left-right continuum

Left-Right Political Continuumclick for a larger image
Fig. 17 Left-Right Political Continuum. The existence of a left-right continuum in politics is widely acknowledged, but this is also cross cut by a liberal-authoritarian dimension.

left-right continuum

the division between radical or ‘left-wing’ POLITICAL PARTIES and orientations on the one hand, and conservative or ‘right-wing’ political parties and orientations on the other, originally so-called because of the arrangement of seating in the two sides of the French National Assembly. Subsequently the concept has persisted as a general term referring to the spectrum of political orientations, despite the obvious oversimplifications involved in any assumption that political issues and political parties can be arranged on a single continuum. One reason why confining political analysis merely to a left-right division is an oversimplification is that other dimensions, such as the liberal-authoritarian dimension, cross cut the left-right dimension. See Fig. 17. See also AUTHORITARIANISM, POLITICAL ATTITUDES.
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