Horseshoe theory and why the right is the new left and vice versa Watch

Davij038
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What is horseshoe theory? For a more in depth look at what this theory means look it up on Wikipedia, but in short the theory holds that tge far left and far right hold more in common with each other than with the so called centrist position. A number of tsr regulars disagree with it- I'm going to try and put my own spin on it.

Short version:

The left and right wing paradigms are now virtually useless or at least unrecognisable in regards to social attitudes for instance George Osbourne can be labelled a left winger whereas say Rod Liddle is a right winger despite economic policies far to the left of George's .

My proposed way of somplifying this is to introduce the paradigms Communitarian and Individualist as a way to make sense of the horseshoe theory and modern political discourse

CommmunitarIans: what links Peter Hitchens with Natalie Bennet? The belief that society has failed and that it needs to be changed in order for a truly free moral society can be built. The only difference is that hitchens's one is conceived from the past and Bennetts the future- In short then we as humans are not free under an immoral system as they see it, unites them. We cannot be free in a godless/ consumerist society.

individualists: what links Tim Farron and Douglas Carswell? Ultimately that we are free as we are and that any proposed morality should be down to the concerned individuals who are free to choose. We are free to follow our own conscience as it sees fit.


The right wing is the new left wing as initially the Tories were the guardians of public morality often based on a strict Protestant ethos. This has now largely changed to an individualist perspective as Libertarianism has become the dominant strand of right wing thinking.

The old left were classical liberals opposed to Tory sensibilities- they favoured opposing blasphemy laws and break Tory Protectionism. The New 'left' has changed drastically- now it is they who are the guardians of public morality who will disgrace Nobel laureates for impiously making off hand comments about gender- where the old right wing would try and ban offensive comedians for disturbing public decency you now have the new left boycotting musicians or comedians guilty of hate crime.


@bornblue ChaoticButterfly @rakas21 KimKallstrom
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username878267
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But their policies or ideologies are nowhere near similar - just their dislike of the 'centre ground' and the way things currently are. The Horseshoe theory seems to suggest that those on the hard right and hard left have similar views which they absolutely do not.
You can't really say Farage and Corbyn have any similar political/ideological views except maybe their distrust of the EU but for very different reasons. They both dislike 'the centre ground' and 'establishment' but again, for very different reasons.

I also think right v left is not a good scale. It's very outdated
I mean take the BNP for example, on social issues they're far right, on economic issues they are left - so it seems silly to assign them a label as either. It's just that in Britain we love things being black and white and being able to label them.
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Davij038
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(Original post by Bornblue)
But their policies or ideologies are nowhere near similar - just their dislike of the 'centre ground' and the way things currently are. The Horseshoe theory seems to suggest that those on the hard right and hard left have similar views which they absolutely do not.
You can't really say Farage and Corbyn have any similar political/ideological views except maybe their distrust of the EU but for very different reasons. They both dislike 'the centre ground' and 'establishment' but again, for very different reasons.

I also think right v left is not a good scale. It's very outdated
I mean take the BNP for example, on social issues they're far right, on economic issues they are left - so it seems silly to assign them a label as either. It's just that in Britain we love things being black and white and being able to label them.
Corbyn would be a left wing communitarian whereas Farage would be a right wing individualist. My theory shows indeed they are utterly polar opposites- although as Farage isn't far right (though he doesn't mind getting their votes) it isn't an apt comparison.

It isn't that they dislike the centre ground but that they are under the impression that society is essentially immoral and under the sway of hostile forces and that only their path offers salvation:


This article find it up well:http://www.thedailybeast.com/article...in-common.html
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username878267
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(Original post by Davij038)
Corbyn would be a left wing communitarian whereas Farage would be a right wing individualist. My theory shows indeed they are utterly polar opposites- although as Farage isn't far right (though he doesn't mind getting their votes) it isn't an apt comparison.

It isn't that they dislike the centre ground but that they are under the impression that society is essentially immoral and under the sway of hostile forces and that only their path offers salvation:


This article find it up well:http://www.thedailybeast.com/article...in-common.html
I see the theory behind it but not so the reality.
I wouldn't even say Corbyn is far left, some of his economic views such as railway nationalisation and investing in public services are quite 'centrist'.

What is interesting though is that the centre ground is losing it's grip, not just here but around the world. America being the classic example with Trump and Sanders looking increasingly popular.
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Davij038
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(Original post by Bornblue)
I see the theory behind it but not so the reality.
I wouldn't even say Corbyn is far left, some of his economic views such as railway nationalisation and investing in public services are quite 'centrist'.

What is interesting though is that the centre ground is losing it's grip, not just here but around the world. America being the classic example with Trump and Sanders looking increasingly popular.
My theory isn't taking into account economics at all- I see nothing overly terrifying with his economic policies as i said last time ( if the other three candidates had proposed then there would literally be no real issue) it's taking into account his political beliefs in that he feels the need to debate murderous Islamists but not a member of the bnp or when he views reporters quoting him directly as smearing.

Trump is Americas Corbyn
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username878267
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(Original post by Davij038)
My theory isn't taking into account economics at all- I see nothing overly terrifying with his economic policies as i said last time ( if the other three candidates had proposed then there would literally be no real issue) it's taking into account his political beliefs in that he feels the need to debate murderous Islamists but not a member of the bnp or when he views reporters quoting him directly as smearing.

Trump is Americas Corbyn
No Sanders is American's Corbyn. Trump is a racist, sexist bigot - Corbyn is not.

He got annoyed because what he said was clearly taken out of context. 'Friends' was a diplomatic term.

But what I find amazing is why other politicians get barely any scrutiny for selling arms to brutal regimes, while Corbyn may offer friendly words, they offer not so friendly weapons.
So I don't like some of the people he has associated with, but I'm not going to hold him to a higher standard then other politicians who do the same yet they get barely any media scrutiny.

It's also worth noting Corbyn was one of only 3-4 MPs in the 80s who voted against selling arms to Sadam and the Iraqi regime. The same weapons we went to war over...
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Rakas21
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(Original post by Davij038)
What is horseshoe theory? For a more in depth look at what this theory means look it up on Wikipedia, but in short the theory holds that tge far left and far right hold more in common with each other than with the so called centrist position. A number of tsr regulars disagree with it- I'm going to try and put my own spin on it.

Short version:

The left and right wing paradigms are now virtually useless or at least unrecognisable in regards to social attitudes for instance George Osbourne can be labelled a left winger whereas say Rod Liddle is a right winger despite economic policies far to the left of George's .

My proposed way of somplifying this is to introduce the paradigms Communitarian and Individualist as a way to make sense of the horseshoe theory and modern political discourse

CommmunitarIans: what links Peter Hitchens with Natalie Bennet? The belief that society has failed and that it needs to be changed in order for a truly free moral society can be built. The only difference is that hitchens's one is conceived from the past and Bennetts the future- In short then we as humans are not free under an immoral system as they see it, unites them. We cannot be free in a godless/ consumerist society.

individualists: what links Tim Farron and Douglas Carswell? Ultimately that we are free as we are and that any proposed morality should be down to the concerned individuals who are free to choose. We are free to follow our own conscience as it sees fit.


The right wing is the new left wing as initially the Tories were the guardians of public morality often based on a strict Protestant ethos. This has now largely changed to an individualist perspective as Libertarianism has become the dominant strand of right wing thinking.

The old left were classical liberals opposed to Tory sensibilities- they favoured opposing blasphemy laws and break Tory Protectionism. The New 'left' has changed drastically- now it is they who are the guardians of public morality who will disgrace Nobel laureates for impiously making off hand comments about gender- where the old right wing would try and ban offensive comedians for disturbing public decency you now have the new left boycotting musicians or comedians guilty of hate crime.

@bornblue ChaoticButterfly @rakas21 KimKallstrom
It's a theory that's easy for the public to take in on the basis that you can have a relative center rather than an absolute and i do agree that both the left and right have conflicting policies at times, especially when one looks at things socioeconomically rather than socially or economically (the far left supports free movement of labour, the far right supports labour market protectionism). Your correct that the left has currently claimed the word progressive in the same way that the right has claimed terms like aspiration and hard working).

Personally i've never agreed with the moving center though, to be me both Blair and Cameron are both of the right.

You raise an interesting point about party movement over time. What we've seen from the Conservatives in history to me is probably a political compass that looks like this..

0, +7 (Victorian Conservatives were quite open to unions and tariffs from an economic point of view despite the market ruling and taxes being low, socially we saw christian conservatism)
-3, +5 (From around 1890 to 1980 the Conservatives not only capitulated but at times led the charge in terms of government intervention, they built social housing, Churchill requested that Bevan come up with plans for an NHS, Christian conservatism largely remained)
+7, +3 (From 1980 to now for the most part we have a Conservative Party which has embraced economic liberalism but has also slowly become more socially liberal accepting racial and gender rights, passing gay marriage)
+3, -3 (This is i think the future, a broad belief in pragmatic economic liberalism but also a degree of social liberalism, in essence the Conservatives of 2050 will likely be the Victorian Liberal Party reborn)
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Mister Morality
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This theory is not reflective of reality. The reality is that all major parties begin to lean further left as time goes on, because the right just get on with life without mobilising against every bad idea. Also, communism and fascism as practiced by the Germans/Italians/Spanish/Russians, etc. were so similarly on the left. People who believe in the "Horseshoe theory" like to think that communism and fascism are polar opposites: protip, they're not.
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ChaoticButterfly
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Horseshoe theory is a load of ****e. It's about equating Fascism with the far left in the earlier part fo the 20th century. It isn't relevant and I strongly disagree with Fascism being 'far right' anyway. Considering Fascism was big on crushing worker unions and any kind of working class organizations it is a bit of a joke. The comparisons between what the Soviet Union and it's proxies turned into with Fascism is fair enough and is where it may apply.
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The_Mighty_Bush
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(Original post by Davij038)
Short version:

The left and right wing paradigms are now virtually useless or at least unrecognisable in regards to social attitudes for instance George Osbourne can be labelled a left winger whereas say Rod Liddle is a right winger despite economic policies far to the left of George's .
I see you haven't actually provided a definition of the left or of the right and you also haven't descripted the main fundamental differences between two sides of the spectrum.

I'll give you my take on it, a lot of which comes from Paul Gottfried's political epistemology, and then give some reasons as to why I think the horseshoe theory doesn't make sense.

I see the fundamental difference between the left and the right as being that the left favours equality as justice while the right sees hierarchy as either being just or necessary or natural. So the most right-wing government is absolute monarchy while the most left-wing is communistic. Now we see this in economic policy where the left wants a society that is as equal as possible while the right tolerates inequality or sees inequality of wealth and income as being just or normal in some way. We also see this in social policy where the left, for example, favours feminist equality while the true right sees there being a natural hierarchy in family structure with the man as head of the household. In a traditional society there is hierarchy everywhere. In the family, in the Church, in the political system, class hierarchy and the ultimate hierarchy of all with God above the whole human race. Seeing the right from the left in this way we can see that our societies as a whole are on the left of the spectrum because they have an egalitarian political system (democracy where every person's voice is counted equally) and we have feminism rather than patriarchy.

The other primary difference between right and left would be that the left generally believes that human nature is highly malleable and that if we get rid of inequality, bad institutions, economic systems that breed selfishness, patriarchy, etc. that humans will act much better towards one another and crime, poverty, immorality and violence will be greatly diminished. The right's view of human nature is much darker however. The right generally sees there as always and inevitably being a negative side to human nature that must be curbed, controlled, disciplined, etc. The right is less utopian in this sense in that they think a perfect human society is not possible simply because human nature is not perfect. This idea we can see in the Christian religion with the idea of original sin.

While there may be some similarities between the actions of left and right wing politics on some occasions. Usually we can tell apart left and right using the two criteria mentioned above. I don't think state power or totalitarianism is something that is unique to either the left or right even if it is usually found on the left. Neither do I think that economic policies are the best indicator of left and right because, as you mention below, the left in the 19th century contained many free market liberals. Now you may think I am contradicted myself by saying that because I've already mentioned that equality is the supreme value of the left but I don't believe I have because there are a number of things it is possible to be egalitarian about and with the political spectrum we are obviously dealing in broadstrokes. In my view the Chartists would be on the left because of their advocacy for universal suffrage even though there were advocates of a free market.

(Original post by Davij038)
My proposed way of somplifying this is to introduce the paradigms Communitarian and Individualist as a way to make sense of the horseshoe theory and modern political discourse

CommmunitarIans: what links Peter Hitchens with Natalie Bennet? The belief that society has failed and that it needs to be changed in order for a truly free moral society can be built. The only difference is that hitchens's one is conceived from the past and Bennetts the future- In short then we as humans are not free under an immoral system as they see it, unites them. We cannot be free in a godless/ consumerist society.

individualists: what links Tim Farron and Douglas Carswell? Ultimately that we are free as we are and that any proposed morality should be down to the concerned individuals who are free to choose. We are free to follow our own conscience as it sees fit.
The problem with communitarianism is that it is just too vague. All it really seems to mean is opposition to individualism but that could be inclusive of the vast majority of political ideologies known to man.

(Original post by Davij038)
The right wing is the new left wing as initially the Tories were the guardians of public morality often based on a strict Protestant ethos. This has now largely changed to an individualist perspective as Libertarianism has become the dominant strand of right wing thinking.

The old left were classical liberals opposed to Tory sensibilities- they favoured opposing blasphemy laws and break Tory Protectionism. The New 'left' has changed drastically- now it is they who are the guardians of public morality who will disgrace Nobel laureates for impiously making off hand comments about gender- where the old right wing would try and ban offensive comedians for disturbing public decency you now have the new left boycotting musicians or comedians guilty of hate crime.
The reality isn't that the left have taken over the guardian of morality position that you think that the Tories had but that we have moved to the left as a civilisation for the last 115 years at the very least. Political correctness doesn't resemble old moral standards because old moral standards were very rarely actually the preserve of the state. Those sort of moral standards i.e. traditional moral standards have been maintained in every traditional civilisation known to man and they weren't enforced through state violence on the whole.
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The_Mighty_Bush
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(Original post by Mister Morality)
This theory is not reflective of reality. The reality is that all major parties begin to lean further left as time goes on, because the right just get on with life without mobilising against every bad idea. Also, communism and fascism as practiced by the Germans/Italians/Spanish/Russians, etc. were so similarly on the left. People who believe in the "Horseshoe theory" like to think that communism and fascism are polar opposites: protip, they're not.
I think that fascism was generally on the right even if they were often economically interventionist and advocated a strong, centralised state. Yes, Mussolini's form of fascism took some ideas from Italian socialists but the biggest ideological influence was Pareto who used to be a communist but who then began to argue that oligarchy was inevitable in any human society and it is this anti-egalitarian vision that laid the foundations for the ideology of the Italian fascist state. Not to mention that they kept the monarchy. Hitler is a strange case since he had the most socialist of all the so-called "fascist" states and he took quite a lot of inspiration from Stalin's communist state however there are also right-wing elements to Nazism which make it a harder one to classify.

I would also say that the Francoist Spain was the archetypical 20th century right-wing state with its religious nature and authoritarian government. It is important to note as well that while Franco's Spain started out on the corporatist Mussolini inspired economic model that they significantly liberalised there economy in the late 50s and 60s.
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Mister Morality
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(Original post by The_Mighty_Bush)
I think that fascism was generally on the right even if they were often economically interventionist and advocated a strong, centralised state. Yes, Mussolini's form of fascism took some ideas from Italian socialists but the biggest ideological influence was Pareto who used to be a communist but who then began to argue that oligarchy was inevitable in any human society and it is this anti-egalitarian vision that laid the foundations for the ideology of the Italian fascist state. Not to mention that they kept the monarchy. Hitler is a strange case since he had the most socialist of all the so-called "fascist" states and he took quite a lot of inspiration from Stalin's communist state however there are also right-wing elements to Nazism which make it a harder one to classify.

I would also say that the Francoist Spain was the archetypical 20th century right-wing state with its religious nature and authoritarian government. It is important to note as well that while Franco's Spain started out on the corporatist Mussolini inspired economic model that they significantly liberalised there economy in the late 50s and 60s.
Do you think, perhaps, the fascist crowd give more credence to tradition than communists? Were there bloody revolutions for both regimes getting in to power in all fascist countries? I can't check on my phone but I do know that plenty of men were killed under Franco, most notably for not speaking Castellano. There is a resurgence of teaching Valenciano in schools now, which was banned under Franco. He wanted to coercively unionise the states by destroying their identity. I also know the monarchy was frozen and Franco's last action before dying was to reinstate the monarchy. The man clearly had a lust for power and saw himself as royalty.
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jape
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Horseshoe theories are for people too blinkered to accept that political ideology falls within a square, not upon a line.

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The_Mighty_Bush
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(Original post by Mister Morality)
Do you think, perhaps, the fascist crowd give more credence to tradition than communists? Were there bloody revolutions for both regimes getting in to power in all fascist countries? I can't check on my phone but I do know that plenty of men were killed under Franco, most notably for not speaking Castellano. There is a resurgence of teaching Valenciano in schools now, which was banned under Franco. He wanted to coercively unionise the states by destroying their identity. I also know the monarchy was frozen and Franco's last action before dying was to reinstate the monarchy. The man clearly had a lust for power and saw himself as royalty.
Yes, Id say that fascist regimes gave more credence to tradition certainly than communist ones (who often took the example of the jacobins to heart and reinventing calanders for example). Fascists also generally werent universalists which makes them even less likely to be like international socialists. Yes, there was suppression of other languages. Something that I'm not personally much of a fan of but I can see the logic in doing so after how the catalans, for example, were so often on the Republican side. Not many fascist regimes actually came to power as a result of revolution. I'd call the nationalist cause in Spain a counterrevolutionary coup d'etat rather than a revolution itself.
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there's too much love
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(Original post by Davij038)
What is horseshoe theory? For a more in depth look at what this theory means look it up on Wikipedia, but in short the theory holds that tge far left and far right hold more in common with each other than with the so called centrist position. A number of tsr regulars disagree with it- I'm going to try and put my own spin on it.

Short version:

The left and right wing paradigms are now virtually useless or at least unrecognisable in regards to social attitudes for instance George Osbourne can be labelled a left winger whereas say Rod Liddle is a right winger despite economic policies far to the left of George's .

My proposed way of somplifying this is to introduce the paradigms Communitarian and Individualist as a way to make sense of the horseshoe theory and modern political discourse

CommmunitarIans: what links Peter Hitchens with Natalie Bennet? The belief that society has failed and that it needs to be changed in order for a truly free moral society can be built. The only difference is that hitchens's one is conceived from the past and Bennetts the future- In short then we as humans are not free under an immoral system as they see it, unites them. We cannot be free in a godless/ consumerist society.

individualists: what links Tim Farron and Douglas Carswell? Ultimately that we are free as we are and that any proposed morality should be down to the concerned individuals who are free to choose. We are free to follow our own conscience as it sees fit.


The right wing is the new left wing as initially the Tories were the guardians of public morality often based on a strict Protestant ethos. This has now largely changed to an individualist perspective as Libertarianism has become the dominant strand of right wing thinking.

The old left were classical liberals opposed to Tory sensibilities- they favoured opposing blasphemy laws and break Tory Protectionism. The New 'left' has changed drastically- now it is they who are the guardians of public morality who will disgrace Nobel laureates for impiously making off hand comments about gender- where the old right wing would try and ban offensive comedians for disturbing public decency you now have the new left boycotting musicians or comedians guilty of hate crime.


@bornblue ChaoticButterfly @rakas21 KimKallstrom
It's a four axis thing, always has been.

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cole-slaw
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All talk of right and left is idiotic, full stop. Just talk about policies.
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