It has recently been pointed out to me that my conversation is full of references to "the left" and "the right" (and this blog tends to reflect my conversational habits). I think the observation carried an implicit criticism (about my tendency to think in terms of simple, adversarial dichotomies?), and I might just give a few initial reflections here on the matter.
First of all, I realize that an individual's political and social views are very complex and cannot be reduced to a position on a one-dimensional (or even multi-dimensional) scale. I have used the word "conservative" to label my general position, but it is a word which is sufficiently flexible to cover a range of perspectives in a range of areas (not just politics).
I had a friend who was raised in China in the 1970s (the daughter of a general, in fact), and she was in a deep sense a conservative, though she was not interested in Western politics. She was educated in Confucian values and classical Chinese literature by her maternal grandmother, who had been a concubine, and yet she was also deeply affected by Maoist Communist ideas.
The point I'm making is that I know there is no simple left/right dichotomy. I am interested in how people think and form their values, and, if I tend to identify with "one side" of politics, I am not totally sure of my position and I remain respectful towards and sometimes fascinated by those with views very different from my own.