The usual story goes that the Left values equality whereas the Right values freedom. But that doesn't quite ring true for me. I consider myself left-wing, but what little concern I have for equality is purely instrumental. And conservatives don't seem at all averse to restricting others' freedom. So here's the comment I left at NZPC:
I see the left-right division in terms of differing conceptions of freedom. Those on the right have a thin or 'formal' conception of freedom as the absence of external constraints. Hence the lower taxes. Those of us on the Left, by contrast, value something rather more substantive: the ability to achieve one's goals in life. "Freedom as capability", you might say. Hence the higher taxes, to pay for public goods and welfare that supports people in pursuing their conception of the good life, whatever it may be.
Do you think that captures the core ideological difference between the two camps?