2008-05-22 - Update - Be sure to check out a recent blog entry which updates this essay somewhat, and brings a bit more clarity I hope. I will re-write this essay as time permits. - NewOldSalt
The way some folks talk, you might think the world is one dimensional, or at least they view the world as having only one dimension, like a mathematical number line from negative infinity to positive infinity, i.e. left and right, also called liberal and conservative.
There are benefits to reducing complexity and trying to distill something down to its essence. You can learn about something by stripping away unneeded layers and the red herrings that are strewn about.
But there is also a point at which nothing meaningful can be learned because important variables have also been removed. In my experience too many people talk and/or think like this, "you are either on the left, the right, or some shade between the two."
That logic is flawed for many reasons:
* it assumes there are only two perspectives: leftish and rightish.
* it doesn't take in to account feelings and beliefs can change over time
* it only takes one issue into account at a time, or it confuses all issues in to one "left or right" stance
My advice: avoid the "right" and "left" jargon altogether. Quit trying to reduce the world and others to an absurdly small view.