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political classification

By john_wills ·
A while ago Ozmedia wrote that you had to classify yourself if you were working with U.S. people. But classficiation schemes are varied: each major ideology has its own way of classifying ideologies. A common technique is to place opinions on a left-right continuum, with the communists at the extreme left and either the fascists or the libertarians at the extreme right. Alas, libertarians and fascists are, except from a communist, libertarian or fascist viewpoint, as different from each other as either is from a communist: each of these three puts itself at one end of a continuum and the other two at the other. So their preferred continua must all be wrong.
If there are 10 political questions with 2 possible answers each there are 1024 possible isms. So we are not going to get everyone on a 2-dimensional chart, let alone a 1-dimensional one such as the above-mentioned extremists utilize. Still, whatever my own structure of political opinion, there is a certrain amount of clustering of opinions which allows us to propose fuzzy classes. Let us use economic preferences as the main classifier, because that seems to be in practice the main differentiator. Let us put socialists (NOT communists), liberals (NOT half-baked U.S. socialists) and corporatists at the vertices of an inner triangle. Then we can fit a lot of political opinions in or on the triangle, or near it. Germany's Christian Democrats, for example, are a little way along the perpendicular droped from the the corporatist vertex, slightly shifted towards the liberal vertex. U.S. conservatives are on or slightly beyond the edge between corporatism and liberalism, but nearer the liberal vertex. To handle the extremists, let us extend medians outward, from liberalism to libertarianism, from socialism to communism, from corporatism to fascism. Thus we construct an outer triangle. An anarchist has fallen off the triangular table, but it often makes sense to ask which edge or vertex he fell off.

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What about the fiscal conservative/social liberal?

by road-dog In reply to political classification

A lot of folks I know fall into that category. They believe in helping their fellow man, but that government programs are not the way to do so.

For purposes of your 3 dimensional plotting mechanism, one must take into account varying degrees of agreement with ideologies as relates to sample issues. The operational or textbook definitions must be kept separate in the polling process, so as not to taint results. We often try to answer questions as we wish to be perceived, not as we really feel.

I'd like to see a study where non- "hot button" questions are used to gauge political orientation. By "hot button", I mean questions like abortion and similar incendiary issues.

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many dimensions

by john_wills In reply to What about the fiscal con ...

This is a two-dimensional scheme I am proposing, not a 3-dimensional one, and my dimensions are not clear, or are twisted, because otherwise they would not fit everybody. I imagine the people you want to place come in two clusters, one on the liberal-socialist edge, one on the liberal-libertarian median. Abortion is a fairly explicit human-rights issue, orthogonal to my triangles, which do not cover human rights as such (although people at all points on the surface may claim that their point is the at maximum of the human-rights metric).

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Who needs a label?

by jardinier In reply to political classification

I belong to the Labor Party and generally support their policies because they strive for equal opportunity and quality of life in education and culture, while regarding pure material success as of lesser importance. Actually the richest man in Australia, Kerry Packer, has been described by his friend Rene Rivkin as a deeply unhappy person.

I have found it totally impossible to discuss political issues with Liberal supporters because they are not interested in issues, but assume the Liberal Party has a God-given right to rule.

My mother voted Liberal until my father died, after which time, on looking into politics for herself, found that she prefered Labor. She also found it was impossible to discuss political issues with Liberal supporters.

Through TechRepublic discussions I get the same impression about Republican voters. Never mind issues, the Republicans are always right.

I believe human nature dictates that there will always be a right wing and a left wing. There will be those who need support, and others who find government interference an annoying handicap. Pure socialism failed in the USSR, just as pure communism is falling apart in China, because both systems discourage individual enterprise. The politics of seeking primarily personal wealth leads to a class of filthy rich people who find that money alone cannot bring personal happiness.

All the above is faily obvious but it is an immense responsibility to think for oneself on all of life's issues. So many, if not most people, will eagerly seek to be identified with a simple label (the same applies to religion as well as politics) and leave it to others to do the heavy thinking for them.

So politically I am a Julianist; religiously I follow Julianism. I am the first to admit that my overall knowledge is miniscule, and my "insights" are merely temporary points of view which will be modified by new knowledge and experience.

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left vs right

by john_wills In reply to Who needs a label?

By your definition, socialism and corporatism are the left wing, whereas liberalism is the right wing. That puts fascism and communism together as the extreme left wing and libertarianism on the extreme right wing. But fascism and communism are as different from each other as either is from libertarianism.
Like you, I do not classify myself in the nested triangles, using a different approach - not a party approach - to voting; my triangles are an attempt to classify the bulk of political movements better than the left-right continuum allows.

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