Short Take: Quality Vs. Equality
Follow me on Twitter: @FromKulak
The key difference between Left and Right is that the Left believes in Equality whereas the Right believes in Quality.
This sounds like a Glib joke until you remember the ancient meaning of "Quality"... Men of quality, nobility, distinction excellence, achievement... you can read stories of knights in works such as Le Morte De Arthur turning to each other after a duel in which both were wounded but survived, and praising each other's "Quality" promising to sing of each other's distinction, such that all future challengers will know of their quality before ever they meet them. In this Malory was continuing a tradition of noble friendship and respect that even in his time was 3500 years old, dating back to Gilgamesh, and the duel between that first Hero and Enkidu, the wildman who'd become Gilgamesh's dearest friend. Though Malory could not have known how old his inspirations were...
How deeply this love of quality in and of itself is embedded in the earliest primordial dawn of Western civilization.
This quality the right values may be the inherent quality that a hereditary nobility maintains, a living cultural tradition, functional institutions, a system of governance... but not always. There are some hereditary elites that are purely corrupt and are "noble" in name only, there are some traditions that are entirely degenerate, some institutions purely parasitic, and some systems of governance utterly broken.
What defines the right is not Tradition or "Conservatism" Often there is something worth conserving, but many times there is not... What traditions and institutions are there to conserve in the aftermath of a communist collapse?
There is an entire history of revolutionary right-wing movements that aim to overthrow corrupt egalitarian states in the name of reestablishing, or building entirely new, regimes of Quality. Napoleon, Augustus, or Alexander, it can be argued achieved just that.
What unities and distinguishes the right, is not caution, not timidity, not "conservatism", not even religiosity, or loyalty... but a conviction and belief in quality. That some things are better than others, that excellence is worth striving for, whether in fitness, business, martial prowess, religious conviction, or household horticulture. The ownership of results and belief in distinction... from the most modest of domestic endeavors to the grandest of the economic and political... that is what distinguishes the right, and that is where intra-right conflicts originate: from rivaled ideals of quality...
The believers in exceptional industry, exceptional social-cultural commitments, exceptional stewardship of the land, and exceptional faith often fall into conflict...
But you will notice prior to 1791, and certainly prior to 1642... Every single regime and faction in all nations in all times would be considered "Right-wing".
Whether it be Alexandrian pan-Hellenism, Spartan Military isolationism, Carthagian Merchant Slavery, Akadian Supremacism, Aztec Theocratic Blood Ritualism, Germanic Tribal Yeomanry, French Fuedalism, or Chinese Imperial Divinity... Every single regime prior to the emergence of leftism is "Right-wing" Indeed many of these have been called "Fascist", and certainly anyone advocating any of them would be denounced as fascist.
This is because Leftism is an incredibly specific and Artificial ideology. The Greeks had no conception of equality, nor did the Romans, nor the Aztecs. Indeed the metaphysics of almost every regime in human history would preclude it, whether it be Plato's more heady ideal of the forms, and the greater or lesser conformity of any individual to that ideal, or the more direct metaphysics of untold pagan, Shintoist, and Animist regimes which hold that the Gods at various points have mated with men and women, and various bloodlines are more or less divine.
The idea "All men are created equal" was not only a legal fiction disproven in reality by the first observation of the mass of humanity and its wild differentiation... it was metaphysically, obviously, impossible.
And yet partly due to historical accident, and partly due to radical protestant dissident sects, this bizarre, unobserved, and immediately disproven ideal became not only accepted but sacrosanct within Western political discourse.
A belief that before had been a radical protestant metaphysical claim about the equal nature of the human soul, which has never been directly observed... Transmogrified into a political and biological claim about the equal nature of humanity in general. Something we observe every single day, and can see, obviously, is not equal in any respect.
The farce that the event of this metaphysical claim becoming an unassailable sacrosanct political orthodoxy is called "The Age of Reason" or "The Enlightenment" or now 200 years later "The Science" is the ultimate insult to any sensibility or reason that has ever existed.
Indeed Reason, enlightenment, and science must be constantly suspended to avoid acknowledging the 10 thousand new metrics and observed realities that plainly show no men are created equal.
And yet in a world where 50% are below the median and closer to 70-80% are below any absolute average (given so much of life is a Pareto distribution) the absurdity that is Leftism and Equality has never been devoid of political adherents keen to plunder what they can by dragging others down to their level.
The greatest political project of the left, its essential project, has been its ongoing attempt to prohibit the mere noticing of quality.
Tell me: if you were to enlist a mechanic friend to help you purchase a vehicle, or if you were to enlist an antiquarian to help you to identify some artifact you'd discovered in your estate's possession, or perhaps you were recruiting skilled men for a dangerous expedition and were relying upon a veteran adventurer to judge them...
Would you not want these men to have a discriminating eye? Such as the expert jeweler has for gems...
Of course, as soon as one is HIRING this most admirable trait, one which in anything else denotes expertise, and an ability to distinguish the most subtle of qualities, becomes presumed malicious.
We may praise the antiquarian or collector who can immediately discriminate the quality and desirability of an ancient document or an early Nintendo cartridge... but HOW DARE YOU try to praise a man for judging employees and people with such precision.... HOW DARE YOU try to employ the same judgment when picking a lover! their BMI, complexion, intelligence, and genital sex are not for you to judge. Bigot!
After all, judging rare coins and Pokemon cards is important! Hundreds of dollars and fond memories are at stake. But how dare you apply that judgemental eye to people when we're only discussing hundreds of thousands of dollars and a marginal increase in the risk of catastrophic air accidents!?
This is the most important aspect of the political right, this is its essence, and this is what unites all right-wing movements going back to the revolution in France... not "Conservatism", not "Cautious tradition", not "romanticism", not "markets", not even loyalty, reason, religion, freedom, honor, or morality itself... though obviously almost all right wingers value at least some of these and most value the majority of these a great deal...
But what unites them, the reason right-wingers value these axioms, what every right-winger shares, the thing that makes them right-wing and makes them form coalitions with people who might disagree on matters as fundamental as morality or religion...
Is that all right-wingers value Quality over Equality.
Anarchonomicon is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Follow me on Twitter: @FromKulak