Method, not attitude, marks the political divide

People on the Left, at least in the UK, take the view that the difference between themselves and those on the centre-right comes down to a difference in attitude.  They appear to think that they care for the poor, the deprived, the minorities, and the immigrants, whereas those on the centre-right care only about the rich, the fat cats, the successful, and those who can bend government to boost their profits.

This justifies some of the left, in their own eyes, in hating those on the centre-right as people without virtue, people who can be despised, shouted down, spat at, or physically assaulted.  Since the left thinks it has a monopoly on human values, opponents are deemed to be entitled to no human or civil rights, but treated as contemptible scum.

This not only degrades politics, it also chokes off any rational argument, reasoned discussion, and the possible exposure of errors.  It is a regrettable development, and one that itself is based on a factual error.  It is not a difference in attitude that separates the left from the centre-right; it is a difference in methodology.  Many, if not most of those on the centre-right care as much for the fortunes of the poor and deprived as do many on the left.  The difference lies in what the two sides think can be done about it. 

The left typically favour the use of state power through high taxation, nationalization and the fixing of prices.  The centre-right typically favour relatively free markets, private enterprise, and prices that respond to changes in supply and demand.  Their case is that these usually achieve more sure and more rapid economic growth than can be attained by collectivist planning and state controls.  The left pursue greater equality, whereas the centre-right seek to promote greater opportunity.

Those on the centre-right tend to espouse a real-world approach based on what achieves results in practice.  The left, by contrast, tend to follow an idealized concept of what the world could be like.  The centre-right point to the huge gains in living standards achieved across the world by following their policies, and to the failure of countries that have taken the leftist course.  They point to the numerous examples, from the Soviet Union to Venezuela, of the economic chaos, the shortages and the misery that have followed leftist methodology.  The poor and the deprived are not aided by such policies, they point out, the more so since they often go hand in hand with repression.

The centre-right’s methodology is what separates it from the left, and they regard the difference as being between what works in practice and what does not.