Left and right are about political power – where does civil authority come from? The words derive from the seating arrangement in France just before the revolution. The king sat in the middle, with the nobles and clergy to the right, while the ‘commoners’ were on the left. This is why ‘right’ means top-down authoritarianism, the ‘divine right of kings’, monarchy, theocracy. While ‘left’ means bottom-up democracy, the ‘consent of the governed, republic, separation of church and state.
All tyrants are right-wing tyrants – yes, even Castro and Stalin were right-wing tyrants – because they were authoritarians, and Joe Citizen had zero say, not even a vote. Any leader that is not both elected and term-limited is right-wing by definition. Any such leaders that may start as left-leaning, won’t be that way for long – Robespierre being the quintessential example of that.
The US Founders were clearly leftists – by rebelling against the God-Given-Authority of King George III, they were clearly rejecting the Scriptural Doctrine of the ‘Divine Right of Kings’, and replacing it with the Enlightenment doctrine of ‘consent of the governed’ as the wellspring from which civil authority flows.
Liberal and conservative are economic positions – who owns what, and how much exploitation of others is allowed – where are the regulatory lines to be drawn, and who is empowered to draw them. Conservatives tend to favor control of the economy by a small self-selected class of owners. Liberals tend to favor regulations that protect society in general, and laborers (aka ‘the masses’) in particular, from exploitation by owners – by things like OSHA and EPA and FLSA.
Conservatives tend to want to eliminate any sort of government restriction on the ability of owners to exploit and profit from their assets, and reduce the amounts that the wealthy are required to pay toward publicly-owned infrastructure like roads and schools and military equipment and so forth.
Someone who supports gay-marriage is still a conservative if they want to give taxpayer money to the brutal theocratic dictators in Saudi Arabia with which to purchase weapons of war from American manufacturers (aka ‘foreign aid’).
Someone who supports unrestricted second-trimester abortions is still a conservative if they want to allow bankers to profit from investing other people’s FDIC-insured savings deposits without oversight.
Someone who supports the separation of church and state is still a conservative if they also support using the US Military to further the fiscal interests of US Corporations abroad – such as when US Fruit Company pressured the government to get rid of Arévalo and Árbenz in Guatemala, which the CIA did through Operation PBFortune and Operation PBSuccess.
The culture-war ‘wedge issues’ like gay marriage and abortion are carefully cultivated by the wealthy elite to use to distract and divert the energy of the impoverished masses. They well know that their only hope for survival is to keep the rest of us identifying each-other as ‘the enemy’ instead of correctly identifying the selfish greed of wealthy elite themselves as the root cause of economic inequality.