The right-winger is misunderstood. This is mostly a product of their own dishonest PR. They are a sociological phenomenon that needs to seriously be studied.
The views I express here relate mostly to US politics, but they can be useful in understanding social dynamics in other parts of the world. (For example: East Asia)
As well as being misunderstood, the right-wingers’ facades mask a twisted interior. They are troubled souls. In some settings, they may almost seem like well-adjusted adult human, but don’t let that fool you; they are perpetually gripped with fear, paranoia and hatred: fear of brown people, fear of an imaginary communist takeover, fear of the ubiquitous but undefinable “big government.”
The “right wing” is more of a state of mind that a political ideology. It has too many built-in contradictions to be ideological. Time and again they are proven to not care about the things they claimed to care about. I’ve demonstrated that they don’t give a shit about the national deficit unless they can use it to criticize their enemies. They’re also fine with socialism as long as it’s corporate socialism and is done by Republicans. They claim to oppose radical Islam, yet they seem to be fine with Trump turning the US military into paid mercenaries for the Wahhabi Saudi royal family. It’s difficult to pinpoint anything that they actually believe in. You have to do some detective work.
One of their favorite buzzwords is “big government.” It has no objective meaning. Their idea of what constitutes “big government” has no relation to the actual size or level of authority of the national government. According to them, spending more than eight-hundred billion dollars, or more than half of the discretionary budget, on the military is NOT “big government,” at least not to the standard non-libertarian right-winger, but I would put libertarians in a different category all together. Other things that are decidedly NOT “big Government” include the police killing thousands of unarmed citizens every year, the US having 22% of the worlds prisoners, government telling us what substances people can or can’t put in their bodies and then locking them up in cages if they don’t abide, and telling people who they can or can’t marry. Things that ARE “big government” include food stamps and a national, non-profit health insurance system. Can you see the logic? Don’t worry. Very few people can, including right-wingers themselves. You could possibly argue that “big government” is a stand-in for anything Democrats do, and you’d be right to some extent. But, as unlikely as it seems, there may be a hint of underlying logic to the term.
To the extent that American right-wingers have a coherent worldview beyond the tribal sentiment of “Republican good, Democrat bad,” as best I can tell, it can be summed up as “hierarchies are just, and they must be upheld.” Racial hierarchies, class hierarchies, gender hierarchies, national hierarchies, hierarchies within the workplace and within the family. Ignore what they say about big government and deficits, those are just mouth noises meant to distract you. Almost all their views are underscored by a fundamental belief in the justice of hierarchies. If they would just come out and admit this, the conversation would be much easier.
There are several manifestations of this worldview. For one, they can’t comprehend that anyone would want an egalitarian society; they think anyone advocating for increased standards of living must be doing so because they want to unfairly get ahead of someone else. They claim that anyone who wants equality of opportunity wants to bring down the white man, or to rig the game in their favor because they are incapable of winning on a level playing field (an obvious self-contradiction and possibly projection). For them, the world is a zero-sum game. This is because egalitarianism upsets the hierarchy. On some level they understand that this is an immoral position, so they have to resort to dishonest, weaselly talking points like “big government.”
They have a childish view of what a politician is. In their minds, a left winger like Bernie Sanders only advocates for improving people’s lives because he wants “power.” The power to control your life and steal your tax dollars. Their idea of a high-level politician is a mustachioed movie villain petting a cat saying “Yes. Now I will control everyone! Huhaha!” But the reality of a high-level politician is more like, “Thank you mister oil lobbyist for this presidential suite, this gram of cocaine and this gorgeous Ukrainian hooker. I promise I will not forget to scratch your back when the time comes.”
The idea that politicians are power-hungry control freaks and not puppets of the rich and corporations is a very simplistic way of viewing the situation; it doesn’t seriously question motives and it’s filtered through the lens of hierarchy. For them, AOC (who coincidentally takes no money from corporations) hates profit and freedom and wants to be on top of the pyramid to satisfy her ego, and all the good, honest members of congress (who all coincidentally take massive amounts of money from corporations) just want to stop her from taking everyone’s freedoms away. (To be fair, they are concerned about people being stripped of their freedoms: the freedoms of ‘defense’ contractors and insurance and pharmaceutical companies to rob the American people blind.) The right-winger’s inability to look just below the surface and analyze people’s motives leaves them painfully naive.
For them, war is not usually a problem because it reinforces America’s spot at the top of the international pyramid. This is very important for the right-winger. No matter how unhappy they are or how much of a failure they are in their personal lives, they can always get a rush of happy feelings when they’re reminded that they are on the #1 team.
Social welfare and safety-net programs are intolerable, because they to serve to flatten the hierarchy, not because they are “big government.” The hierarchy hypothesis also explains why corporate welfare is fine: because it strengthens the hierarchy. The drug war, mass-incarceration and militarized police reinforce the racial hierarchy.
Do you see how it starts to make sense now? Keep this in mind the next time you are talking to one.