Almost every blog ends up with a battle over the current political spectrum that has liberal at one end, conservative at the other and moderate in the middle. There are other extremes mentioned like radical and reactionary, but it is too limiting. Another problem is the current system used was created during the 1790s in France, denoting a “left” and “right.” The new spectrum I created is below:
From a number of sources, including definitions I created myself, there is the definition of each term on the eight-pointed spectrum above.
I’ll start with the terms Aristocrat and Democrat. The idea came from Noam Chomsky’s book titled Secrets, Lies and Democracy. Mr. Chomsky writes that “Thomas Jefferson…made a distinction between two groups—aristocrats and democrats. Aristocrats “fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes.” This view is held by respectable intellectuals in many different societies today, and is quite similar to the Leninist doctrine that the vanguard party of radical intellectuals should take power and lead the stupid masses to a bright future. Most liberals are aristocrats in Jefferson’s sense…Henry Kissinger is an extreme example of an aristocrat. Democrats, Jefferson wrote, “identify with the people, have confidence in them, cherish them and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise, depository of the public interest. In other words, democrats believe the people should be in control, whether or not they’re going to make the right decisions. Democrats exist today, but their becoming increasingly marginal.”
When the word ‘Democrats’ is mentioned, I am not talking about those of the Democratic Party. If one looks at the party platforms and compares them, you could consider the Republican and Democratic parties to be one big party with two parts, having some differences, but not many. Also one could say that both of the so-called major parties are separate, but so similar that the terms “Republican” and “Democrat” don’t mean anything. If one is to interpret this correctly, think of Democrats in the Jeffersonian sense, as those that want the people in control, not some elite class. Do not think of the word “Democrat” in this political spectrum as those that cave in on certain issues in the federal legislature, do insider trading legally for the most part and get money from special interests. Those that are running in the 2012 election for “the 99%” as shown on Occupy the Ballot’s website would encompass Democrats (in the Jeffersonian sense). More evident of this is in the working document of OWS candidates, which can be seen below:
In my reading of different internet postings, I read once that one person characterized the world as divided between those for and those against corporations. As a result that was incorporated into the new spectrum in the words corporatist and Non-corporatist (or Anti-corporatist). I’ll start with non-corporatism, which many call “Anti-corporatism.” One blog owner mentioned[i] what they defined this term: “I am a radical anti-corporatist. I think all should be free to organize to further their own ends, but not by implic[i]tly and malignantly conspiring to reduce the interests of everyone else.” I searched the internet and looked for more information on this term. Another person on topix briefly mentioned it: “I'm anti-corporatism [because] capitalism eventually leads to corporatism especially in America where everything has a price tag on it.”[ii] I kept going through topix and found more material. While I don’t agree with the viewpoint expressed toward the Occupy Wall Street protesters from the topix forum, some of the text still applies to this discussion: “I'm not anti-capitalist, I'm anti-corporatist. I'm against too much power in the hands of too few people who control all the levers of power, no matter who those people are.”[iii] Finally, I looked at The New Moderate blog. One person below the article commented: “I’m increasingly an anti-corporatist. Sure, plenty of corporations make plenty of worthwhile products, but 1) they’ve become far too influential with our elected representatives, and 2) they’ve essentially become winner-take-all games, with the CEOs often earning 1000 times more than the average employee.”[iv] From all of these sources I have concluded that if one is a non-corporatist they are: against grand combinations such as monopolies and trusts, but think that everyone should be able to organize businesses or whatever whenever they want but in a way that benefits others, against an plutocratic-type government with the wealthy wielding major power and reducing the influence of the corporations on the political process.
From all of that, you are probably still wondering what a corporatist is. A University of Massachusetts report gets us a little closer to the answer. It argues that John Maynard Keynes was a corporatist, while defining the word.[v] From the pdf, I picked those words to define this term and a person who embodies this term would:
- “decisively reject the traditional theory of perfect competition”
- “[accept] the ongoing trend toward increased reliance on public corporations, and argue that the government should…accept the current movement toward cartels, holding companies, trade associations, pools and other forms of monopoly power [and] should proactively assist and accelerate this trend in order to regulate and control it”
- “[say] The state [should] set goals for these corporations and evaluate their performance, but not manage them directly.”
- “[support]...self-regulation [of big business in order to create]…the ultimate corporatist institutional arrangement.”
In the definition of this word, I am not promoting a conspiracy; rather one showing that one who believed these ideals would want a government that benefits big business in some way or another, as well as for their one benefit.
The issue of corporatism is on many people’s minds ever since the beginning of this economic crisis which one could call the second Great Depression. However, armed conflict is a major problem that must be put into the political spectrum through the terms “War Hawk” and “Peace Activist.” I’ll start with the latter term. In a facebook comment, one can get closer to its definition. One user states[vi]: “[that in today’s world] the wars rage on costing trillions of dollars and millions of lives.” The same user on Third Party Forum’s facebook group writes of the goal to “were speaking out on a…timely issue (wars in Afghanistan and Libya), and connecting them to the budget and near-government shutdown in Washington.”[vii] According to a few excerpts from Chris Hayes articles linked on Third Party forum, one can get closer to defining the word at hand. Mr. Hayes inadvertently defines the term as those who oppose “
You are probably wondering what a war hawk is, since I’ve already defined a peace activist. Last year, I wrote about War Hawks and the Tea Party.[viii] More relevant to this discussion as of now is who the original “War Hawks” were: “A group of 10 individuals who…wanted war with Britain [and they corrupted the] President of the United States, James Madison [to go to war with Britain].” Today, that same ideology stays in place with those of this term as those that do not want to cut the military budget and those that want to go to war, increasing the expenditures on the national budget. Those of this position defend themselves saying troops must be worldwide for “national security” or “defending our interests.” In addition, those that support war in any shape or form would fall into this category as well.
While the term “war hawk” and “peace activist” epitomize the struggle over the issue of war, it isn’t enough to complete the spectrum as a whole. Libertarians (Market Anarchist) and Coercive Collectivists must be included as well. Market Anarchists is defined on page 27 of David Miller’s book titled Political Philosophy as those that “claim we could contract and pay individually for the services the state now provides, including crucially for personal protection. In the absence of the state, forms would offer to protect clients and their property, and this would include retrieving property that had been stolen, enforcing contracts, and obtaining compensation for personal injury. So if my neighbour steals something that is mine, instead of calling the (public) police, I would call my protective agency, and they would take action against the troublesome neighbour.”
William Levinson tacks on some other ideas to this term. He defines these people[ix] as those for equal opportunity, an all-volunteer armed forces, encouraging private citizens to learn how to use firearms and those that are practical recognize the need to pay taxes for collective national defense. In addition, those of this term find flag burning offensive but not punishable by law, say there should be little or no gun control with citizens using weapons for their self-defense as well as the country as a whole against foreign enemies, the government must issue weapons if does not want to restrict military service and people have the right to pray in a school or anywhere else as long as it doesn’t disrupt others. Also these people are for private retirement accounts and pro-choice. In opposition, he defines a “Coercive Collectivist” as one that wants "a higher, nobler, and kinder world based on the sanctity of the Crowd and the villainy of the single person,” those that want flag burning to be illegal, want private security forces and want mandatory school prayer. Furthermore, those of this term believe that there should be mandatory participation in a government retirement plan (like Social Security), want a return of the draft, in support of affirmative action, exclusion of certain racial/ethnic groups and in favor of compulsory abortions. To clarify, one must realize that the person who came created the scale between “coercive collectivist” and “libertarian” was leaning to the side of libertarianism, so he made the other side sound worse. Even so, I believe the terms make sense, but I made some modifications.
This eight-pointed political spectrum as a whole, combining the ideas of those across the internet is a comprehensive way to tell where you are on the political spectrum. In the middle can be whatever term you please, which I leave open to the discretion of the one using the spectrum. In the end, I hope this spectrum solves the problems of the current failures of the political system.