Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rule of thumb

It is a fact that authoritarian right-wing dictators will kill people in the thousands, whereas left-wing regimes will kill them in the millions and utterly destroy their countries. The reason is not some difference in morality between the two: it is that left-wingers are by definition ideological, while right-wingers are usually just reactionary (with exceptions: see Hitler or Khomeini, who were non-Marxist revolutionaries.)


XC said...

The distincion isn't left/right, but rather authoritarian/totalitarian -- a point made by the late Jeanne Kirkpatrick.

Deep Furrows said...

ok, so why do lefties tend to be totalitarian and the righties authoritarian?

Crossroads said...

precisely because usually the lefties are driven by some messianic ideology about how to fix the world, while usually the right wing has been a reaction against the leftist ideology. This dynamics goes all the way back to the jacobins and the reactionaries during the French revolution. In fact, it has been a dominant theme of modern European history.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure the distinction you're making is real and if so if the comparison is relevant. The first problem is what do you actually mean by right wing and left wing? For example it's immediately interesting that you don't include Hitler with 'left-wing'. People who call themselves socialist are usually immediately labeled as left wing. But more importantly you say that left wing dictatorships kill more people than right wing dictatorships. How much is this related to the size of the countries you're comparing?
Also, in general terms, right wing governments are more 'disengaged' with their population. In the worst case this simply means their are no checks on abuse by the ruling class. And vast quantities of poor people die from neglect or direct abuse by the ruling class. How would you factor that in.
Ultimately it comes down to who has the power and how is the abuse of power is controlled, not what flavor of politics the abusers claim to believe in.