A BYU-Idaho professor is writing a new book and hopes it can help readers view American politics through a different lens.
Hyrum Lewis is a History Department faculty member at BYU-Idaho Radio. His book, titled “The Myth of Left and Right,” aims to identify how the political spectrum of the nation doesn’t follow a set of ideals, but rather is based purely on tribalism.
“As you can tell from the title of the book, it makes the case that the political spectrum doesn’t exist, it’s the biggest myth of our time. The idea that there is a single unidimensional spectrum upon which all political issues hang,” Lewis said in an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio.
Instead, he said that liberals and conservatives are both influenced by the actions and words of their political leaders rather than a set of ideals.
As a history teacher, he said this is a topic that comes up a lot in conversations with other historians.
“The political spectrum isn’t just ruining political discourse today, it’s ruining history too,” said Lewis. “You always hear about historians trying to place historical figures on this spectrum, but it’s mostly just a compliment we pay to those we like and an insult we give to those we don’t like.”
Ultimately, Lewis wants readers to understand that the political spectrum is different than what is usually taught.
“When you talk about ideology, you’re talking about a social group, not principles. I don’t want Latter-day Saints to think of themselves as conservatives, liberals, left or right. I want them to consider themselves as those who believe in the principles of freedom and the policies that promote that freedom,” he said.