Right Without Left Is Like a Magnetic Monopole

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2016-04-24 – Yin and yang. People like to talk about how opposite forces are actually complementary to another . . . but not in politics. The noisiest of us like to be as opposite as possible.

At least on the right.

When I was in college, the right-wing president was Republican Richard Nixon. Okay. He wasn’t as right wing as Barry Goldwater. But he was the guy who really embraced the so-called Southern Strategy of pandering to right-wing southern voters turned off by the Democratic Party because of Lyndon Johnson’s efforts to get the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act made into law.

As conservative as we thought Nixon was, seen from today you’d have to put him to the left of Bernie Sanders. . . . Well, not quite. But close.

Since Nixon’s time and, especially, since Ronald Reagan’s time, there has been an organized effort by the right to pull the national conversation ever rightward. Left-leaning folk like me end up yearning for the old middle. At least get us back to the middle.

You can’t have a right without a left or a north without a south.

Physicists have tried to separate north from south. Magnetic objects in this world have a north and south pole. Fragment these objects down to the atomic level, north and south remain inseparable. The so-called magnetic monopole—a north without a south—remains undiscovered.

In politics, the left and right seem basically to be organized around two opposite principles of human behavior: competition and cooperation. The right-wing sees human nature as only competitive. We are inherently selfish. The left sees competitive behavior as evil (humanistically speaking, of course) and sees cooperation as the ideal.

But can you separate the two?

Think of a sports team. The team tries to win against its opponents. That’s competitive behavior. But to accomplish the win, the team members need to cooperate. That’s teamwork. Without teamwork, the team forfeits its competitive goal. You can’t separate the two.

Could that be true in politics?

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