The Actual Political Spectrum

We all are familiar with the political spectrum, that hypothetical horizontal line on which we find our ‘point’ – our personal political ideology.  The principle is basic: left is liberal, right is conservative.

But while the standard spectrum is still valid as a foundation, in reality it isn’t a flat line at all.

This is one of the misconceptions old-style thinking has created.  In fact, the premise of the flat line spectrum has created many incorrect assumptions, such as the further right the smaller the government. 

Experience has led me to see the spectrum in a different way, inasmuch as it isn’t a flat line at all.

Looking at the points as well as tangible history, I learned that the further you go in either direction the bigger the government not only in actual size, but in rights-restricting, overbearing regulations and legislation.

The flat line is, in truth, more like an upward loop.  The higher you go towards each extreme, the larger the government and the less individual freedom the citizen has.

While there has been very little debate regarding my theory from the progressive left which openly encourages larger government, some on the far-right have taken issue with the concept.  They argue the old thinking that as you go to the right, government always reduces in size.

But actual government examples defeat that argument.  Conservative governments, while tending to preach restraint, have become indistinguishable from Liberal governments in size and heavy-handedness.

Just as proponents of far-left ideology embrace government control and influence over the people, the far-right also demands its beliefs be intertwined with government policy.

Historically, it is true that small governments tend to be slightly to the right of the spectrum center point, however these examples are few and far between.  Conservative governments, almost as a rule, have run on the promise to ‘reduce the size of government’ only to reverse their intentions once gaining office.

So what is the small government ideology?  As close to the center as possible, which can be found at the low-ebb of the real spectrum.  It is here one can find libertarianism and close cousin, Ayn Rand’s objectivism.

So now that I’ve gone and changed the entire accepted theory, where do you fall on the spectrum?


greg douglas said...

And lookee-there...

Libertarianism dangling at the bottom in the middle.

Like a Diamond on the necklace. Fitting then that the other two extremes form the clasp around one's neck!

Daniel Thompson said...

I had had this idea floating around in my head for some time, and I'm excited now that someone else has reached the same conclusion - that libertarianism is a centrist philosophy between left-wing and right-wing extremes.

What frustrates me is that most libertarians see themselves as right-wing, allowing for no distinction to be made between them and social conservatives.

Equally frustrating is the conservatives' belief that they are for "small government" even though they advocate the protection of traditional social values by the state and support rigid law and order.

The only group other than right-wingers who might dislike this model is social anarchists (who consider themselves, rather confusingly, to be far-left and anti-statist).

Daniel Thompson said...

I had had this idea floating in my head for some time, and it is most exciting to see that someone else has arrived at a similar conclusion!

His Name Was Steven