Where do you fall on the political spectrum? You know, right/left, Republican/Democrat… If you are like many Americans, you chafe at even the suggestion that you “fit in” to a specific spot on the scale. You bristle at the notion that your political-slash-philosophical essence can be summarily placed onto a fixed point.
If this is indeed you, you may find the next part interesting. You see, I will tend to agree that you shouldn’t be pigeonholed – but not for the reason you think. This nation is, after all, filled with people who nearly always vote Democrat, and people who nearly always vote Republican. But the reason they (and you) should not be placed onto a specific point on the U.S. political scale has to do with the scale itself: the scale is nonsense.
The Nonsensical American Political Scale
Let’s review for a moment the current incarnation of the American political spectrum, keeping in mind that it has been far from stable, historically speaking. Keep in mind also that it is a spectrum, as in a two-way delineation, as America has virtually always been a two-party country.
So what’s on the left? Well, what you have is a bunch of folks who are interested in individual liberty, but alas, in only specific kinds of individual liberty: freedom of conscience, religion, and (sometimes) speech. Freedom to control one’s own body, in myriad ways. Freedom to not be conscripted into a nationalist military agenda. All good stuff.
The freedom these Left People are not so much interested in however is one of the most fundamental, and one of the easiest for the working populace to identify with: the right to wring the bread from the sweat of one’s own brow. That is, to not always have to give away half the loaf.
The Right People, who proudly consider the wringing of bread from the sweat of others’ brows to be an abomination, endlessly trumpet their love of liberty, and their eternal quest for Small Government. However, sit down with these folks and elicit their specific views on religion, on drugs, on sex, on the military, on law and order: odds are, on most or all of these essential societal topics, the Right People will prescribe, yes, Big Government.
The whole thing is a long tubular house of cards.
A New Scale?
If we could only smash the cards and build anew, how much better would it be if we could group the true freedom-lovers on one side (we could call them, say, libertarians) and those who are not (statists, perhaps) on the other.
Leviathan will feed itself – not to worry there – from the right, left and middle. But we could at least move forward in a climate where words actually mean something – and where common sense and reason trump the nonsensical and random evolution of political semantics.