Constructing the Linear Political Spectrum/Compass Part III

“In certain basic respects – a totalitarian state structure, a single party, a leader, a secret police, a hatred of political, cultural and intellectual freedom – fascism and communism are clearly more like each other than they are like anything in between.” Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Associate Professor of History at Harvard

In the linear political spectrum the Right signifies less government, the Left more government. The scale runs from zero (0) to one hundred (100). The end and middle points are set by the easily quantified Ideological terms anarchism [zero 0], Totalitarianism [One Hundred 100] and Center or Moderate [Fifty 50].

As can be seen, some ideological definitions are easily quantified and positioned. Others have to be quantified within a reasonable range and placed on the scale. A third type are decidedly vague in principle or internally contradictory and thus it is difficult to numerically determine these ideological terms. It also should be noted that over time certain groups tend to gravitate to these ideologically vague terms. Most of the spectrum can be constructed with the first two types, while the third positioned within the ranges previously determined.

There are many cases where the ranges of the ideological terms overlap on the scale, thus logically follows from the fact that many are very similar to each other. It will also be seen that many of these ideological terms will be stacked up in certain areas.

Certain ideological groups perennially attempt to recast themselves with new or varying self-labeling terminology. These “New and Improved” political groups usually seek to leave failure behind with an altered name whilst advocating the same base ideology. Thus they tend to always be clustered in one area of the political spectrum. This is exemplified by the myriad of synonyms for the various collectivist ideologies. In these cases, these different ideological terms do not vary in the metric of the scale.

Libertarianism signifies minimal governance and therefor is placed at the Right end of the scale with a numerical value in the range of [Ten (10) to Twenty (20)]. Conservatism is rightfully placed in line next with a generalised numeric range of [Twenty (20) to Thirty (30)].

The ideological range of the Socialist – Left was previously determined to be about fifty (50) to one hundred (100). This can be further narrowed down by the examination of the definition of the term Socialism.

The Oxford English dictionary defines the term socialism:

“a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.”


“(in Marxist theory) a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of Communism.

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines the term socialism:

“a system of society or group living in which there is no private property”

“a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state”

Given that these definitions specify immense levels of government control and portend the transition to the authoritarian realms of Communism, this ideological range of this term can be narrowed down even further towards the higher end of the scale from seventy (70) to one hundred (100)

The Oxford English dictionary defines the term authoritarianism:

“The enforcement or advocacy of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom.”

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines the term authoritarianism:

concentration of power in a leader or an elite not constitutionally responsible to the people”

Clearly these definitions set a numerical range close to that of totalitarianism [100] on the scale within a generalised range of 100 – 90

By the same token Communism can also be similarly placed at the top end of the scale in a generalised range of 100 – 90

The Oxford English dictionary defines the term Communism:

“In this form of communism it was held that the state would wither away after the overthrow of the capitalist system. In practice, however, the state grew to control all aspects of communist society.”

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines the term Communism:

“a theory advocating elimination of private property”

“a totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production

This generalised range of 100 – 90 would also apply to the term statism.

The term statism is defined by the Oxford English dictionary:

“A political system in which the state has substantial centralized control over social and economic affairs”


Author: Torcer

Differential equations teaches us that one can use the initial conditions of the present to extrapolate events in the near term balanced with the knowledge of the past. The interaction of technological advances and the march of history is fascinating. History can inform those willing to listen as to what will happen in the future because the laws of human natural are as immutable as the elegant equations of Newtonian physics.

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