Is The Economist left or right? pregunta en QUORA

Me encontré esta pregunta en QUORA y me pareció muy buena la respuesta del editor de, @TomStandage:

The Economist is not inherently left-wing or right-wing; its political philosophy is rooted in 19th-century Classical Liberalism of the John Stuart Mill variety. Essentially we are fans of Free Markets (The Economist was founded to oppose the Corn Laws) and individual choice. So we favour, for example, a small state and the abolition of agricultural subsidies (right-wing fiscally liberal positions); but we also support gay marriage and the legalisation of drugs (left-wing socially liberal positions).

Generalising hugely,

  • Right-wing parties tend to be fiscally liberal but socially conservative; they think it’s OK for companies to do what they like but want to intervene in people’s private lives.
  • Left-wing parties tend to be keener on individual choice in private affairs but think they know better when it comes to spending people’s money (via taxation) or regulating the market.

In France, a “liberal” is a right-winger keen on free markets; in the US, a “liberal” is a left-winger keen on letting people make their own personal choices. The Economist is liberal in both these senses.

So we are neither of the left nor the right; or you could say we are both. This often causes confusion. When we declare our support for same-sex marriage, for example, we are characterised (in America) as holding typical left-wing European views; when we say markets should be allowed to work and criticise economic nationalism, we are accused (in France) of being knee-jerk Anglo-Saxon right-wingers.

Accordingly, we have endorsed both Republicans and Democrats for the US presidency; in Britain, we have endorsed both Labour and Conservative candidates for Prime Minister. We liked Tony Blair, for example, because he combined left-wing socially liberal positions with essentially right-wing fiscally liberal ones borrowed from his Conservative opponents (though his government turned out to have a rather illiberal authoritarian streak on law and order). We also welcomed the current Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government in Britain for similar reasons.

In theory our position might be characterised as libertarian, but that term also has baggage: unlike many American libertarians, The Economist is in favour of gun control, for example, on the liberal ground that your freedom to do what you want (own lots of guns) ends where my freedom to do what I want (not being shot) begins. So, is The Economist left or right? The answer is yes and no.

UPDATE Oct 11th: Thank you for all your comments and answers. As it happens, this week’s cover leader calls our position “True Progressivism”, defined as a “radical centrist” agenda “which steals ideas from both left and right”:″

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