I received a nastygram this week lecturing me on the definition of the political spectrum.
The correspondent was confused – though that didn’t stop him from demeaning me: “Wish you guys would get this right, once. You tend to unknowingly propagate the wrong idea and confuse readers when you think there is only a left and a right and try to apply a political belief to that odd little paradigm.”
This is actually a subject I have written about frequently with much detail and specificity.
I don’t like labels much. They are sometimes unavoidable, but they are often misunderstood. They tend to oversimplify matters of great importance and blur important distinctions.
But let me take another stab at defining the political spectrum in a way that, I believe, is indisputable.
Think of the political spectrum as a horizontal line going from left to right. On the extreme left are those who believe government should be in control of everything. That’s where the totalitarian ideologies belong – from Communism to Shariah. There is one way to do things and that is by the party line – and government is the enforcement mechanism.
On the extreme right would be those who hate government and think we can get along just fine as human beings without any. We call those people anarchists. You don’t meet many anarchists these days – not true anarchists. Most people who call themselves anarchists today aren’t really anarchists at all. They are merely angry people fomenting chaos, which more often leads to totalitarianism and authoritarianism rather than anarchy.
A true anarchist would be as far to the right as you can get on the political spectrum.
Just to the left of anarchists would be libertarians, who acknowledge there is a role for government but want it strictly limited. Those we call “conservatives” might be just to the left of the libertarians.
As I mentioned, over on the other side of the political spectrum, the left side, would be those who want government to have totalitarian control. These would be hard-core Stalinists and communists and Islamic radicals who want to control everyone’s behavior according to Shariah law.
Just to the right of them, but still way over on the left side of the spectrum, would be fascists, those who are still totalitarians, but don’t insist that government own all the means of production. Fascists are content to control the means of production.
Just to the right of these folks are those in our society who call for a “mixed economy” in line with the European model. You could also call it “soft socialism.”
In other words, what truly defines the political spectrum is attitude toward the proper role of government.
How does this model differentiate from the general misconceptions we hear so frequently?
First of all, fascism is often portrayed as a “right-wing” ideology, when, in fact, it is far left. Fascism and communism are ideological kissing cousins. That’s how close they are on the political spectrum and in their way of governance.
In fact, I would say that fascists are often mistakenly called communists. Take a look at China today and it is not by any stretch of the imagination communist. It is fascist. Even though most people who think of themselves as “left” would tell you they detest fascism, in practice, they often have not.
Mussolini was beloved by the left and practically defined fascism. Hitler was embraced by the Communist Soviet Union, until he betrayed Stalin’s non-aggression pact. Hollywood Communists led the “peace movement” in the U.S. and fought involvement in the European war until Hitler betrayed Stalin. Then, overnight, they became war mongers.
Secondly, anarchists are often described as left-wingers, when in fact they are on the extreme right of the political spectrum. Again, the political spectrum, if it is to make any sense at all, should be based on attitude toward government.
Because of these misconceptions, many Americans are missing the real political threat facing our country. It’s not from communism, but it is from another form of socialism – fascism.
Whenever you hear about “public-private partnerships,” you’re hearing about a fascist concept.
Whenever you hear about emergency government plans to confiscate property, block transportation and seize control of communications, it’s socialism that is knocking on the door.
Look at the way we have abdicated our individual liberties in favor of “group rights.” That’s a fascist concept. Look at the way we demonize certain groups (i.e. Bible-believing Christians) and elevate others (homosexuals come to mind as the new noblemen or chosen people) in our society. That, too, is a fascist concept.
One of the reasons America is moving toward fascism today is because it has lost its constitutional moorings. We’re supposed to believe in limited government in the United States. The federal powers are enumerated in the Constitution. But, in recent years, Washington has far exceeded its authority. And very few politicians – Democrats or Republicans – seem to give a darn.
So, maybe you ask, who’s in the middle of the political spectrum?
America’s Founding Fathers were.
They believed in very limited central government but left to the states broad powers to legislate.
And I’m with them.
How about you?
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