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    The Political Spectrum

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    The political spectrum presents a means in which we can understand political ideologies in a simple manner. It is a system to characterize and classify different political positions in relation to one another. There are numerous iterations of the political spectrum and many argue that there is not a true spectrum that will be able to place every individual as most charts merely take into account two different axis whereas a true documentation of an individual’s political ideas can only be accomplished with a multi-axis chart. The expressions political compass and political map are often used to refer to the political spectrum as well.

    The primary function of a political spectrum is to place various political ideologies in relation to one another. A political ideology is a doctrine or social blueprint that governs the life of a civilization. It can be said there are 4 notable forms of government which are:

    • Monarchy
    • Oligarchy

    • Democracy
    • Anarchy

    These political ideologies are tied to an individual’s political views so when these ideologies are put on a spectrum we are also able to narrow down the views of the people regarding politics in relation to those ideologies. There are far too many political ideologies that have cropped up over the years, all having minimal differences. These political ideologies at times hold the same ideas at the root of it but may have varying agendas. Politics today is categorized as left wing or right wing even though most people may be centrists. A miniscule shift in agenda may end up tilting an individual to either side and that is the harsh truth of politics.

    Monarchy/Oligarchy

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    It has been acknowledged that there are very few countries that embody the true sense of monarchy as there has never been one true individual who held absolute power. Even in the case of Hitler or Stalin, these individuals were merely the center point of a larger administration. These dictators are more accurately represented by an oligarchy in which there are a few people who hold power but it is one individual who acts as the face of the government when in reality they do not run the entire government. There are however mixed monarchies in countries like The Kingdom of Bahrain, and the State of Kuwait meaning there are representative bodies of some kind, but the monarch retains most powers.

    Nazi Germany was not the brainchild of merely Hitler but also a multitude of other people who held significant power in the government. Thus an oligarchy is a government structure that only caters towards the powerful. These people who are a part of the political structure may be distinguished by nobility, wealth, education, corporate, religious, political, or military control. An oligarchy is what many people today consider to be the foundations of the American government. The modern United States has also been described as an oligarchy because economic elites and organized groups representing special interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.

    An oligarchy is easily formed and many times it may emerge form what was once a democracy. This political ideology is derived (from Greek ὀλιγαρχία (oligarkhía) which means few to rule and command. These few who end up being in command are normally the financially elite much like how modern day Russia is an oligarchy under the command of a wealthy few like Vladmir Putin. These individuals morph the government by altering the laws to favor the minority rather than the majority thus exploiting economic monopoly to further increase their wealth.

    Even though a country like America practices the political ideals of a democracy, it can be said that the typical American holds minimal to no power at all in government. This is largely due to a concentration of wealth causing a global wealth inequality. Based on a research paper carried out Gabriel Zucman who is a Professor of economics at UC Berkeley, the richest 1% of Americans own 40% of the nation’s wealth. Many people believe that will never be true democracy without a redistribution of wealth however others argue that a country may never be processive with the implementation of a cap on wealth. This issue will forever remain a problem in the political world.

    Democracy

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    Democracy is a system of governance by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. Democracy is seen to be the perfect political ideology when in reality it had a multitude of flaws which were recognized by Socrates in the dialogues of Plato in his book The Republic. The reason Socrates was skeptical of the idea of democracy was tied to depiction he had used to simplify the idea of government. Socrates likened the political system to a boat and he questioned who should be in power to elect a captain. Should that decision be given to everyone on the ship or would that decision remain in the hands of those with expertise?

    … the true navigator must study the seasons of the year, the sky, the stars, the winds, and all the other subjects appropriate to his profession if he is to be really fit to control the ship…[the electorate] think that it’s quite impossible to acquire the professional skill needed for such control and that there’s no such thing as the art of navigation.

    Socrates believed that the voting system is not one that should be available to merely anyone as voting is a skill and it should be taught to the general public. Voting in an election cannot be done merely by random intuition as it will ultimately lead to demise. Thus Socrates believed that the public should be systematically educated on voting if the system were to be functional. Socrates was not to be confused with an elitist as he did not believe that the power to vote should always remain with the fair few but he did believe that only those who were educated regarding the subject should be allowed to vote.

    Voting should not merely be a vote right but should also rely on an individuals ability to comprehend the basis of politics. If not, the government will forever be damned under the ruling of a representative that was elected on foolish grounds. Socrates believed that a voting that ignored wisdom would ultimately lead to demagoguery which means the political activity or practices that seek support by appealing to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people rather than by using rational argument.

    Democracy without rationality will bring those who are able to provide empty promises into power. Without educated voters, an election is as equivalent to the suicide of a country. We have been blinded by democracy thinking of it as an unambiguous good rather than something that is only as effective as the education system that surrounds it. With that we have elected many undeserving people in the past due to demagoguery rather than democracy, we merely elect people who are able to provide short term solutions rather than visionaries. There can never be a valuable candidate in a democratic government so long as the people are of no intellectual value.

    Anarchy

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    Anarchy is the state of a society being freely constituted without authorities or a governing body. An anarchist views that most corruption and destruction is done by the government thus believing in the idea of entirely rejecting a set hierarchy. Anarchism can be defined as a universal condemnation of and opposition to all forms of closed, coercive authority (political, economical, social, etc) coupled with universal affirmation and promotion of freedom and equality in all spheres of human existence.

    Anarchists are viewed as those who will go above and beyond to overthrow the government. In modern times, the word anarchy is derogatory and in most cases is not tied to a political ideology. An anarchist holds the perception that all men are born equal and thus they are only different when placed in varied environments. Max Stirner points out in one of his works regarding the ego of man and how that will indefinitely govern the political system. He states how man is driven by individual benefit and forever will be even our morals are structured form personal gain.

    We live merely for ourselves and we progress our morals only to make ourselves look good and further our personal interests. Thus governance by a higher order or organization restrains our ego and proves to be an attack on our freedom. Today anarchy is considered to be a formless utopia that will eventually cave into itself. A government is what protects things that we have taken for granted such as protection of property, without a government we will have to fight to protect our land. A government sets the precedent for how a society will function by putting emphasis on the law.

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    There are many forms of anarchy and each one is unique in its own may in the sense that each branch of anarchy blames the power of the government on the negative effects of different things. For instance Anarcha-Feminism believes that patriarchy leads to oppression, Green-Anarchism believes that capitalistic government policies cause environmental exploitation and Anarcho-Pacifism on the other hand believes that the state creates political violence. Modern day anarchists do not in fact cater to acts of violence instead they merely believe in the conception of an organized society with as little control and domination as feasible.

    “A concept is a brick. It can be used to build a courthouse of reason. Or it can be thrown through the window.”― Gilles Deleuze

    Anarchy as a theory is quite appealing as it promotes freedom and egalitarianism, however in reality it is much more difficult to perfect. Anarchy as a whole is more of a resistance against an oppressive political system rather than a long term solution for the problem. Thus an anarchy will eventually lead back to to either a monarchy/oligarchy as the people will start to form power groups once more in a free society to control the wealth of the nation. When a government falls there will be a free for all between the citizens to seek political power but his power will remain within a small group of people and said power will forever be unregulated by law.

    The Spectrum

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    The spectrum that we know of today is in a linear fashion causing the phrase left wing and right wing to be hugely popularized. This term first cropped up during the French Revolution when those on the left were asked to be on the left while those on the right supported the monarchy. This same philosophy can be carried forward to the present further cementing that the left want change while the right support the status quo. The difference between left and right wing ideology rely on the balance between individual liberty and government power.

    Left Wing

    The left believe in social equality across the spectrum wanting the state to play a substantial role in the life of the individual. Thus bringing forward agendas that may be seen as more progressive by challenging the status quo.

    • Businesses should be more regulated
    • Higher taxes on the rich
    • Lenient views on immigration
    • Favor gun control
    • Abolishing the death penalty
    • Supporting same sex marriages
    • Women’s rights for abortion
    • Healthcare accessible to all

    Economically the left support the Keynesian approach which is school of thought that believes that the government should intervene to prevent an economic recession. Thus believing that the people be taxed highly so the money can be used during troubled times. The level of interference of the government depends on how far left does the individual which to identify themselves at. Communist want full control over the economy and it progressively decreases down the spectrum.

    Right Wing

    The right believe that social inequality is inevitable and that the government should have limited rule over the peoples lives. The right believes that preserving personal freedom should be the main role of government and limit the amount of rules imposed onto the individual. The right are also seen to hold more traditional and religious attributes when it comes to social issues thus opposing some of the more progressive beliefs of those on the left. Economically the right look at the New Classical approach by having a Laissez-Faire policy which emphasizes on deregulation to increase innovation as well as lower taxes to increase growth.

    • Lower taxes
    • Deregulation of businesses
    • Oppose gun control
    • Stronger border patrol
    • Oppose government provided universal healthcare
    • Against abortion

    Centrist

    A centrist holds views form both sides and often times believe in only a portion the agendas brought forward by a political party. With the rise of overwhelming partisanship, comes a new wave of individuals that believe in the middle ground of politics. This may seem appealing to many but this also comes with its own fair share of problems. The main point of identity based politics is to allow the individual to form a solid opinion but centrist lack a form of identity straying away from what is known as mob mentality. Politics is sad to be relative and there is no benchmark when it comes to an individual’s political ideology.

    Thus how is it possible to define the center of an infinite spectrum. Many believe that centrists tend to take the moral high ground by acknowledging that both sides have issues but it can be said that taking a middle ground stance is cowardice for the fact that it does not allow for discussions between both parties to open up. Some argue that there is no such thing as a center when it comes to the political spectrum as the spectrum as a whole relies on the placement of other political entities to define their positions.

    Political Identification

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    The spectrum is merely a way to define the general ideologies of the individual rather than anything. The spectrum/compass allows the idea of politics to be accessible by many but it is in no way a reliable method to form a coherent political idea. The spectrum often time changes depending on how the individual chooses to set the parameters so it is better to judge a political party based on the agenda rather than the spectrum. Right/left/center is merely an easy form of identification when having a conversation but it does not define the individual as a whole.

    Such judgement can only be passed on having understood the stand of said individual in a a variety of economical and social variables. The left and right have faced immense polarization over the years due to the internet and fights erupt where the individuals are personally attacked based on the stereotypes set by either sides of the spectrum. This narrow minded approach has to be eliminated in order to allow for a more open discussion when it comes to politics as well as maintaining a civil political system that is agreed upon by the majority.

    The political spectrum removes the complexities of politics so it may be more appealing to the majority, allowing the individual to get a rough understanding of their political biases. Categorization based on the spectrum will not be functional so long as the spectrum itself remains unstandardized. Political identification should be a way to spark discussion and seek for the ‘middle ground’, understanding policies from both sides of the spectrum. The more something is simplified, the less functional the concept becomes and the same can be said for politics.

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