Understanding Left and Right: An Illustrated Guide to the Political Divide


Series: American Political, Economic, and Security Issues
BISAC: POL030000

This book about the complicated meaning of left and right in politics carries the optimistic message that rational truth seeking can lead people towards the center and away from extreme positions. There is of course a major argument to the contrary, which is that political activities are very substantially determined by narrow interests, vague intuitions and strong emotions. Although rationality has indeed been diluted in contemporary politics, it is likely that much remains below the surface. Accordingly, there still might be time for therapeutic interventions aimed at nudging millions of minds towards a balanced political center.

The book intervenes in a disarming and calming way. Throughout the 32 short chapters, a wide variety of politically-loaded thoughts are attributed to a pair of cartoon dogs. Left-dog and right-dog are duly introduced in the first chapter, where readers will immediately see that they are friendly and not fighting. Indeed, there is no such thing as dog-eat-dog in the community of truth-seekers. There are a few diagrams in each chapter that readers (or their students or children) are invited to color-in to represent the two political sides. Each chapter sets out some distinctive divide-bridging insights into basic issues such as truth, ethics, passions, hopes, intentions, genders, orientations, abortions, boundaries, identities, language, leaders, inequalities and ecologies to mention just a few.

Any one of the 32 chapters can be contemplated in private, discussed between family members or taught as a stand-alone exercise. Prudently selected chapters would fit with ease into just about every course in business schools, but also in college level courses across the entire spectrum of the social sciences, including philosophy. This might seem like a ludicrously-hyped marketing claim for any serious book, but readers are urged to try it out for themselves and their relatives, colleagues or students and see what happens.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


About the Author

Chapter 1. Introduction: Two Dogs, No Fights (pp. 1-4)

Chapter 2. Projections: The Shadow of Left and Right (pp. 5-8)

Chapter 3. Understandings: A Vote against Pythagoras (pp. 9-16)

Chapter 4. Goods: Life, Love, Play, Freedom and Much More (pp. 17-26)

Chapter 5. Likes: The Little Art of the Cheeseburger (pp. 27-32)

Chapter 6. Ethics: The Golden Rule and the Gold That Rules (pp. 33-42)

Chapter 7. Timing: Worry about That Later (pp. 43-46)

Chapter 8. Capitals: Profane Cows and Sacred Cows (pp. 47-52)

Chapter 9. Language: Like Lambs to the Slaughter (pp. 53-56)

Chapter 10. Limits: The Known Limitations of Markets (pp. 57-60)

Chapter 11. Regulations: One Plus One Plus One Equals Three (pp. 61-66)

Chapter 12. Strategies: Two Sides, Nine Arenas (pp. 67-76)

Chapter 13. Games: Don’t Even Think about It (pp. 77-82)

Chapter 14. Trust: The King Is in the Shopping Mall (pp. 83-86)

Chapter 15. Dynamics: The Quiet Evolution of Death (pp. 87-94)

Chapter 16. Intentions: The Road to Hell and the Canal in Panama (pp. 95-100)

Chapter 17. Passions: The Soul, the Psyche and the Will to Power (pp. 101-106)

Chapter 18. Hopes: Burned Wings and Freedom Songs (pp. 107-110)

Chapter 19. Scopes: My Brothers and I (pp. 111-118)

Chapter 20. Loci: Don’t Project Those Voices (pp. 119-124)

Chapter 21. Brains: The Strange Politics of Jekyll and Hyde (pp. 125-130)

Chapter 22. Gender: Yin and Yang (pp. 131-134)

Chapter 23. Orientations: Look Forward, Look Back (pp. 135-142)

Chapter 24. Greens: One Bus, Two Paradigms (pp. 143-150)

Chapter 25. Leaders: Which Way You Goin’ Billy? (pp. 151-156)

Chapter 26. Authoritarians: Tough Love and ‘Freedom-Strongs’ (pp. 157-162)

Chapter 27. Locations: Asian Values = Western Brands (pp. 163-166)

Chapter 28. Persons: Sees Just What He Wants to See (pp. 167-172)

Chapter 29. Social-issues: Freedom from Birth (pp. 173-180)

Chapter 30. Parties: What’s in a Name? (pp. 181-188)

Chapter 31. Distractions: Half a Million Is Much Bigger Than Forty-Three (pp. 189-194)

Chapter 32. Boundaries: High Walls, Low Motives (pp. 195-200)

Conclusion (pp. 201-202)

Related Works by the Author (pp. 203-204)

Index (pp. 205)

Keywords: Political divide, rationality, civil discourse, healing

Audience: (a) The general reader interested in politics and the underpinnings of what’s going on in the political world today.  I suspect that readers of serious newspapers on both the Right and on the Left in many parts of the World (see (d) below)  would quite enjoy this book, or at least some chapters.  Perhaps more importantly, they might encounter something new, worthwhile and influential.
(b)  Students and faculty in Business Schools & Colleges would surely appreciate much of the book, especially those on undergraduate or graduate level courses in Business & Society, Business-Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility, Leadership, Marketing Ethics, Business Strategy, Strategic Management or (in some colleges) Business-Philosophy. As mentioned in earlier correspondence, I intend using several chapters in my own classes on Business Ethics and Leadership
(c)  The same applies to a wide range of students and faculty in just about every one of the academic Social Sciences, including Economics (also Economic History), Politics & Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy & Religion, Feminist Studies and possibly also Law & Justice studies.

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