The Myth of Left and Right: How the Political Spectrum Misleads and Harms America (STUDIES IN POSTWAR AMERICAN POLITCAL): by Professor Verlan Lewis (2009)

The Myth of Left and Right book cover

A groundbreaking argument that the political spectrum today is inadequate to twenty-first century America and a major source of the confusion and hostility that characterize contemporary political discourse.

As American politics descends into a battle of anger and hostility between two groups called “left” and “right,” people increasingly ask: What is the essential difference between these two ideological groups? In The Myth of Left and Right, Hyrum Lewis and Verlan Lewis provide the surprising answer: nothing. As the authors argue, there is no enduring philosophy, disposition, or essence uniting the various positions associated with the liberal and conservative ideologies of today. Far from being an eternal dividing line of American politics, the political spectrum came to the United States in the 1920s and, since then, left and right have evolved in so many unpredictable and even contradictory ways that there is currently nothing other than tribal loyalty holding together the many disparate positions that fly under the banners of “liberal” and “conservative.” Powerfully argued and cutting against the grain of most scholarship on polarization in America, this book shows why the idea that the political spectrum measures deeply held worldviews is the central political myth of our time and a major cause of the confusion and vitriol that characterize public discourse.