Right wing

From RationalWiki
(Redirected from Rightism)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Warning icon orange.svg This page contains too many unsourced statements and needs to be improved.

Right wing could use some help. Please research the article's assertions. Whatever is credible should be sourced, and what is not should be removed.

What better picture to start an article on right-wing ideology than him?
Sir, it is a well-known fact that young people are generally leftwing. It is also well-known that as people get older, they become more rightwing. It is also a fact that, as people get older, their brain cells die at a faster and faster rate. I would therefore like to propose that conservatism be classified as a degenerative disease.
—letter to the Guardian, 1970.[1]

Right-wing, which could also be cald as rightism (although such term is rarely used), is a catch-all term that refers to political ideologies that prefer to keep the status quo as intact as possible, in contrast to its more rebellious sibling, the left wing.

In the past, most "rightist" groups either sought a restoration of a previous monarchy or the creation of a fascist or authoritarian regime to "undo the chaos of democracy." Because the United States has never had a monarch or a totalitarian movement, "true" rightist groups in that country have been relatively few. However, the US government has helped fascists such as Pinochet come into power. However, another common component of rightism has not waned: extreme nationalism. Most rightist groups try to force out all immigrants and minorities[citation needed]. It is possible that in modern rightism, this form of nationalism is the only defining characteristic[citation needed].

Oh no, they're talking about
Icon politics.svg
As usual
Country sections
United States politics British politics Canadian politics Chinese politics French politics Indian politics Iranian politics Israeli politics Japanese politics South Korean politics


The label of "right-wing" came about in the context of the French Revolution: those who sat on the right-wing of the National Assembly[2] in June and July 1789 favored an essentially unrestrained aristocracy in terms of the power allocated to them, essentially wanting to either maintain or (later) restore the old order. They also tended to oppose the Enlightenment and secularism in favor of more conservative religious influence in government.

From the start of the 20th century onwards, more "populist" reactionary political philosophies such as ultranationalism/fascism, racial supremacy (often to a degree that was considered extreme even by the standards of the time), and politically-oriented religious fundamentalism started to overtake the increasingly unpopular extreme pro-Aristocrat agenda that made up what could be considered the former right-wing (now far-right). To what degree there is much of a difference between them in practice is up for debate and usually changes from country to country.


The center-right means that right-wing politics is close to centrism. A similar example is the "Center-left". Typical center-right ideologies include liberal conservatism[note 1], conservative liberalism, Christian democracy and some classical liberalism. Compassionate conservatism in the United States, and One-nation conservatism in the United Kingdom are similar to centre-right Christian democracy in Europe.

European liberals are economically close to the center-right because they value free markets, free trade and low taxes, but socially they tend to be center-left, with secularism and an open society. European liberalism differs from American libertarianism/classical liberalism, but there are many similarities. (European liberals are a bit financially conservative in American terms, but culturally liberal.)


Trump has changed the way the Republican Party sees the world. Republicans used to have a basic faith in the dynamism and openness of the free market. Now the party fears openness and competition...It’s not that the deals had changed, or reality. It was that Donald Trump became the Republican nominee and his dark fearfulness became the party's dark fearfulness. In this case fear is not a reaction to the world. It is a way of seeing the world. It propels your reactions to the world.
David Brooks[3]

The far-right or extreme right is a political label used to identify parties and movements based on fascist, racist, and/or extremely reactionary ideologies. Officially those on the far right embrace the concept of the "inequality of outcome", meaning that one group is naturally better than another. This can apply to everything from absolute monarchies to Nazism, meaning that many far-rightists oppose others on the far right who have a different idea of what the ruling class should be.

Much like the term "far-left", if you hear the term "far-right", it's almost certain to be a slur directed at a conservative.

In the 21st century, the far right in the Western world has increasingly drifted towards broadly authoritarian nativist thought, often influenced by former fascist movements.

Common opinions:

  • Inequality, both economic and social, between the different people is not only accepted but actively promoted
  • Anti-immigration, often combined with Islamophobia (Although Islamist groups like ISIS are by nature far-right, just not by Western standards) or other prejudice against the predominating ethnicity and/or religion of immigrants; in many cases, outright racism, such as white supremacy and/or ethnic-related conspiracy theories such as Holocaust denial, Eurabia and ideas about "white extinction". Historical far-right movements have included everything from anti-Chinese sentiment to anti-Catholicism and even prejudice against Nordic people.
  • Anti-rationalism, defending its pet beliefs even from reason
  • Anti-socialism and extreme anti-communism (as in endorsing conspiracy theories surrounding the subject or committing massacres against them), though in some cases supporting a limited welfare state and occasionally even "state capitalism"—except in the United States, where any sort of welfare (except corporate welfare, of course) is seen as communism. On the other hand, in the States, some paleoconservatives and laissez-faire types are more hostile to a welfare state and may desire to see the social safety net gutted entirely.
  • Nationalism, possibly including historical revisionism. More imperialist versions may, however, favor a world without borders instead, in that the nation encompasses all land on the planet. If the group in question is religious, nationalism may be outright rejected in favor of a global theocracy (as in Pan-IslamismWikipedia or some forms of Dominionism).
  • Anti-abortion and promoting childbirth (see also white extinction scenario)
  • Supporting family values and traditional gender roles, and is virtually always homophobic. However, this might also be inverted. Some may want to abolish traditional gender roles and promote feminism and LGBT rights by demanding to expel any minority they claim are actively upholding reactionary values that prevent these rights from being established (e.g., Party For Freedom). Quite often, however, these people aren't nearly as progressive on such issues as the left-wing or far left.
  • Tough stance on crime, to the extent of support for capital punishment
  • Environmentalism might be prevalent, especially in a "protection of home and soil" way, though other far-right groups champion anti-environmental sentiment (climate change denial, etc.). A more Christian Democratic approach to the environment ("protecting God's creation") can also be present in clerical fascism.
  • Questioning (or even outright rejecting) universal civil rights and human rights.
  • Reactionary beliefs that things were better some time ago (often before some major legislative change, such as civil rights laws). The "evil era" tends to be the 1960s, a period of great change in much of the Western World, whereas the "good old times" can be anything from the 1950s to pre-industrial times.[note 2]
  • A far-right group without even trace amounts of antisemitism is rare - even in places where Judaism is rare, and there isn't even Jewish immigration. Though more modern islamophobic and religious groups usually do the opposite and promote relatively aggressive forms of Zionism.
  • Racism - same as antisemitism above, almost always found, even in trace amounts.
  • Religious fundamentalism - Religion is often intertwined with far-right beliefs, even if said far-right beliefs conflict with their religious beliefs. However, some groups may also be radical anticlerics and perceive religious influence as endangering the secular state (e.g., Committee of Union and ProgressWikipedia).
  • Conspiracy theories - The far-right and conspiracy theories go together better than bread and butter.
  • Economically, far-right groups tend to promote markets with strong protectionist policies, leading them to oppose free-trade agreements. Distributism may be prevalent amongst more religious forms.


Right-wing liberalism[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Liberalism
Democratic corruption does not count, only Republican corruption counts (fact!)

Liberalism is generally divided into three branches, one of them being considered a left wing ideology -'social liberalism'-, whereas the other two remaining are regarded as a right wing ideology: 'conservative liberalism' and 'classical liberalism'.

Europeans typically use the term "liberal" to describe politics that draw on neoliberalism's basic touchstone of the individual operating in a free market economy, a notion similar to American libertarianism. These liberals oppose government regulation of the free market to promote the flow of goods in the market. While some might invoke "classical liberalism" rather than neoliberalism, it is important to note that some classical liberal thinkers like John Stuart Mill consider themselves socialists, with Mill writing an entire piece on socialism.[4] Smith's classical economics and the labor theory of value inspired various socialists such as Marx, making the libertarian wingnut Murray Rothbard consider him "proto-Marxian".[5]

However, the term 'liberalism' in the United States is often limited to 'social liberalism', denoting a much more leftist connotation to the word. but liberalism in Europe has all three meanings. "Liberal" is a term that has been subject to vast misuse by the American public. The right often accuses anyone to the left of Sarah Palin as being a "liberal", which they use like a snarl word. They treat it as an insult, often comparing liberalism to fascism. However, this is fundamentally contradictory, as "liberal" derives from "liber", which is Latin for "freedom". On the other hand, progressives also misuse the term often, referring to themselves as liberals. While both liberals and progressives may share socially liberal views on most of the same issues, liberalism as an ideology favors market solutions and a strong private sector. In contrast, progressivism is more regulatory and incorporates some moderate socialist policies. If there is a group similar to conservative liberalism or classical liberalism in the United States, there will be Rockefeller Republicans, Blue Dog Democrats, and moderate forms of fiscal conservatism.[6] Modern American Libertarianism would be considered a more radical form of liberal politics, often leaning more towards Laissez-faire than traditional neoliberalism. Modern American Libertarianism is similar to European classical liberalism.


...there was, in effect, a global threat to the power of the corporate capitalist class and therefore the question was, “What to do?”. The ruling class wasn’t omniscient but they recognized that there were a number of fronts on which they had to struggle: the ideological front, the political front, and above all they had to struggle to curb the power of labor by whatever means possible. Out of this there emerged a political project which I would call neoliberalism.
—David Harvey, author, A Brief History of Neoliberalism

Following the rise of Barry Goldwater in the 1960s, the United States began to pull toward the right. Though the socially conservative "Religious Right" would eventually swoop in and hijack the GOP from a new constitutional-libertarian establishment, the shift from the 60s onward occurred based on fiscal policy, free trade, internationalism, and economic freedom, made especially popular under President Richard Nixon during the liberalization of China. Key trade policies were enacted during the various administrations, accompanied by individual and corporate tax cuts (although Regan did raise it on the rich eleven times).

Deregulation of markets is a fundamental practice in all forms of neoliberalism. Certain sectors of the economy saw acute levels of deregulation under Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. The deregulation of the tech sector that occurred during Reagan's first term, for instance, led to unprecedented levels of economic growth and the rise of innovative new technologies, such as personal computers, video-game consoles, various appliances, the World Wide Web. However, besides deregulation of the tech industry, the 1980s and 1990s also saw the deregulation of big banks. It is believed that this was partly to blame for the gradual disappearance of the middle class. Especially by his second term, Reagan grew popular amongst many on the center-left. The influence of Republican neoliberals ultimately pulled those Democrats towards the center, such as Bill Clinton. The latter implemented liberal economic policies not too different from Reagan's second term. In doing so, Clinton presided over the largest economic boom in American history. This all came crashing down with the onset of the Great Recession in 2008. With the resurgence of the American left in the early 2010s, the subsequent Occupy movement, and the Bernie Sanders candidacy in 2016, this growing leftward movement began to strongly criticize establishment liberals as "neoliberals."

According to its leftwing critics, the neoliberals are strongly pro-capitalist, tend to fetishize the magical powers of "free markets" to solve all social or economic ills, and are allergic to class-based analysis or rhetoric. The liberal targets of these left critics often feel the term "neoliberal" is something that doesn't really exist except as a snarl word against them. Liberal pundit Jonathan Chait has made that argument.[7] However, this is technically not true, as the traditional "free marketers" (Reagan-era libertarians) were actually opposed to much of what the left accused "neoliberals" of doing - bailouts, corporate welfare, subsidies, protectionism, central banking, etc. To them, what the center-left called "neoliberalism" was, in fact, "Crony Capitalism".[8] As a result, the Occupy movement accumulated a sizeable libertarian presence, many of whom were former Ron Paul supporters in the 2008 presidential election.

Some pragmatic free-market capitalists adopt the neoliberal label and argue that "free market globalists" are the cure for what ails the world.[9] Leftists such as Sam Kriss are unimpressed and disdainfully dismiss such neoliberal claims as being nothing more than devotion to "untrammeled ruling-class power, an end to the class-collaborationism of the post-war years and a vicious assault of the rich against the poor...fiscal austerity and the penetration of capitalist relations into every possible facet of human life."[10]


See the main articles on this topic: Conservatism and Fun:Really embarrassing conservatives
The Gadsden flag. Symbol of Conservatism for most Conservatives.

A conservative on the political spectrum tends to be for the status quo, consistency, and traditional forms while being against change because it might be for the worse. In the gulag, the term has been conflated by many with very narrow social and religious prescriptions and co-opted by neoconservatism. During the 2008 election campaign, an article in Atlantic Monthly contrasted the old-fashioned conservatism of Edmund Burke with the right-wing radicalism of Newt Gingrich and company.[11]

Note that left/right and liberal/conservative are only regarded as synonymous in the United States (and Canada to a certain extent). Following a hung parliament in 2010, the Liberal Democrats entered a coalition government with the Conservative Party. In Australia, the Liberal Party are the direct analogs of the US Republicans or the UK Conservatives — they're economically liberal and socially very conservative. Explaining this to American conservatives tends to make their heads explode.


  1. Conservatives in the United States, if they are close to centrist or centre-right, can be described as "liberal conservative" in European political terms because they are usually rooted in classical liberalism.
  2. Historically these reactionary beliefs had always been there. The French far-right from 1815 to 1830 was well-known for its belief that the ancien regime was fantastic and that the radicals of the French Revolution ruined everything.