donald" for the last one because I'm thinking about Donald Duck. That character is... kind of a buttface and might be irritable to the point of being a political extremist if he really existed? Maybe.


To me "left wing" would be the thought that the wellbeing of every individual in society should be guarded by the central government. Everyone has to pitch in to allow every person a basic standard of living.

"Right wing" to me is the thought that it's not a central's government's job to ensure the wellbeing of everyone. Everyone on their own is responsible for their own well being and the government should stay out of that. Restricting the government's role to pick up on stuff that are really only for the common good.

Centrist, I suppose is finding the balance in both?


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I would call Bob a centrist, Steve a leftist, but a very, very far leftist, and Donald is very right-wing.


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>Bob believes, politically speaking, in "equality of opportunity".
>Is this "left wing"? Is this "centrist"? Is this "right wing"?

>Steve believes, politically speaking, in "equality of outcomes".
>Is this "left wing"? Is this "centrist"? Is this "right wing"?
Far left.

>Donald believes ... that certain ethnic groups, religions, sexual orientations, and so on deserve a higher status in society ... He wants government to recognize this natural aristocracy in how people live.
>Is this "left wing"? Is this "centrist"? Is this "right wing"?
Far right.


A fair point. I essentially agree. Where would you two fall in terms of who you most agree with? Out of the three?


I strongly agree with Bob, and strongly disagree with Steve and Donald.


Which would be worse if applied by a new U.S. government... a Donald administration or a Steve administration? I wonder. I also personally agree with you.



>Bob believes...

Bob's belief that hard work not only has value but is destined to be worth the effort is essentially right wing.

>Steve believes...

Steve's belief that everyone needs to participate in the footrace is also essentially right wing.

>Donald believes

Donald's belief people can have varying levels of value is also essentially right wing.


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>Which would be worse if applied by a new U.S. government... a Donald administration or a Steve administration?
Hard to tell, probably would depend on the details.  
W.r.t. Steve: "Equality of outcome" would destroy a lot of incentive for excellence and instead promote mediocrity.  
W.r.t. Donald: Barring Asians, Indians, Jews, and LGBT from high-status STEM jobs would starve the country of talent that it needs.

Either would greatly the weaken the US compared to China.


I am Cuddly Bat.
I agree most with Bob, at this surface level anyway.


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Philosophically, I think the disagreement between Bob and Steve is a fair bit more nuanced in reality than is depicted here.

I think very few people are actually in favor of equality of outcomes in the strongest form. Rather, I think people vary in (1) what advantages and disadvantages society should try to correct for in trying to create equality of opportunity, (2) how far society should go in measures to create this equality of opportunity, and (3) how much (if any) of a minimum outcome level society should ensure for everyone. I think that whenever a person is described (even self-described!) as favoring equality of outcome, almost all the time they only favor a stronger form of equality of opportunity than the describer.

For instance, some people are just kinda dumb, or pretty incompetent at everything they attempt. In any fair competition between them and smart competent people, they will lose. If you want to set up society in such a way that these two groups can compete on an equal footing with each other, you will have to enforce a level of equality of opportunity so strong that it becomes a form of equality of outcomes in all but name.

As another example, some people are just lazy by inclination. The degree of willpower that a person can muster to do important but unpleasant tasks is something that varies quite a bit on a biological level, and it should be clear that this is a major inherent advantage in today's society that some people have to a greater degree than others. Is this something that equality of opportunity should account for? Should an equality-of-opportunity society try to ensure that the naturally-lazy will statistically have comparable levels of success as the naturally-industrious? Philosophically, I would consider this a case of equality-of-opportunity as much as being in a wheelchair, but in practice it is pretty difficult to help these people without it becoming full equality of outcomes.

Separate from all this, many people believe in equality of opportunity while still feeling that there is a minimum level of outcome that society should ensure for everybody -- such as not literally starving or freezing to death. Where does that fall on the division? If you and I both agree that there should be a minimum outcome level society should guarantee for everyone, but I set the bar for this level much higher than you do, someone can easily interpret me as being in favor of equality of outcomes, but I think that is not generally the case.

I think that generally speaking, left wing politics prefers both a broader scope of advantages society should compensate for than right wing politics, and to stronger degrees, as well as a higher minimum outcome level. But phrasing this divide as equality-of-opportunity versus equality-of-outcomes misrepresents the disagreement, I think -- I think very few people actually support equality of outcomes in the strictest sense.


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IMO, left wing/right wing discourse gets too into the weeds sometimes. It's hard mapping something so varied and multifaceted as a political system and map it onto a single sliding scale.

That being said, in my understanding, the left wing/right wing scale is something mainly concerned with social equality and hierarchies.

Furthest left wing stuff would be concerned with high social equality and a flat hierarchy. Stuff like, everyone being taken care of mostly equally, people not being seen as inherently "worth" more, with leadership and power positions based on mutual agreement.

Furthest right wing stuff would have almost inherent (even if not explicitly stated) differences among people and a strong hierarchy. Certain people are deserving of more or better positions based on things like gender, race, status, wealth, citizenship, landownership, etc etc. People lower on the hierarchy probably "deserve" what they get, esp if they're of a lesser position.

Based on this, from your examples...

Bob would be Left-Wing

Steve would be even further Left-Wing

Donald would be Right-Wing


I agree that there's quite a lot of nuance, especially in the terms that you've outlined, but I disagree that it's a misrepresentation as such to categorize things in terms of binary opposition, especially when you look at what happens when political ideologies are practically applied.

Light grey and dark grey are both grey, but they're still different.


Bob: Centrist.
Steve: Left.
Donald: Invalid.  One can believe in the justice of superiority of means of various groups, but can not assert that there's innate difference, at least for ethnicity.  There's more room for debate on some other categories.


I don't think that's quite true. Basically every single time there's a public social media discussion anywhere on the internet about intelligence there will be somebody in the comments or elsewhere talking about how different races have different IQ scores and thus are better or worse.


The first is perhaps left-leaning, dependant on how the particular policies work out, what should be done to ensure that equal opportunity, and what defines that.
But not "left wing" inherently.

The 2nd is much more obviously left wing, with the ideal of equality being a left wing value.

The 3rd isn't left wing, given the lack of that particular value.

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