We often hear arguments from the left accusing the right-wing of fascism, while the right accuses the left-wing of socialism of communism. Most people in America would identify themselves as being in the middle, neither too far or left, or too far right. This is the political spectrum most of us were taught in both, public and private school and is demonstrated in the graphic below:
With a left, right, center political paradigm, it is easy to see how one group of individuals can be manipulated into arguing against the policies of, or outright hating, the other opposing group.
As we approach the far left or far right of the traditional political spectrum model, it quickly becomes apparent that the forms of government, while they have many differences, are essentially the same – government run dictatorships. Politics of fear are used to threaten the citizenry with the extremes of each side of the spectrum, and thus most people, who believe they have no other options remaining, end up somewhere in the center.
The above political spectrum, however, does not adequately address the different forms of government and governance. It is merely a depiction of the so-called two-party system, or two-headed snake.
As you may have noticed, the libertarian and anarchist systems of governance are not depicted in the above graphic, because there is simply no room for this mode of thought in our current two-party paradigm. These concepts are outliers that actually have no place within the traditional spectrum.
While it may not provide the perfect interpretation of a true political spectrum, the following graphic may provide a much better view of the different forms of government, which, in our opinion are more important to understand than the different ideologies with a specific form of governance. The right/left political ideologies may be quite different on the surface, but their places within the spectrum of governance fall within the same grouping of government intervention:
It is clear in the above depiction that if this spectrum where used to demonstrate the different levels of government, as opposed to the traditional spectrum which demonstrate only the different ideologies within one type of system of governance, that the two-headed snake system would likely not be as popular as it is today.
Our problem in America is one of education. Our public education system, and to some extent our private education systems, are heavily influenced by the two-party system, and thus it makes sense that the only option provided to the people from a very young age is one of democrat , republican, or centrist. The traditional political spectrum model has been taught for generations and has subsequently become the accepted paradigm of governance in our country.
In order for us to move out of the current paradigm, a shift is required in the public’s awareness. Expecting government subsidized educators to be on the forefront of this shift is not a reasonable approach, thus it must start on the individual level. We as individuals, it seems, must take responsibility into our own hands and educate ourselves, and then pass this information on to our children, family and friends.
It will take a revolution……of the mind.
Watch The Political Spectrum Explained:
Hat Tip The Nothing Store
I think this is one of your best articles, not for content per se but for paradigm shifts in thinking, something this country desperately needs.
I think you nailed it with laying the blame on our education system (or at least a large part of it). I had to suffer the 1-2 years of the last presidential campaign, specifically listening to my daughters (10 and 8) come home and tell me how their teachers would poll the class and ask which person they would select to become the next President, Obama or McCain. Most of the replies from the kids naturally echoed their parent’s sentiments since they often hear them discuss politics at home or in the car.
What amazed me to some degree was that NOT ONE of those kids was told there were other choices besides Obama/McCain. I remember telling my kids that there were other choices and I remember the look of puzzlement on their faces. I didn’t explain all the reasons why they never heard of the other choices, given their ages and inexperience, but I did make an effort to explain to them how important it is to always ask questions because it’s so easy to just accept the status quo.
So it would appear that sometimes there is a third answer on a true/false question. One just needs to break out from the confines of the conventional way of thinking to realize that.
Thanks for the comment Chris. I am in the same boat as you with the kids and that is one of the reasons I wrote this article. My son also came home with the McCain / ObamaÂ class voting thing and asked me who I would vote for. I said “neither” and I immediately saw a look of confusion on his face.
Though he may not be old enough to understand the political spectrum models above, I regularly tell him to question everything — including me. Just because a teacher or other authority says it, doesn’t mean that it is true. I think for him, being 7 years old, this is a good approach. Basically, question your environment and understand that just because you are presented two options doesn’t mean you don’t have another choice. In my case, the choice was not to vote for either one of them — he was never told that he had the right to NOT vote!
My first priority with the kids is to instill the idea that not everything is as it may seem and that everyone has an agenda — we’ll fill in the gaps with specifics later, as they become more mature and are able to make the associations across different subjects.
Here is yet another spectrum:
Darn you beat me to it. This is one discussion/argument that drives me absolutely crazy. I have done a lot of research into this and still cannot pin point how/what caused Fascism to be labeled a “Right” thing.Â Your first Political spectrum depicts thatÂ “manipulated” viewpoint.Â Â
The far right is anarchism, the far left is totalitarism/authoritarianism/whatever.
Socialism/Communism in and of itself is not a totalitarian idea but it takes a dictatorial state to implement it because of its lack of appeal to a majority of a society.Â
Socialism is the idea of creating “fairness” amongst the haves and have-nots. This state of existence could theoretically be achieved by a well intentioned hippie commune with no central power but its almost complete absence in human society proves it can’t.Â Communism (derived from commune) collectivism, and socialism are all the same basic term for a severely flawed Utopian pie in the sky dream.
While the â€œexpertsâ€ have a hard time trying to meticulously define fascism, in basic terms, . Fascism is a consolidation of power and control by the state.
The two “ideas” go hand in hand because in 99.9999999% of cases a fascist state must exist to achieve a socialist state. All forms of socialist governments are fascists to some extent. Fascism can theoretically exist with out socialism, but socialism really cannot exist without some form of fascism.
Never is EVERYONE in a society going to support socialism thus fascism is needed to “get the job done”.
Modern fascism would be hard to achieve without popular support thus fascists use socialism to get that support from the “victim” population.
Progressivism is a fascist movement.
Hitler stated the only difference between the Nazi’s and the Communists were his belief in Aryan suprmecy. H e was willing to make everyone but the “Perfect race” slaves. Â The communists were equal opportunity slave masters.
I took the Nolan quiz and I am one of those lefties.Â Sorry, but progressivism is NOT a fascist movement.Â I don’t want the government in my bedroom, but I do want them making sure that my water is clean, my air is clean and my medicines are safe.Â These are things that I can not do on my own.Â By the way, you can’t either.
If you look up fascist, you will see it related to a term called corporatist.Â A fascist government is one where there is an intermingling of corporate and state control of government.Â It is very authoritarian.Â Nazism is an extreme example of fascism, but Franco’s Spain, Italy under Mussolini, and a lot of Latin American governments in the 20th century are better examples.Â Actually, China behaves as a fascist government at this point.Â The thing with Fascist governments are that they enforce social order to an extreme. Dissent of any kind is not tolerated.Â The mode of thinking of today’s conservatives and Republicans is not quite Fascist, but comes frighteningly close.Â I wonder what Lincoln would say about them now.
I agree, Shogunole…
However, if Republicans and “conservatives” (whatever you think that means) are anything remotely resembling fascists, then the current administration is going for all-out totalitarianism.
First off don’t start telling me to “look up definitions”, I have done more research on this subject than you I can guarantee that.
Progressives want to control every aspect of your life, if that doesn’t fit the modern understanding of Fascism, then I don’t know what does…Go read some books on the subject then we can “debate” the subject,Â although there won’t be much to argue at that point.
Hilarious, still calling conservatives and republicans fascist, oh boy, we really are doomed when the herd think is so deeply entrenched.
I will take some of the risks of life if it means the ” think they know whats better for me altrusifreaks crowd”Â gest the hell out of my life.
” A fascist government is one where there is an intermingling of corporate and state control of government.”
And this isn’t obammysÂ modus-operandiÂ how?Â I think you contradicted yourselfÂ SLIGHTLY, this describes perfectly the current environment in Washington.Â Â What is going on is the perfect example of fascism and socialism walking hand in hand together to achieve a common goal,Â CONTROL!!
The problem is the government already is in your house.Â They can monitor your internet access and listen in on your phone conversations.Â The government sure does an excellent job of keeping the water clean by adding fluoride, a highly toxic and cancerous substance.(http://www.fluoridealert.org/)Â How many medications has the fda recalled due to toxicity and insufficient testing? Vioxx and Meridia come to mind.Â How many medications are still out on the market causing damage?Â Why cant a private independent company do the testing?Â Underwriters Lab does excellent work testing all the electrical equipment that surrounds you in your home.Â Being a progressive, you obviously advocate bigger government, but where does this end.Â Â Do you want them to tell you what clothes to wear, what to eat,where you can live, how many children you can have.Â My point is that government only moves one way and that is bigger.Â Â Throughout history, no government has voluntarily given up power. Â I hope this is learned quickly, because when the shtf you are going to learn that government is your worst enemy.Â Â They will sacrifice you, your family and the rest of us in a heartbeat to continue the status quo.
I think all of you have confused big gov’t with fat gov’t.Â I am ok w/Â gov’t being big, strong and lean.Â Think Shaq in his prime.Â I am not ok w/ fat bloated gov’t that doesn’t do the things that it should be doing.Â Also, I do realize that the gov’t can monitor things on my computer and my phone if they really wanted to.Â I can’t do anything about that, nor can any of you (short of getting off the grid and getting encryption equipment).
However, lets start w/ some of your statements:
Wonka:Â Please educate me on your progressivism research and your research on the definition of fascism.Â From what I know of fascism, it is associated with the political “right” not the left.Â I have done some reading on the subject as well and I am a willing student, but don’t go bloviating on how much you know.Â It is highly disrespectful. I may think that the entire conservative philosophy is out of season and a con, but I do treat everyone on the site with the courtesy they deserve. I learn from you, you learn from me. Capesh?
Oh, and I do think you need to look really hard at what the previous admin. and the conservative republican controlled congress did during last nine years in terms of civil liberties and their attitude towards their corporate buddies and see if what they did does not come very close to what would be considered fascism.Â Given that you are the expert on the subject, you should be able to instruct me on how close they came.Â If not, then I guess you aren’t as knowledgeable as you are bragging to be.
Ahab:Â Maybe O=W,Â but the jury is still out on that one.Â Right now, our so called “free” market system in health care and just about everything else is broken.Â What to do? Should O have gone along with bailing out AIG and the banks?Â I don’t think so, but if you were in his shoes, would you have allowed the economy to collapse without doing anything?Â Should he allow the banks and insurance companies to continue to rob us blind?Â I don’t think so.Â Our political and economic systems are out of balance and we have too much government where we don’t need it and not enough were we do.Â Restoring the balance means turning to the left in some ways(regulating business) and right ward in others( more individual responsibility as well as community mindedness).Â
Anarchy:Â UL does a good job, but even their cert only goes so far.Â They can’t put someone in jail for making a faulty product.Â The gov’t can.Â The FDA, given that they are a gov’t agency has teeth and rightly so.Â Yes, they screwed up w/ Vioxx and Meridia.Â However, the screw up was putting the medicines on the fast track to approval so that companies like Merck can make their money.Â In addition, I don’t think you want to be in a situation where you give your kids medicine for something like a cold, only to have the unthinkable happen because the medicine maker put anti-freeze in the bottle to make the medicine taste sweet(This is why the FDA came to be). The free market is reactive, not proactive and it can’t protect you nor give you compensation for fraud.Â Guess who can though(though not perfectly) as long as the right laws are in place?Â
As for fluorine, you are talking to a chem E here.Â F is toxic in high doses.Â So is anything else.Â The fact is that we don’t know what the effect of chemical mixtures are on the body so to say that F alone in the water supply is causing abnormal cancer rates is premature.Â That said, would you rather live in China and drink the water from their taps?Â I know enough 1 st gen. Chinese to know that the answer is no on that one.Â You can contradict me on that one if you’d like.
Oh boy, talk about bloviating……nothing you have said isÂ of “learnable quality”, just regurgitated diatribes, no offense.
And who ever said Bush and cronies weren’t progressives, R and D mean NOTHING!!
Gentlemen, please! :-)Â Â The only difference between the right and the left is who is going to control YOU and how theyÂ intend to do it.Â We clearly have a facist infrastucture evidenced by the Reagan, Bush, Bush years; and NOW we have a socialist White House with an agenda bent on “Transforming Amerika”.
I am all for “hope and change”: butÂ my hope is “liberty and justice for all”; the change I want is equal opportunity based upon merit, and prosperity commensurate with value and performance.Â The “transformation of Amerika”IÂ seek isÂ a strict adherence to the Declaration, Constitution, and my unalienable Bill of Rights.
The best things in life: like personal liberty,Â personal responsibility, self reliance, and self determination, get betterÂ over time.
Wonka:Â “Oh boy, talk about bloviatingâ€¦â€¦nothing you have said isÂ of â€œlearnable qualityâ€, just regurgitated diatribes, no offense.“Â Well, I guess you can’t back up what you are saying then. As I said, I am willing to learn from you and am giving you the opportunity do demonstrate your knowledge, but you have nothing positive to offer, unlike Mac and Rick.Â Too bad.
Zukadu:Â You are right in a lot of ways.Â I agree that we do need to keep reaching for the ideal of equal opportunity based upon merit, and prosperity commensurate with value and performance. The question is how do we do it and stillÂ balance individual freedom with the needs of a community?Â I have not heard any good Libertarian or “Conservative” suggestions on this.Â
Also, do you believe in a “dead” or “live” Constitution?Â My thinking is that, “dead” constitution = “dead” country. Why?Â because the only constant is change and we as a nation must adapt to changing circumstances, otherwise we become a historical footnote.Â Our founders made sure that the constitution was not a static document for that reason. Â Â I do not think we want to go back to the days of African-Americans = 3/5 of a person nor do we want even more corrupt State Legislatures electing Senators.Â We are stronger for the United States being a singular nation not a plural one.Â Also, I don’t think we want the Constitution to become a procedural document(See the Fabius Maximus Blog for more.Â Good Stuff there).
I gave a pretty detailed description/definition above which you apparently didn’t read or don’t agree with.Â Go spend at least a couple hours delving into definitions and histories of the movements/ideologies, then look at where we stand as a nation and the “leaders” and agendas of said leaders, throw in some critical thinking skills (woefully inadequate/missing from most under 35 yr olds nowadays), and if you are as open minded as you claim to be, you will probably come to the same conclusions.
“Also, do you believe in a â€œdeadâ€ or â€œliveâ€ Constitution?Â My thinking is that, â€œdeadâ€ constitution = â€œdeadâ€ country. Why?Â because the only constant is change and we as a nation must adapt to changing circumstances”
Nevermind, I didn’t read this part first, you have been way too deeply indoctrinated, only failure of what you have been taught to be “right” will bring you around.Â That time is coming and this is what this website is all about.Â The youth of this country stopped being the hope of our country ever since the late 60’s
Thank you for thinking that I am younger than I am!Â I am not under 35.Â
I did read your definitions and I don’t disagree w/ your definition of fascism, but your logic is shaky at best when it comes to tying fascism and socialism.Â I may need to dig up my book on quantifier logic and see if they all make sense.Â Out of curiosity on my part, where does your def. for socialism come from(citation?)?
Some other comments:
“The two â€œideasâ€ go hand in hand because in 99.9999999% of cases a fascist state must exist to achieve a socialist state.“Â Blanket Statement, prove it.
“Socialism/Communism in and of itself is not a totalitarian idea but it takes a dictatorial state to implement it because of its lack of appeal to a majority of a society. “Â Blanket Statement, prove it.
“All forms of socialist governments are fascists to some extent. Fascism can theoretically exist with out socialism, but socialism really cannot exist without some form of fascism.“Â Blanket Statement, Prove it.
“Never is EVERYONE in a society going to support socialism thus fascism is needed to â€œget the job doneâ€.
Modern fascism would be hard to achieve without popular support thus fascists use socialism to get that support from the â€œvictimâ€ population.
Progressivism is a fascist movement. ”
The premises and conclusion do not link when it comes to proving that progressivism=fascism.Â In addition, I see no examples to back up your assertions here. So much for your vaunted critical thinking skills.
Anon:Â My question to Zukadu is a legit one.Â Justice
Scalia believes in a “dead” constitution and so do a lot of “conservative” legal scholars.Â I am a believer in a “living” constitution.Â I was curious to know his thoughts.Â I have not been indoctrinated by anyone and have come to my own views on my own.
Hey Willie, just a piece of advice from a friend, there is no talking sense to the nonsensical.
“Never argue with an idiot, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference”Â
I know, shame on me for getting drawn in. My naivete was showing.Â Once in awhile I loose my mind and think I can talk sense into someone, thanks for the slap back into reality.
Another relevant variation of that quote.
“Donâ€™t argue with idiots. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience”.Greg King
Joe:Â I am not being non-sensical at all.Â (Though I must be nuts being a progressive posting on a right wing site) It is just that I have more respect for people who can legitimately back up their views instead of engaging in name calling when someone has a legitimate opposing view.Â I have spoken with quite a few libertarians and conservatives and have learned a lot from them and they from me.Â We, in most cases have, agreed to disagree on a lot and that is ok.Â All of us want to make this country better and get it out of the hole that it is in.Â Other than warning us about some serious stuff that is going on, isn’t that what this site is essentially about?Â
You post comments here because you actually want to discuss these issues andÂ listen to opposing points of view.
I respect that.
To be quite honest, I’m at the point where it has become so obvious to me that what “we” are doing now is SO unsustainable that SOMETHING has to change.Â Anything…I don’t care.
If what “we” do makes things better, great.Â If not, or it even makes them worse, we are just one step closer to the SHTF.
I’m even pretty much applying that sort of thinking to health care reform.
Thanks, Rick.Â Likewise, by the way.
Out of curiosity, have you read the following?
1) Generations by William Strauss and Neil Howe
2) The Fourth Turning, Same authors as above.
3) Blood in the Streets, by William Rees Mogg and James Dale Davidson
4) The Great Reckoning, same as #3
5) The Soverign Individual, same as #3
6) Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, Paul Kennedy
7) The Clash of Civilizations
The first five deal with history from a non-mainstream point of view and can provide a framework for what is going on now.Â In the case of the books written by Rees-Mogg and Davidson, you’ll have to get past the salesmanship regarding how “Megapolitics” can make you rich.Â The theory in and of itself is useful and they hit the nail on the head even more than Celente has.Â Strauss and Howe’s theory on how the mix of generational archetypes shape history is a good one and a lot of what has gone on will make some sense to you if you read it.Â None of these guys are liberals and keep in mind that the books are dated.Â The other two books give a longer term view of history from a mainstream point of view and put things into perspective as well.Â They are somewhat dry reading though.
I have also found the Fabius Maximus, Generational Dynamics and Global Guerrilla blogs quite informative as well (Though I think I mentioned them to you already).Â The global guerrilla blog contains the writings of William Lind who is a well known conservative thinker and of Col. John Boyd who was the 20th cen. version of Adm. Alfred Thayer Mahan.Â What they have to say makes a ton of sense, even to a Lefty like me.(I may have mentioned Lind and Boyd before)
Anyway, as much as a lot of people on this blog hate what O is doing, he is at least trying to lead.Â I can’t say the same for Congress (Either Party) or what went on in the previous admin.Â Right now, leadership is what we need.Â The question is who will provide it, “them” or us?
Willie,Â Good synopsis.Â People like shogunle get mired in what they were taught, what they THINK a certain word or definition means.Â Even the best explanations fail to connect because it doesn’t mesh with their public school education or their snippet understanding of things.
Shogunle,Â for a one stop shopping experience of what Willie is trying to explain to you, read Jonah Goldbergs “Liberal Fascism”.Â It will probably be more than you will ever want to know and will hopefully open your eyes to the bigger realities and interconnectedness of Socialism, Communism, Fascism, and their almost identical DNA.Â
Thank you for the book tip.Â
Wille, unfortunately, has not explained anything and that is my point.Â He is spouting off unproven assumptions without backing them up or at least telling me where he’s getting his facts.Â While it looks like he has strung a good argument together, if you look closely at what he has said, there is nothing there.Â Mostly logical fallacies.
As for me getting mired in what I have been taught, I am very much an independent learner, though I did learn about how to do research both in grade school and in college.Â My knowledge of the definitions of all the -isms come from my own study and I am a lay person when it comes to political science.Â
The one thing I don’t do is berate some one or insult their intelligence because I do not agree with their views so please don’t insult mine.Â Â
At this point, there is nothing out there, based on my knowledge of history, to make me believe that someone who believes in personal freedom but in regulating market behavior is a fascist.Â You are welcome to explain to me why this is so.Â Just make sure to bring facts, data, and counterexamples from your own experience when you do.
Now its just regulating market behavior but allowing personal freedoms?Â Your argument is as “alive and moving” as you think our constitution should be!!!
These people DON’T believe in personal freedoms, they believe in redistribution of wealth, “social justice” and controlling every aspect of your life because they, “the state” knows better than you, that is fascism/communism/progressivism/statism, etc in every reasonable, “working”, real lifeÂ application of these terms.
Under any of the said “ideologies rule” (just labels) you will have corporations, business, etc that go along with the ruling groupÂ to ensure their survival, those that don’t will be forcfully “confiscated” by the government.Â All past and current governments who can be labeled as one of the above, have control of and/or in collusion with big business, banks, etc. This is not a logical fallacy (again nice try with big words but not used in the right context), it is a fact.Â Name one country that has been ruled by a group with one of the aforementioned labels that did NOT do this to help cement their power.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of examples of their “belief” system, directly from their mouths and their pens, its not a secret club.Â 5 minutes of searching will lead you to all the examples you would need to understand what we are all saying IF you were willing to interpret the examples as most here have.
If you don’t want to “see” then there are no amount of facts, data, or counter examples to make you see it.Â As was said before, you are stuck on YOUR belief system and what has been brainwashed unto you.Â You’re not really listening or willing to believe what others are trying to tell you (or as admitted, while back, you are in agreement with this ideology).Â You are a proverbial lost cause until you are effected by it, which will be happening soon enough.
And yes you do berate and insult, thats how this whole “argument” got started.
Are you in gibbs or axelrods office right now? or your moms basement?
effected = affected in above post
Shogunle is a “repeater”
Anon: Neither, I own my own place.
That said, I do know that capital is a coward and will always flee to safety.Â As for not being willing to believe what others are telling me, forgive me for being somewhat of a skeptic.Â Give me something like “Under any of the said â€œideologies ruleâ€ (just labels) you will have corporations, business, etc that go along with the ruling groupÂ to ensure their survival, those that donâ€™t will be forcfully â€œconfiscatedâ€ by the government.” which makes logical sense to me and I’ll agree with you.Â Spout nonsense and I won’t.Â The same goes for me when it comes to some of you who are just as “brainwashed” as I am when it comes to the opposite ideology.Â
By the way, yes when someone takes a verbal swing at me I will hit back. If that constitutes berating someone, then so be it.Â I like debating the issues, its fun and I learn something from it.Â Name calling because I do not agree with your world view isn’t.
In addition, I have looked at the American Conservative Union Website ( and others) as well as the Von-Mises Institute site and others that deal w/ the Austrian school.Â Some of what they say makes sense and some doesn’t. The one thing that I do like about what those on the right have done is they have a logical framework that was developed over 40 years by some pretty bright people.Â I just don’t agree with some of the implicit assumptions about people that conservatives make (one being that people are inherently evil. Power matters though.Â On that, I do agree with those on the right ).Â Â
“I just donâ€™t agree with some of the implicit assumptions about people that conservatives make(one being that people are inherently evil. Power matters though.Â On that, I do agree with those on the right )”
WOW you really are confused!!!Â Â Most “conservatives” and Libertarians think only GOVERNMENT is inherently evil, we believe people can think and make decisions for themselves!!!!
THINK about what you are supposedly reading and as someone else has said, use some critical thinking skills and do PROPER comparing/contrasting!!!!
This argument is still going on?
Mac, Willie and others have tried to repeatedly show you the Right/Left paradigm you have been led to believe exists DOESN”T, The real paradigm is;Â the farÂ “Right” is anarchism, the far left is Oligarchy/Totalitarianism (Communism/Fascism/Progressivism/ Statism/Etc)Â Put down your semantics gun and realize that while there may be arguable small differences, these are all basically aboutÂ the same thing,Â Centralized Control of YOUR life.