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  1. #1
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Default Three Axis Political Taxonomy

    I found this a helpful way to conceptualize political positions:

    Notes Towards a New Political Taxonomy

    It boils down to:

    liberal vs. conservative (attitudes toward the individual and authority)
    left vs. right (attitudes toward social/economic winners and losers)
    progressive vs. reactionary (attitude toward past and future)

    It's worth a read, and does help clarify some points that are lost when building things down to a single axis political spectrum.


    I'd be a liberal left progressive (shocking, I know) in that taxonomy. Might be fun to correlate those three axes to MBTI type. Also would be interesting to see how various movements would be classified.

  2. #2
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    In this rubric, I would be a liberal right-wing progressive.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    I dont know about these things Seymour, in most of them I can be seriously mischaracterised when I carry them out, I'm pretty sure for instance it would categorise me as conservative, right, reactionary when that isnt a true picture.

    There's also a labelling process, reactionary I dont believe any but a very few would consider complimentary (personally I would consider conservative or right as insulting too, its taken me a while to come around to the idea of being described as "culturally conservative" or "conservative in all things but politics" and only then because they are common descriptions of George Orwell).

    What about autonomous vs. paternalistic or authoritarian, I'm unsure what would suffice in place of left vs. right but perhaps modernist vs. traditionlist would be a better fit than progressive vs. reactionary, I know plenty of modernist ideas such a PoMo sexuality the proponents of which can be quite reactionary in defense of, brooking no criticism or skepticism.

    It raises the seperate question of what exactly is progressive? I'm certain fascists and liberals would have quite opposed views but both consider them progressive.

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    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    In response to Lark's post above:

    Quote Originally Posted by LinkedArticleInOP
    The progressive is future-oriented. Things will – or could – be better in the future than they are now. But more than this, history has a direction that can be discerned, and that one must be cognizant of in constructing one’s politics. You don’t have to be a dialectical materialist to be a progressive; the motor of history could be something entirely other than the class struggle – indeed, history doesn’t have to be conceived as a machine with a motor at all for it to have a direction. Whiggish history is progressive; so is history as understood by social darwinists; neither has much in common with Marxist history apart from that fact.

    The reactionary, by contrast, is past-oriented. Things will – likely – be worse in the future than they are now, just as they were better in the past. Apparent progress masks the loss of things that were more valuable than the novelties acquired. Moreover, in the deepest sense, the real truth is that there is nothing new under the sun. What may appear novel has really been seen many, many times before. The reactionary resists change simply because it is change, and is therefore unlikely to be good; he is the one standing athwart history yelling “stop!”
    As to whether fascism would be progressive or reactionary in this system is an interesting question. Fascism often hearkens back to previous days of greatness and attempts to re-establish a purified strain that has been lost. Often pluralistic and relativistic influences are seen as modern day corruptions that must be expunged from the culture. So could be classified as reactionary for those reasons.

    Still, fascist governments do tend to see themselves as (re-)establishing a utopian existence, so in that sense they are progressive. They also see a bright future for themselves, and see a positive direction ahead as subversive elements are removed and a perfected nation emerges.

    I think it's arguable either way. I'd be interested in how the author would field that. Still think it's an improvement over a one-dimensional scale.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    I'm still convinced that progressive-ism like that is a seriously loaded deck Seymour, personally I'm not convinced of any golden age, past or future, since they generally are both equally utopian and as wrong headed.

    Its that sort of thinking which lead to the importing of tractors into sub-saharan africa as the most modern, therefore better or best, technology, they all broke down and were useless, designed for a totally different climate and conditions and context.

    Fascism is the one ideology which generally wrecks the old fashioned linear view of history, being Janus faced, looking forward to a time of rational planning and backward to a time when people primitively struggled to live, its uniquely modernist and its why you have the amazing contradiction of pagan god worshipping technocratics in the shape of the Nazis. Although they had the rival alternative theory of history as cyclical, degenerating and regenerating.

    To be honest that political taxonomy doesnt strike me as being particularly new Seymour. Great thread and topic though, wouldnt have known how to begin one like it myself and the article as interesting to read too.

  6. #6
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    I would have trouble placing myself on this.

    In an overly simplified nutshell, but one that fits the terms of the article, I distrust the individual and question authority. Am I liberal or conservative?

    I generally go by the mantra that a society can be measured by the conditions of the least fortunate, so I guess I'm pretty clearly left-wing.

    Progressive or reactionary? This is something I've thought about a lot and gotten no where with. I sometimes believe that the overall happiness of man has never changed in its entire existence. I suppose based on our history I vaguey lean toward progressive, but then I see things going terribly wrong in the ensuing century, maybe irreversibly wrong, so that puts me back at reactionary perhaps.
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    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    ummm... yeah, what the sponge said!

    really spongie, this must be why we always end up on the same side in the political arguments
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

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    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    When it comes to the individual and society, I have preferred to see that as two dimensional rather than one dimensional. I think of it as a combination of distribution of authority and the obligation to society that is put upon people. I consider the libertarian the person that wants authority diluted and obligation low. I consider the authoritarian the person that wants authority concentrated and obligation high. Myself, I want authority diluted and obligation high. What does that make me?

    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    ummm... yeah, what the sponge said!

    really spongie, this must be why we always end up on the same side in the political arguments
    So the one thing that's certain is that we are left-wing.
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  9. #9
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    and I'm still agreeing with the sponge!

    let's go start our own political party!
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

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