History Bite

Essay 3: Who Occupies the Right?

Essay III.  Who Occupies the Right?

Part III of a IV part series. Read Essay I or Essay II.

In review, the continuum of political power is fulfilled on the far left with totalitarianism and/or majority rule while the far right terminates with anarchism and unbridled individual freedom.  The American Right is primarily occupied by four groups (although not equal in representation or in number):  anarchists, libertarians, conservatives, moderate Republicans.  Few, very few, support anarchy simply because civilization cannot remain functional or in tact under chaotic conditions.  An example of the extreme right is the “sovereign citizen.”  Sovereign citizens do not accept the United States government as legitimate and therefore refuse to abide by the law as a regular citizen.  Libertarians adhere to law and order but seek to restrain the scope of government intervention and tenaciously defend the Bill of Rights but have little interest in promoting social values.  Conservatives, like libertarians, support economic freedom, limited government and are defenders of the Bill of Rights but additionally, conservatives seek to conserve traditional American institutions particularly societal moral structure and political values.  Republican moderates support economic freedom and defend capitalism but are less concerned with culture morality and social norms. 

The common thread binding all of these groups is their interest in individual liberty and their lack of desire to institute an all powerful government.  Generally speaking the Right reveres the principle of self-reliance, believes in personal guardrails and societal moral structure with laws and cultural norms to serve as a check on individual liberty.  The Left puts confidence in the government to regulate and enforce “good” practices and depends on law to shape “good behavior” fluctuating with the popular trends of the modern era.