Abstract. The “left and right” dyad in politics was born as a spatial metaphor, but quickly established itself as a dichotomous differentiation between political ideologies and implementation methods, at least until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
The crisis of ideologies with the consequent involution of the political parties, the globalization and the prevalence of the mercantilist spirit have led to the progressive “emptying” of politics, in a spasmodic struggle for the survival and management of power. Hence the anachronism, according to some, of the dyad, confirmed by the appearance on the political scene of movements that like to qualify as “neither left nor right”.
Norberto Bobbio, in his famous book “Right and Left”, supports the continuing relevance of the dyad, noting that the reference to it remains in the political and common language, and emphasizing the relative and historical character of the two concepts expressed by the dyad. Furthermore, he defends his dichotomy “equality/inequality” to identify the two political categories, also specifying that “equality” of the left is not to be understood as “egalitarianism”.
In sharing Bobbio’s lesson and in the hope that we will awake from hibernation with a high idea of politics, we suggest , as an alternative or as a supplement to the criterion identified by Bobbio to distinguish the right from the left, the dichotomy “profit logic/social justice”.
SUMMARY: 1. Introduction. – 2. The crisis of ideologies, the involution of the political parties, the critical reading of the dyad. – 3. The dyad in the reconstruction of Norberto Bobbio and the refutation of the criticisms. – 4. Concluding considerations. The continuing relevance of the dyad.
To read the Reflection, click on “open file”.