The Real Reason Left And Right Seem To Be Living In Different Worlds

Written by Allan Erickson on October 18, 2018

One of the glaring differences between Conservatives and Leftists is in the way we view human nature and personal responsibility.

Leftists believe humans are essentially good but they are injured and damaged by the world, by other people, by racists, and homophobes and others who exploit and drain away the essential goodness people are born with.

Therefore, if someone turns out to be a criminal, for example, that is not that person’s fault. Becoming a criminal is not a matter of that person making bad choices so much as it is the fault of society, the fault of that person’s cultural and societal influences.

Consequently, the Leftist believes the solution lies in changing the culture, changing the society, changing the politics involved in order to preserve and promote the inherent goodness found in people from birth. Good people are born into the world but they are victimized by others and by social structures reflecting the bias, hate and discrimination inherent in the powerful and the privileged.

The companion belief is that government, and only government, can make the changes necessary in order to preserve and promote inherent goodness. In all this, the Left assumes a god-like role: defining human nature, diagnosing human problems, and prescribing solutions or cures. For the Left, these combined elements have become their religion.

Conservatives have an entirely different approach, so it is no wonder the assessments of problems and the proposed solutions are very different.

Whether practicing Christians or not, Conservatives, like the Founders, hold a biblical view of human nature. That view describes even a newborn as sinful. Given the fall of man, people are naturally inclined to evil. Therefore, the arrangements of government, and the foundations of law are different in the Conservative mind.

Likewise, the idea of personal responsibility.

For example, the sin nature is the basis for the Constitutional notion of separation of powers. Sinful people crave power, and when they get it, they misuse it. This is a central lesson of history, which the Founders knew full well. Consequently, our state and federal governments are structured to share power via various branches of government, and those powers are checked or restrained by the rule of law. The entire idea is to limit government power so that sinful man is frustrated in his attempt to create a dictatorship.

So for the Conservative, government is not the cure for social or individual ills, and merely changing culture via politics will not solve the sin problem.

Rather, Conservatives believe that free people seeking the source of love in God will grow into good citizens, so long as they take personal responsibility for their actions.

This is a key difference between Conservatives and Leftists as well: Conservatives urge individuals to face their own sin and deal with it; Leftists blame shift their sin onto society, demanding that society do something about it.

Conservatives admit their insufficiency, asking for help. Leftists assume they are all sufficient, rejecting help from above.

Conservatives understand that our constitutional republic is messy, but it is the best structure for the preservation of liberty and prosperity. Conservatives are content to let voters determine policy and content to trust the rule of law to maintain order. They realize the ballot box is the only road to self-government.

Leftists believe they have a right to engage power politics, to muscle others, even to employ violence, to achieve their goals, for they believe in their own divine right to rule.

One worldview has been proven successful time and again, but the other worldview demonstrates failure over and over, and not just failure. It often leads to war and devastation, for when tyrants attempt to enslave free men and women, one or the other must prevail.

Image: CCO Creative Commons; Excerpted from:

Allan Erickson
Allan Erickson---Christian, husband, father, journalist, businessman, screenwriter, and author of The Cross & the Constitution in the Age of Incoherence, Tate Publishing, 2012.