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I don’t have a lot of political conversations these days but, of the few that I do have, most of the people I talk to fancy themselves as “Left Wing”. My feeling is that if you believe in handing power to a centralized entity, you are decidedly on the right of any imaginable political spectrum.

Lo and behold, this morning I ran in to an essay by Karl Hess that I’d never seen before. Here’s a taste but, keep in mind that this was written in 1975…

The overall characteristic of a right-wing regime, no matter the details of difference between this one and that one, is that it reflects the concentration of power in he fewest practical hands…

…The far left, as far as you can get away from the right, would logically represent the opposite tendency and, in fact, has done just that throughout history. The left has been the side of politics and economics that opposes the concentration of power and wealth and, instead, advocates and works toward the distribution of power into the maximum number of hands…

…The farthest left you can go, historically at any rate, is anarchism — the total opposition to any institutionalized power, a state of completely voluntary social organization in which people would establish their ways of life in small, consenting groups, and cooperate with others as they see fit…

…At any rate, at some point on the spectrum there is the great modern American liberal position. Through a series of unfortunate but certainly understandable distortions of political terminology, the liberal position has come to be known as a left-wing position. Actually, it lies right alongside the conservative tradition, down toward the middle of the line, but decidedly, I think, to the right of its center. Liberals believe in concentrated power — in the hands of liberals, the supposedly educated and genteel elite. They believe in concentrating that power as heavily and effectively as possible. They believe in great size of enterprise, whether corporate or political, and have a great and profound disdain for the homely and the local. They think nationally but they also think globally and now even intergalactically. Actually, because they believe in far more authoritarian rule than a lot of conservatives, it probably would be best to say that liberals lie next to but actually to the right of many conservatives.

Dear America by Karl Hess: https://c4ss.org/content/35952