Why do we have left and right politicians?

I have little truck with exclusively left-wing or right-wing in politics.  Both hide a partial truth.  The left-wing has socialization  going for it — but not socialism which is an ideology– and the right-wing has pecking order going for it — but not traditional order which is also an ideology.

The essentials are both features of man.  Without socialization, hunter-gatherer tribes would never have held together as efficient survival organisations for millions of years.  Without a pecking order, females would have chosen their partners randomly up and down the local milieu and the least talented males wouldn’t have been ignored.  Without a pecking order inferior genes would have had an equal chance of being passed to the next generation instead of tending to be extinguished.

Pecking order is our — and several other species’ — relatively gentle mode of quality control instead of males, desperate for sexual opportunities, fighting it out between themselves like walruses or stags, sometimes to death.  Starting with childhood fighting — generally among boys only, of course — pecking order proceeds less and less violently into adolescence and then into young adulthood.  By then. when wanting to have children, females choose males for reasons other than physical strength — more to do with qualities that would make him a good provider for herself and her children.

But why just one spectrum of left to right parties in any country that remotely has a voting system?  Even in countries that have proportional representation and, maybe, half a dozen parties. they nearly always divide into those of the left and those of the right when debating single issues.

The answer is very simple.  For millions of years our predecessors lived in small groups, each requiring extensive territories in order to guarantee a steady food supply.  One group rarely saw another one, and when they did there was always a mutual suspicion that the other might be intruding on its food supply.

At their best, the leaderships of neighbouring hunter-gatherer tribes are always suspicious of each other, more often squabbling and often at war. The same effect is scalable up to the empires of yesterday and the nation-states of today.  We and the French, our nearest neighbour, have been at odds for hundreds of years with one another and will, without any doubts, continue to be at odds for hundreds of years more — that is, if countries retain their present types of centralised governments.

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