PostHeaderIcon New Political Spectrum Chart

I have been working (not very diligently) on an essay to explain my latest version of my political spectrum chart. Now that Orrin has resurfaced from being buried in his workload, I need to move it near the top of my to-do stack, as it was the discussion on his blog that instigated the change. Since I have the chart itself done, I have uploaded it as a teaser:

Think UP and DOWN - not Left and Right

Think UP and DOWN - not Left and Right

You can click on the diagram to open it full size, and suitable for printing, in another window. The main difference from my earlier efforts is that it emphasizes the nature of the vertical  Up/Down axis, and includes the economic systems as the principle sort for choosing the Left or Right path around the circle toward tyranny.

Yes, I realize that most of the political noise comes from the two opposing moralist camps, the Politically Correct activists on the Left and the Piously Correct activists on the Right; but I have deliberately downplayed them. Ours is and always was a secular government, and their attempts to enlist it to impose their moral dogmas on others who are not adherents to their competing “religions,” ought not to even be considered in serious discussion of good government.

I have added a new category of good guys at the top labeled “Secular Conservatives.” This label would apply to those who are heavily invested in what they consider small government “conservative” philosophy or principles and support free enterprise. While they may or may not be religious themselves, they recognize and appreciate the secular nature of our government, and oppose the use of Piously Correct litmus tests for candidates for elective office. If I understand him correctly, Orrin would fall into this category.

I’ll get busy on the essay, which is already entitled “Political Language,” and post it soon. â—„Daveâ–º

17 Responses to “New Political Spectrum Chart”

  • It seems a little biased, I don’t know if that was the intention or not.

    Why do you put thinkers in the upper right? Aren’t universities usually on the left somewhere? I would tend to say there are a lot of different varieties of thinkers. The broad thinkers, strangely enough, around the edges, with the narrower minds near the middle, which may be more matter of their viewpoint than their IQ. I really don’t understand why centrists are where they are on the chart.

    On a more visual critique: It looks a bit like Anarchy is labeled as having Less liberty.

    • Brian says:

      This is a decent rejection of the stale left-right model, but I also don’t buy the notion of “feelers” vs “thinkers”. Despite ideological differences, Ayn Rand and Karl Marx were both great thinkers and equally passionate about what they perceived as the best form of society. I believe there are just as many emotionally and intellectually charged “socialists” as there are “libertarians”.
      Ultimately, it seems that a schematic web diagram, (much like the www) would offer an adequate representation. Once you start plugging in issues (social, political, economic, etc.) it gets complicated.

    • person says:

      repuublicans!!! 🙂

    • Might I suggest that the word “thinkers” might be improved by adding “rational”, as in “rational thinkers”. It is very likely that all kinds of mistaken and/or misguided action is the result of some manner of “thinking”. For example, those in academia as Steel Phoenix suggests are usually “thinkers”, however full of manure their conclusions might often be. A great many people in our culture consistently make what might be called “a reasonable progression from an unreasonable premise”. Thinking? For sure. Rational? Hardly.

      Troy L Robinson

      • I should get back to this project. I never finished the essay that describes it all. I agree with your point, because mine isn’t visually obvious. My inclusion of “Feelers” and “Thinkers” was in regards to the Jungian personality types as defined by a Meyers-Briggs or David Keirsey temperament sorter. It has been my observation that those who test as “Feelers” tend toward Collectivist / Progressive causes / ideology and those who test as “Thinkers” tend toward Individualist / libertarian and/or conservative ideology. See my “About” page. 🙂 â—„Daveâ–º

  • Thanks for the early critique, Steel.

    It seems a little biased, I don’t know if that was the intention or not.

    Oh, sure. The whole purpose is to try to get others who have been trapped in the Left/Right dichotomy, to rethink allowing the politicians to keep them there. Until I publish the essay, one needs to read “The Political Spectrum” to appreciate what I am trying to accomplish and my reasoning behind suggesting an Up/Down orientation.

    I really don’t understand why centrists are where they are on the chart.

    That is the beauty of the diagram. If one is close to the middle on the Left/Right spectrum, they can become aware that they are actually very close to the ideal of Individual Liberty, which is NOT a Right Wing position; but more of a libertarian one. Moreover, centrists, independents, swing-voters, et al, turn out not to be unprincipled, as the partisans would have it; but actually occupying hallowed ground, while resisting the pull toward more government control of their lives from either L/R direction.

    It looks a bit like Anarchy is labeled as having Less liberty.

    Hmmm… that is unfortunate, if others read it that way too. The “Less” refers to “Government” and is the opposite of the “More” at the bottom. Up is trending away from government control of our lives, and Down is trending toward more. Obviously (I thought), anarchy is zero government, the extreme of Liberty, and servitude in a Tyranny represents maximum government.

    Why do you put thinkers in the upper right? Aren’t universities usually on the left somewhere?

    Sorry, the “Thinkers vs. Feelers” sort is an old theme of mine, which you have not encountered yet. I don’t regard academia as where most serious critical thinking is done. Most of their students don’t even learn how to do it there anymore. But that was not what I was referring to; it is just a rough sort I have noted over the years. From the rough draft of my pending essay:

    One other political division that I have not particularly emphasized, but have noticed with remarkable consistency, is that between “Thinkers” and “Feelers.” If one carefully notices the predicates employed by many espousing “fairness” and “equality of outcome” for “victims,” they are emoting rather than thinking rationally. In discussions where I might say “I think,” or “I suppose,” or “I reckon,” they are more likely to say, “I feel.” Where I might “understand” or “comprehend” something, they will “grasp” or “get a handle on” it. Where I get an “idea” or a “notion” in my “head,” they respond with a “feeling” in their “gut” or from their “heart.” “Hardhearted” ideas elicit their shock and dismay, and in person they will even physically recoil at any suggestion that someone might deserve to suffer the consequences of poor choices, etc.

    I by no means wish to imply that feelers can’t think or that thinkers can’t feel, they both can and do. I will say that my experience is that trying to reach a feeler with logic, or a thinker with emotion, is like trying to communicate in two different languages. Such efforts are fraught with the prospect of misunderstandings, and rarely effective. To the extent that one is capable of speaking in the other’s native language, one can be more persuasive. If not, it is often a waste of time to even try.

    As to the placement, it was not meant to be a L/R thing; but rather an UP/DOWN sort, and there was no room left on the vertical axis. I guess I do tend to associate the feelers with the PC altruists, both Left and Right; and those on the Left tend to appeal to the emotions more, while those on the right tend to appeal to the authority of their holy writs (which they personally feel or believe is dispositive). 🙂

    They probably don’t even belong on the diagram; but to the extent that the emoters might wish to demonstrate their ability to think, and consider where they wish to locate themselves on the map, so much the better. 🙂 â—„Daveâ–º

  • An excellent reply, thank you.

    I once sat down and tried to draw up a similar chart and set it aside as a difficult task requiring more thought than I had intended to invest. I may have to revisit it soon.

  • Thanks. Go for it. Take this one and make it better. If it is, I’ll adopt it. Just don’t discount the efficacy of:

    You and I are told increasingly that we have to choose between a left or right, but I would like to suggest that there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down–up to a man’s age-old dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order–or down to the ant heap totalitarianism, and regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course. –Ronald Regan (1964)

    …for convincing a fair number of people to give it serious consideration. â—„Daveâ–º

  • I have been working (not very diligently) on an essay to explain my latest version of my political spectrum chart.

    See Part One at: “Language of Politics” â—„Daveâ–º

  • Daedalus says:

    You & I have discussed anarchy before. I still see anarchy as being at the extreme bottom of your chart. The condition of “freedom” is at its highest when supported by a legitimate government, limited to protecting individual rights from internal & external threat. Anarchy is a condition of lawlessness (laws are made by governments) where might makes right & society is ruled by the tyranny of the mob. Perhaps anarchy might be a stable condition for one person alone on the planet. In any case anarchy does not belong on any spectrum of government since it is not a form of government. Who is the governor pray and who the governed?

  • Hi John,

    Welcome back out of the boondocks into the connected world. You were missed.

    Yes, I recall our discussion, and this new version of the chart is meant to clear up that issue too. If the vertical arrow is meant to span the spectrum from maximum government coercion at the bottom (totalitarianism) to minimum government at the top, the anarchy must be at the upper tip where there would be no government.

    Here are three paragraphs from the rough draft of Part Two of my essay:

    Most of the important action in my chart is centered around the intersection of the Left/Right line of the Incumbrepublocrats, and the Up/Down Government line. The truth is that most Americans political positions are fairly close to this point, and we have much more in common than the politicians wish us to believe. Most accept the agenda of the fringes as a necessary price they must pay to counter the effects of the opposite extremists at the polls. Many will cross the line to vote for a likable moderate from the other Party, or just to keep government divided and gridlocked. Single Party control of the levers of government has a way of eroding our individual Liberty, whichever side acquires it.

    Notice that this intersection is well below the point of anarchy, which accounts for Reagan’s qualifier, “…individual Liberty, consistent with law and order…” Without a social contract and a minimal government mechanism to enforce it, individual Liberty – that is, the freedom to live one’s life as one wishes to live it – is less than optimum. If one is afraid to leave home for fear of encountering barbarians ruling the countryside with their thuggery, individual Liberty has little value.

    The exact point of maximum individual Liberty near the Upper end of the Government line, is the subject of endless debate in libertarian circles, with some even advocating anarchy; but when put in the perspective of this chart, one can see how relatively unimportant these purists’ disagreements are in present circumstances. If we are already below the midpoint in our steady Progressive march toward tyranny, it would really behoove those of us anywhere near the Upper arrow, to unite in our effort to reverse this perilous trend, and drag as many of our countrymen as possible Up there with us.

    Note the middle one. I am indebted to Orrin for making this distinction clear in his first two charts and the surrounding discussion in his Visual Philosophy post, which is worth the time to study. Technically, I (we) do not have Anarchy on the spectrum of government; but just beyond it. I agree with Orrin that the traditional L/R line does not accommodate its location for perspective, and must disagree with your assertion that it doesn’t even belong on the chart. If the bottom of the chart is total government, what else would one call the top?

    Somehow I need to get across that I don’t consider anarchy the ideal we should be striving for at all, while at the same time acknowledging that the ideal state for individual Liberty is a lot closer to anarchy than either of the L/R statist Parties’ positions. Do the above three paragraphs accomplish that, or do I still need to work on it? â—„Daveâ–º

  • John, I just edited an earlier paragraph than the three above in my draft of Part Two:

    As Ronald Reagan suggested in his elegant attempt to awaken America to the folly of Left/Right thinking, in his remarkable “A Time for Choosing” speech, the important axis is the vertical arrow I have labeled “Government.” Less government trending toward Liberty is “Up,” and more government trending toward tyranny is “Down.” Beyond the upper tip, is the chaos of no government called anarchy. Below the lower tip would be the bondage of servitude, where government doesn’t even matter to the enslaved individual.

    Does that help? â—„Daveâ–º

  • Daedalus says:

    From Wiki:
    Although anarchists share a rejection of the state, they differ about economic arrangements and possible rules that would prevail in a stateless society, ranging from complete common ownership and distribution according to need, to supporters of private property and free market competition. For example, most forms of anarchism, such as that of anarcho-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, or anarcho-primitivism not only seek rejection of the state, but also other systems which they perceive as authoritarian, which includes capitalism, wage labor, and private property. In opposition, a political philosophy known as anarcho-capitalism argues that a society without a state is a free market capitalist system that is voluntarist in nature.

    Anarchy is as much a creature of the collectivists as the individualists. I think some of the confusion regarding government is its relatioship to economics. A capitalist economy is not the same as a limited government. A benvolent dictator could still “allow” a laissez faire capitalist economy without relinquishing the option of converting to a statist economy should he feel it neccessary. His basic philosophy being that property is at the disposal of the states whim.

  • John, I really apologize for the delay in getting the above comment posted. Somehow it got in the moderation cue and I received no notice that anything was in there. There is no reason I am aware of that it should have been intercepted, so I will start paying closer attention to see if it happens again.

    I see where we are having a semantics issue. You are discussing “anarchism” as a political philosophy with sub-camps within it, which could indeed be all over the map; while I and others are only using the word “anarchy” in its dictionary sense:

    1. Absence of any form of political authority.
    2. Political disorder and confusion.
    3. Absence of any cohesive principle, such as a common standard or purpose.

    Thus, by our usage, to say “Anarchy is as much a creature of…” would be incorrect, for it is the state of complete absence of authority or any cohesive principle.

    I well recall quite a debate I had on my original forum a couple of years ago with a pesky cannabis beclouded anarchist from Arkansas calling himself “Hogeye,” who was much enamored with Murray Rothbard. It was quite an education while it lasted. I soon had to ban him and deleted much of the debate all over the board in disgust, when he started advocating killing Narcs and cops. He was a piece of work! â—„Daveâ–º

  • Daedalus says:

    my last comment on this (dead horse syndrome).
    Definition depends on whose dictionary you use.
    1a: absence of government.
    b:a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority.
    c: A Utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government.

    2a: absence or denial of any authority or established order.
    b: absence of order : DISORDER.

    I presume you are using 1c. So do the collectivists who advocate anarchy. As the state “withers away,” people live in a state of complete “freedom,” each one accepting his position and responsibilities voluntarily. Definitely Utopian, and definitely inconsistent with human nature as is Rothbard’s position.
    And once more it is not a limiting case of government, but a lack of it, just as total darkness is not a limiting case of light but a total absence of it.

  • Well, no, of all five choices from your dictionary, 1c would be the least like what I intend to mean by including the word “Anarchy” on the spectrum chart. I mean all three of my definitions above from, which pretty well cover the other four of yours. The fact that some Utopian Dreamers, be they enamored with capitalism or Marxism, think that somehow their worldview could ever be accepted by 100% of the inhabitants of the world, thereby eliminating the need for coercion, is immaterial. In the real world, anarchy = chaos; government = coercion.

    I will say that although both camps demonstrate profound naivete regarding human nature, the Marxists are the more deluded ones. There is simply no way that altruism could ever work beyond an exceedingly tiny agrarian commune, which would have to be organized on some other cohesive psychologically motivating factor, such as family, clan, or religion.

    Else, the moment all coercion were lifted, it would revert to a free market system where achievers would excel over the slothful. It could not be otherwise, and I hasten to note that the resulting anarchy would quickly be indistinguishable from that of the anarcho-capitalists. Thus, even if somehow mankind arrived at anarchy deliberately, it would still be a state of free market traders with no government, and belongs at the top of the chart. 🙂 â—„Daveâ–º

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