There are many reasons political pundits say the United States is a center-right country. None of them hold up to scrutiny. First, let’s start from the origin of the Left-Right construct:
- “The Left” refers to the left side of the French Revolutionary Assembly — who favored a democratic republic.
- “The Right” refers to their opponents — who favored a return to absolute monarchy.
Just starting there, even the most conservative Americans are much further left than we generally acknowledge.
- Libertarianism cannot fit into “The Right”;
- small-town local government as the leading lever of national decision-making cannot fit into “The Right”;
- pro-business conservatism cannot fit into “The Right”;
- the right of the people to compel government to tax the people less would have no place under the autocracy of the original “Right”;
- religious liberty has no place in the absolutist mindset of “The Right”, where the monarch claims to be a political agent of God’s will.
In its original sense, “The Right” is antithetical to American democracy. Shocking as it may seem, in the true sense of the Left-Right construct, Americans who favor climate action, or the principle that Black Lives Matter, or who want tax fairness, or who defend the 2nd Amendment, are all more “Left” than “Right”, because they believe people’s aspirations, priorities, and justice, should govern, not the whims of autocrats.