A take on politics that resonated

Posted by – November 21, 2011

A redditor came up with an interesting diagram of political views. In case the image link bit rots, here is my own mirror. The picture in this post has relabeled (by me) axes and no introductory text.

Here are some excerpts from author well_met_sir’s comments in the image and the reddit post, with my own edits marked by [square brackets]:

The [Governmental power vs. Liberty] axis is about how comfortable you are with the government using violence to achieve its goals, both economic and social. At one extreme people believe the government and society are synonymous, at the other that they are incompatible.

The Instinct vs. Intellect axis is about whether you believe that humans are a blank slate [(intellect)] or whether they are destined to act in a certain way [despite] attempts to reason with them or to brainwash them.

If you fall into the blue area you believe that government is a necessary evil, move to the left to find a compromise position on the triangle. If you fall into the purple area then you believe that it is impossible to control people as much as you would like to, move to the right to find a compromise position on the triangle.

Let’s look at the bottom left corner, communism. The communists were always talking about the “New Soviet Man”. They believed that with enough education any newborn baby could become the ideal communist citizen.

Now let’s look at the bottom right corner, an-cap. An-caps believe that we can transition from what we have now to a stateless society, simply by reasoning with people.

Now let’s talk about the top edge, but let’s first talk about animals. Wolves have a certain social structure, bees have a certain social structure, fish have a certain social structure. It doesn’t matter how could your rational arguments are, it doesn’t matter how good your brainwashing is, you simply aren’t going to get bears to accept social democracy and you aren’t going to get bees to adopt paleoconservatism.

The top edge acknowledges that fact, and thus there is only one point on that top edge. If humans act on pure instinct, then only one form of government is possible.

Georgism apparently refers to geolibertarianism, a version of libertarianism where land and other natural resources can’t be rightly owned by anyone, and are therefore justly subject to (heavy) taxation. I sometimes find myself gravitating towards this position, but it is perhaps too far down in this diagram.

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