Political Spectrum

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Martin Hash
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Political Spectrum

Post by Martin Hash » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:16 pm

The political spectrum is not one-dimensional – not simply measured from the left to the right with everyone’s ideology falling conveniently in-between. Nor is it multi-dimensional, like many online personal political mapping websites portray. In fact, politics is not even linear, meaning there is no gradual shift from one belief to another. Instead, the decision-making process of computers is a better metaphor for describing political ideology: in a computer every single question can be answered with a simple yes or no, from tiny decisions all the way up to the most complicated theories - called a heuristic. Boiled down to its barest essentials, political beliefs fall into four distinct quadrants, meaning your leanings are mostly determined by only two questions: 1) group vs. individual, and; 2) strong vs. weak government. All political parties fall into one of the four possibilities:

Group/Strong : Collectivists (Socialists & Marxists)
Individual/Strong : Liberals
Group/Weak : Conservatives
Individual/Weak : Libertarians

There may be a large number of questions that define your affiliation within a quadrant but those issues are all subject to the logic of the quadrant you are in: i.e., if you believe in maximum individual freedom then it is illogical to raise arguments that favor the group over the individual; and a weak government cannot conflict with the values of your local social class structure.

Ironically, Conservatives cite "liberty" but, in fact, they often advocate parochial values, for example:
Religious mandates: prayer, ecclesiastic authority, scripture;
Societal restrictions: family obligations, etiquette, traditions;
Patriotism: oaths, loyalty, military service;
Corporate rules: ethics requirements, hierarchical (class-based).

Conservatism often leads to a class system and tyranny, which eventually causes revolution.

Libertarianism, sooner-rather-than-later, leads to usurpation because a strong force can overwhelm individual resistance.

Collectivists have a further component: Marxists focus on "equality," while Socialists may allow inequality if it is in the best interests of the group. (Marxism is contrary to the mandates of the U.S. Constitution which guarantees an individual's right to "property.")

Liberalism most closely encompasses the "liberty" (individual freedom) and federalism (strong government) components of the U.S. Constitution.
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