A Guide to Basic Differences between Left and Right

Some opposing definitions in the American political lexicon:

Source of Human Rights     

Left: Government

Right: The Creator

Human Nature

Left: Basically good (therefore society primarily responsible for evil)

Right: Not basically good (therefore the individual primarily responsible for evil)

Economic Goal

Left: Equality

Right: Prosperity

Primary Role of the State

Left: Increase and protect equality

Right: Increase and protect liberty


Left: As large as possible

Right: As small as possible

Family Ideal

Left: Any loving unit of people

Right: Married father and mother and children

Guiding Trinity

Left: Race, Gender, Class

Right: Liberty, In God We Trust, E Pluribus Unum

Good and Evil

Left: Relative to individual and/or society

Right: Based on universal absolutes

Humanity’s Primary Division(s)

Left: Rich and poor. Strong and weak

Right: Good and evil Ideal

Primary Identity of an American

Left: World citizen

Right: American citizen

How to Make a Good Society

Left: Abolish inequality

Right: Develop each citizen’s moral character

View of America

Left: Profoundly morally flawed, inferior to any number of European countries

Right: Greatest force for good among nations in world history


Left: A social construct

Right: Male and female

Most Important Trait to Cultivate in a Child

Left: Self-esteem

Right: Self-control

Worth of the Human Fetus

Left: Determined by the mother

Right: Determined by society rooted in Judeo-Christian values

Primary Source of Crime

Left: Poverty, racism, and other societal flaws

Right: The criminal’s malfunctioning conscience

Place of God and Religion in America

Left: Secular government and secular society

Right: Secular government and religious society

American Exceptionalism

Left: Chauvinistic doctrine

Right: Historical reality

Greatest Threat to the World

Left: Environmental catastrophe; currently global warming

Right: Evil; currently Islamist violence

International Ideal

Left: World governed by the United Nations, and no single country is dominant

Right: World in which America is the single strongest entity

Primary Reason for Lack of Peace in Middle East

Left: Israeli settlements in the West Bank

Right: Palestinian, Arab, Muslim denial of Jewish state’s right to exist

Purpose of Art

Left: Challenge status quo and bourgeois sensibilities

Right: Produce works of beauty and profundity to elevate the individual and society


Left: Ideally universally abolished except for police, armed forces, and registered sportsmen

Right: Ideally widely owned by responsible individuals for self-protection and protection of others


Left: Intrinsically significant

Right: Intrinsically insignificant

Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Diversity at Universities

Left: Nothing more important

Right: Far less important than ideological diversity

Black America’s Primary Problem

Left: Racism

Right: Lack of fathers

Greatest Playwright

Left: Entirely subjective. There is no greatest playwright

Right: Shakespeare


Left: “War is not the answer.”

Right: Sometimes the only answer to evil


Left: Wrong except when directed at the political Right

Right: Wrong except when directed at evil


Left: All equal

Right: Some are better than others.

America’s Founders

Left: Rich, white, male slave-owners

Right: Great men who founded the greatest society

Purpose of Judges

Left: Pursue social justice

Right: Pursue justice

National Borders

Left: A relic of the past

Right: Indispensable to national survival

View of Illegal Immigrants

Left: Welcomed guests

Right: Illegal immigrants


Left: Nature intrinsically valuable

Right: Nature is made for man.


— Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His latest book, The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code, was published by Regnery.

He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.

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