Constructing the Linear Political Spectrum/Compass Part IV

“In certain basic respects – a totalitarian state structure, a single party, a leader, a secret police, a hatred of political, cultural and intellectual freedomfascism 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

Some definitions ideological terms are rife with internal contradictions, it is for this reason an extended discussion is necessitated when these are the subject. In the case of the term fascism, some of the internal definitions of the word need to be briefly addressed. For this reason we will use three references to set these terms in its proper place on the ideological scale

The Oxford English dictionary defines the term fascism:

“extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practices”

How does one reconcile the pairing of “extreme right-wing” with “authoritarian”?

Please note how the  Oxford English dictionary defines the term Conservatism [that equates to right wing]:

(in a political context) favouring free enterprise, private ownership, and socially conservative ideas.

And how it contradicts with how the Oxford English dictionary defines the term authoritarian

“Favouring or enforcing strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom”

The Merriam Webster dictionary doesn’t have this internal contradiction.

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines the term fascism

“a political philosophy, movement, or regime…… that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition”

In addition to these references, the Encyclopedia Britannica defines the term fascism:

“there is no universally accepted definition of fascism. Nevertheless, it is possible to identify a number of general characteristics that fascist movements between 1922 and 1945 tended to have in common.”

“some observers have noted significant similarities between fascism and Soviet communism.”

Note that these two of these references do not mention the severe inconsistency of the term “extreme right-wing” directly paired with the term “authoritarian”. They do not state the tremendous incongruity of limited government conservatism connected with the requirement of an immense government necessitated by authoritarianism. These severe incongruities emphasize the bias in the formulation of some definitions, fortunately there are other references that are not rife with these inconsistencies.

Referring to the Encyclopedia Britannica on Totalitarianism:

“government that theoretically permits no individual freedom and that seeks to subordinate all aspects of the individual’s life to the authority of the government.”


“Benito Mussolini coined the term totalitario in the early 1920s to describe the new fascist state of Italy”

Clearly fascism is synonymous with totalitarianism and the polar opposite of limited government.  Thus we place this political ideology in the numerical range of 100 – 80.

The question arises as to why this term is not situated on the political spectrum on the ‘Far-Right’. The fundamental answer is that it does not belong there.

We Refer back to the basic principles that under modern ideological conditions the Right favours diminished governance while the Left favours increased governance. Moving Right signifies less government and this is incompatible  with any type of authoritarian ideology. This incongruity arises no matter where one might wish to arbitrarily place this or other ideologies on the scale.

It should be obvious that an authoritarian ideology would have a high numerical quantification in governmental power. Thus placing it in proximity to the ideologies of an extremely low quantification would result in a severe discontinuity. It should be obvious  that certain ideologies require the utilization of immense quantities of governmental power. One cannot control the economy and the people without an attendant bureaucracy of immense proportions. This despite the bait and switch of the sales pitch that these ideologies will result in the state ‘withering away’.

For example, placing it to the right of anarchy (0) would necessitate the discontinuity of scale trending from zero to the high quantitative value of an authoritarian ideology. This would be the case no matter where an authoritarian ideology was placed in relation to limited government and thus low quantification ideologies.

Then, as referred to previously, there are ideological terminology’s that are extremely vague and inchoate that merely refer to other terms that are extremely vague and inchoate. And ironically, those terms refer to that actually refers to the verb senses ‘restore (peace)’ and ‘bring back to the original condition’

The Oxford English dictionary defines the term progressivism:

“Support for or advocacy of social reform.”

Similarly the Merriam Webster dictionary defines the term progressive:

“one believing in moderate political change and especially social improvement by governmental action”

With equally vague specifications. Thus, one must the quantification’s of allies (or socialis in Latin) of those of the Socialist Left ( 70 – 60) in an attempt to place this political ideology on the scale.

The term Liberal is similarly all over the map as it were.

The Oxford English dictionary defines the term liberal:

“(In a political context) favouring individual liberty, free trade, and moderate political and social reform”

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines the term liberal

“ideals of individual especially economic freedom, greater individual participation in government, and constitutional, political, and administrative reforms designed to secure these objectives.”

A closer examination of this term reveals that it too is contradictory in nature. And in many ways Liberalism could be placed at two different points on the scale. Quantifying the ideology in terms of the classical sense of the word, one could rightly place in next to Conservatism. But other parts of the definition should place it in left field with the Socialist – Left and Progressives in the numerical range of (70 – 60)

It is for this reason that we use the term Socialist – Left instead of the that internally contradictory and vague terminology to label the Left


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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