Left-wing politics supports social equality and egalitarianism, often in opposition to social hierarchy and social inequality. They typically involve concern for those in society whom they perceive as disadvantaged relative to others and a belief that there are unjustified inequalities that need to be reduced or abolished.
- This is the criminal left that belongs not in a dormitory, but in a penitentiary. The criminal left is not a problem to be solved by the Department of Philosophy or the Department of English—it is a problem for the Department of Justice…. Black or white, the criminal left is interested in power. It is not interested in promoting the renewal and reforms that make democracy work; it is interested in promoting those collisions and conflict that tear democracy apart.
- Spiro Agnew, speech at a Floridian Republican dinner, Fort Lauderdale, Florida (28 April 1970); reported in Collected Speeches of Spiro Agnew (1971), p. 135.
- From the animal standpoint, leftists have been regressive and reactionary forces. In the Communist Manifesto, for instance, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels dismissed animal protectionists as mere petit-bourgeois reformers. They failed to see that the animal welfare movement in countries like the United States was vital to women whose opposition to animal cruelty was inseparable from their struggle against male violence and the exploitation of children. Similarly, in his work, On the History of Early Christianity, Engels belittled vegetarians and anti-vivisectionists, with no understanding of the importance of these issues for reducing human cruelty to both human and nonhuman animals, and for moral progress generally.
- It is time for the left to revive its ethical foreign policy and carve out a new long-term narrative that puts human rights and the protection of civilians centre stage once again.
- I believe the left is now in a fundamental fight about our future approach to international affairs: one where we decide whether to channel UK resources, diplomatic influence and military capability in defence of human rights and the protection of civilians; or one where we stand on the sidelines frozen by our recent failures. I believe it’s time for the left to revive its ethical foreign policy and in particular, rebuild the case for a progressive approach to humanitarian intervention.
- The left should carve out a new long-term narrative about British foreign policy: one that puts human rights and the protection of civilians centre stage again. And one that reasserts our commitment to the responsibility to protect those most at risk of mass atrocity crimes. This isn’t really about being pro or anti-military intervention. Rather it’s a call to redefine the principles that will guide the decisions we take, as well as a commitment to then honour them.
- There will be no economic or political justice for the poor, people of color, women or workers within the framework of global, corporate capitalism. Corporate capitalism, which uses identity politics, multiculturalism and racial justice to masquerade as politics, will never halt the rising social inequality, unchecked militarism, evisceration of civil liberties and omnipotence of the organs of security and surveillance. Corporate capitalism cannot be reformed, despite its continually rebranding itself. The longer the self-identified left and liberal class seek to work within a system that the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls “inverted totalitarianism,” the more the noose will be tightened around our necks. If we do not rise up to bring government and financial systems under public control—which includes nationalizing banks, the fossil fuel industry and the arms industry—we will continue to be victims.
- The American Left’s affair with fundamentalist Islam is essentially a love-fear relationship. The Left loves Islam’s hatred of America and its desire to radically change this country, but the Left also fears what militant Muslims are capable of, especially if they turn their murderous rage on their so-called friends. So the Left, like Neville Chamberlain with the Nazis, walks a tightrope, appeasing Muslims at every turn, offering excuses for Islamic violence, and hoping Muslim fundamentalists won’t bite the hand that feeds them their excuses.
- There are only two possibilities in Germany; do not imagine that the people will forever go with the middle party, the party of compromises; one day it will turn to those who have most consistently foretold the coming ruin and have sought to dissociate themselves from it. And that party is either the Left: and then God help us! for it will lead us to complete destruction - to Bolshevism, or else it is a party of the Right which at the last, when the people is in utter despair, when it has lost all its spirit and has no longer any faith in anything, is determined for its part ruthlessly to seize the reins of power - that is the beginning of resistance of which I spoke a few minutes ago. Here, too, there can be no compromise - there are only two possibilities: either victory of the Aryan, or annihilation of the Aryan and the victory of the Jew.
- We chose the red color of our posters after careful and thorough reflection, in order to provoke the Left, to drive them to indignation and lead them to attend our meetings if only to break them up, in order to have some chance to speak to the people.
- The left once dismissed the market as exploitative; it now honors the market as rational and humane. The left once disdained mass culture as exploitative; now it celebrates it as rebellious. The left once honored independent intellectuals as courageous; now it sneers at them as elitist.
- Russell Jacoby, The End of Utopia (1999), pp. 10-11
- The two psychological tendencies that underlie modern leftism we call feelings of inferiority and oversocialization. Feelings of inferiority are characteristic of modern leftism as a whole, while oversocialization is characteristic only of a certain segment of modern leftism; but this segment is highly influential
- Ted Kaczynski, "Industrial Society and its Future", item 9 "The Psychology of Modern Leftism"
- Having never understood the role that existing communist powers played in tempering the worst impulses of Western capitalism and imperialism, and having perceived communism as nothing but an unmitigated evil, the left anticommunists did not anticipate the losses that were to come. Some of them still don't get it.
- The Left doesn't hate evil, it hates those who hate evil. On the Left there is a subliminal, subconscious deep understanding that they are inadequate to the job of fighting evil. That's why they get so passionate about trivia.
- Dennis Prager, speaking at the 20th Anniversary Gala of the Freedom Center (2 February 2008)
- [T]he further left one goes, the more negative the assessment..
- The left, both cultural and political, eventually abandoned economic justice in favor of identity politics, leaving too many people feeling freaked out or ignored.
- Jennifer Senior, "Richard Rorty’s 1998 Book Suggested Election 2016 Was Coming", The New York Times (20 November 2016)
- What socialism, fascism and other ideologies of the left have in common is an assumption that some very wise people—like themselves—need to take decisions out of the hands of lesser people, like the rest of us, and impose those decisions by government fiat.
- We must face the fact that, though the free intelligence and the spirit of community are at once the goal and an essential means, they may be not only ineffectual but actually harmful, unless they are combined with a full measure of that hot indignation against tyranny, that devoted service in the struggle for the new order, which is characteristic of the best minds of the political Left. On the other hand, the political Left, if it is to capture the imagination and allegiance of the people of this country and sweep them forward to victory, must, I believe, learn a more liberal spirit. I mean, of course, liberal not in the political but in the cultural sense, namely, loyalty to the free critical intelligence and respect for the human individual.
- Olaf Stapledon, Philosophy and Living (1939)
- Encyclopedic article on Left-wing politics at Wikipedia