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Right-wing politics

In politics, right-wing is the opposite of left-wing, with both terms originating in the French Revolution as discussed in the article on left-wing politics. Historically, the right-wing has defended the traditional power of aristocrats, royalty, established religions and the wealthy, as opposed to movements promoting equal rights or wealth for all. The term has also come to be used for nationalist or racist movements which favour the interests of a majority, or in the case of South Africa a minority in the population against other groups, with fascism or nazism the canonical examples.

Some usages of the term conservatism are also considered to be right-wing, by leftists. It is common for political groups to claim the "centre ground", and may describe themselves by other terms such as "moderates".

Support for free market economics has at times been classed as both right- and left-wing ideas. It was left-wing during the French Revolution, since the concept is opposed to the kind of economic favouritism practiced by the elite in that country at the time. In theory anyone has an equal chance in a free market. However in practice, a free market is likely (some say mathematically inevitable) to result in large variations in the relative prosperity of individuals, with almost all of the real power (wealth, in a free market) held by a small percentage of the population. Hence, it can also be considered a doctrine of the right-wing.

Some consider the confusing usage to be obsolete, and prefer to distinguish views based not on their attitude to property ownership as such, but on centralized versus decentralized government, attitude to civil liberties, or the natural environment. Libertarianism, Anarchism, Feminism and Green politics all defy simple classification on the traditional left-right axis.

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