People on one wing with regard to social issues may be more likely to be on the same side economically, but there is no reason why someone cannot reside in the other camp. 2 dimensional proposals place economic and state control on orthogonal axes: a totalitarian to libertarian range and a managed-market to free-market range. Of course the dimensions can be expanded resulting in several horizontal axes covering different topics, each with a left and right position.
Dictionary definitions of the terms from The Free Dictionary
- left wing: those who support varying degrees of social or political or economic change designed to promote the public welfare
- right wing: those who support political or social or economic conservatism; those who believe that things are better left unchanged
The less than reliable (and left wing!) wikipedia describe the left wing seeking to
reform or abolish existing social hierarchies and promote a more equal distribution of wealth and privilegewhich is a moderately reasonable definition, though right wing may oppose what they consider unjust privilege or favouritism. The right wing article does not provide a helpful definition and suffers from including corporatism and fascism within the grouping.
I thought the definition provided by Jonah Goldberg in "Obama’s Playbook, in Paperback: Liberal Fascism and its critics" was useful
- egalitarian (within a defined group, be it based on class, race, or nationality)
- enamored of the Romantic spiritualization of the political
- hostile to tradition,
- hostile to religious orthodoxy
- hostile to natural rights,
- hostile to Lockean individualism
- favoring limited government
- respectful of religion and tradition
- protective of the individual and his rights
Labels can be useful, but if they hinder, it is better just to debate the pros and cons of a specific issue.