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The Left-Right Paradigm is a concept from political sciences and anthropology which proposes that societies have a tendency to divide themselves into ideological opposites. Important contributions to the theory of the paradigm were made by British social anthropologist Rodney Needham, who saw it as a basic human classifying device. It shares affinity with the cultural "romantic-classic" paradigm.
The term is used to analyze political discourse since the 19th century. It has, however, been suggested that in the 21st century the paradigm will become less useful as a tool of social and political analysis; some of the major current issues (such as overpopulation, individual liberties and biological warfare) cannot be said to allow for either a left- or right-wing perspective.
The Left-Right paradigm as political criticism
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Used in another context, the phrase refers to a political theory that alleges that members of opposing major political parties such as the Republican and Democratic parties in the United States share common interests and goals, as well as a covertly unified ruling authority over the political issues of the masses. The two major political entities act in concert to create divisiveness among the population while keeping control of the political spectrum.
This Left-Right paradigm concept theorizes that the two opposing political parties utilize their tremendous hold over mainstream media to dramatize political distractions and engage in covert warfare and operations, in grand performances of bureaucratic rivalry meant to propagandize and divide the populace. Divisive issues are purposefully fed through the major media outlets to divert attention away from the ruling class's hidden and ulterior (and sometimes global) agendas. By drawing attention to the differences between the two embedded political systems, ideologies, races and classes, the political groups obscure political clarity and divide unity among the masses. The tactic creates confusion and frustration among the population, which enables the ruling class to increase and consolidate their wealth and power through maintaining an illusion of a two-party system of checks and balances that actually works. The theory contends that the fresh interjection of a new political party or group (such as the expanding Libertarian or Green parties) into the political arena, would be the only way to provide a means to break the cyclical paradigm, currently established in the political system.
- Needham, Rodney (1973). Right and Left: Essays in Dual Symbolic Classification. University of Chicago Press.
- Austin, Lewis (Autumn 1977). "Visual Symbols, Political Ideology, and Culture". Ethos 5 (3): 306–25. doi:10.1525/eth.1977.5.3.02a00040. ISSN 0091-2131. p. 309
- Mosler, David; Robert Catley (2000). Global America: imposing liberalism on a recalcitrant world. Greenwood Publishing. p. 205. ISBN 978-0-275-96662-1.
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