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Richard's Daily Meditations

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It is interesting that these two different powers took the words Right and Left from the Estates-General in France, where on the right of the throne sat the nobility and the clergy (what were the clergy doing over there?) and on the left sat the peasants and 90 percent of the population. Those are now commonly used terms in the global political world. The Right is normally concerned with maintaining some status quo, stability, continuity, and authority; that is a legitimate need and without it you have chaos. Those on the Right are normally considered innocent until proven guilty.

Those on the Left are presumed, for some reason, to be guilty until proven innocent, at least in the minds of many. (Note how even the Vatican goes to great length to reconcile “heretics” on the Right, but never the opposite.) The powers that be have tended to write history from the side of authority and power, and those who protect it.  Once we see this, we wonder why we never saw it before. But some form of the Right is necessary for authority and continuity in a culture, and some form of the Left is necessary for truth and reform in a culture. And thus the pendulum swings, and I guess we all hope we are living at the appropriate time when it is swinging toward our preferred side.

Adapted from A Lever and a Place to Stand, p. 97

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