The Political Spectrum: The Correct Delineation
If we want to navigate through complex territory, we need an accurate map. If we do not have a good map, we are likely to get lost. If we want to understand the political landscape, we need a sound paradigm by which to orientate ourselves. If we do not have a good paradigm, we are likely to lose our bearing and make wrong judgments. One of the reasons why so much of our political discourse is so confounding and unfruitful is because our paradigm is faulty.
The left-right map we have been given to navigate the political landscape is incorrect. It depicts the political spectrum as populated on the far left by hardline communists and socialists such as Lenin, Stalin, Castro. On the other end – on the far right – we have fascists like Hitler and Mussolini. These two camps stand on the opposite extremes and in between there is everyone else. In this model, the American Democrats are left of center while the Republicans are right of center.
Incorrect: Conventional understanding of the political spectrum
Here is how you can quickly see there something wrong with this paradigm: both Stalin and Hitler were socialists and big government totalitarians whose ideological underpinnings had their roots in the teachings of Karl Marx (see here about Hitler’s socialism). But if these two delineate the whole length of the political spectrum, where, then, do we fit limited government types such classical liberals or today’s libertarians? In the conventional understanding, there is really no place for them.
Below is the political spectrum drawn in a way that encompasses the full width of the political landscape.
Correct delineation of the political spectrum
In this paradigm, the spectrum is delineated by the degree of statism intended and aspired to by various political actors and ideologies. Thus, on the extreme left you have statist totalitarians while on the opposite side you have non-statists and state minimalists.
Actors on the political spectrum
With the corrected paradigm, we now easily find a proper place for classical liberals and libertarians. At the same time, Hitler – a Nazi socialist who built a powerful German state – is placed where he belongs on the left side, somewhat downstream from full-out statists like Stalin, Lenin or Castro.
Some observations on the correctly delineated spectrum
We now see that the conventional paradigm only presents the left portion of the spectrum and not the whole extent of it. This misunderstanding has been consciously planted and cultivated by the left which had several good reasons for propagating this distortion. Their first concern was to distance themselves from Hitler, their socialist brother. We explained earlier how they were able to pull it off: “What gave the leftists a cover for their obfuscation was Hitler’s racism and nationalism which he superimposed on his socialist underpinnings. This muddied the waters just enough to make the lie possible. The truth, however, remains that fundamentally Hitler was your standard socialist.”
The obfuscation enabled leftists appear to be removed from or even opposite of Hitler. This was a masterstroke of propaganda given that Hitler is their ideological bedfellow. We have shown previously how the two share fundamental inclinations in the Ideological Pedigree Table of Values and Views. As such, they stand shoulder to shoulder on the political spectrum. Hitler was a leader whose socialism was mixed with strong elements of racism and nationalism. Today’s Democratic party – which has been recently taken over by its radical elements – is a present-day version of the Nazis in the American context. Both are socialists who are strongly racist and nationalistic. The only difference is the target of their racism – whites vs Jews – and the direction of their nationalism: negative vs positive (for more detailed treatment of this see here).
The left’s inversion of the political paradigm has had the further advantage of placing their ideological opponents – those advocating a more limited state – on the same half of the spectrum as Hitler thus creating an appearance of affinity even though in reality they are opposites.
By placing themselves close to the center, leftists have managed to make themselves look moderate and reasonable. Their feigned modesty was designed to increase their appeal to the common man for whom they purport to care. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. The moment leftists gain power they make life miserable for the very people they claim to champion. Just ask the workers of the Soviet Union, Hitler’s German Volk, Mao’s peasants or the people of Cuba how good and pleasant was life under their leftist rulers.
On the most fundamental level, a leftist is someone wh
Article from LewRockwell