It's time to get rid of the 'liberal-conservative' spectrum
Does everyone realize that the often-repeated line from the anti-liberty left doesn't ever stand up to factual reality?
It's a construct primarily from the anti-liberty left side of the political spectrum. Like so many other lies from the left, it's been repeated so many times that people seem to accept it as the truth. But how many other aspects of popular culture have you seen that have been dead wrong? The big problem with this cute little canard is that you only need to scratch the surface to run into major contradictions and issues that show it to be woefully incorrect.
One question destroys the liberal/conservative narrative fiction:
Because if this is supposed to be the political spectrum model for the world — and logic presupposes that must be the case — then having it range from ultra-liberal to ultra-conservative poses a big problem: where do the "baddies" belong?
Tucker Carlson recently made an astute observation about how much the nation's socialist left has so much in common with the government of China and that you could say they admire them, even though they don't celebrate diversity:
It's Justin Trudeau's model, but China does not celebrate diversity. In fact, and the American media never says this, but it's absolutely true, China is a militarized ethno-state. It's run along traditional fascist lines for the benefit of a specific ethnic group: the Han Chinese.
We could ask the same question again: does this mean that Xi Jinping and his Socialism with Chinese Characteristics government is liberal as well? The students shot in Tiananmen square were unfortunately unavailable for comment.
Consider all of this in the context of the political spectrum as the logical arrangement of ideologies based on their level of governmental control, with maximum and minimum levels at each end. It stands to reason that since socialism is the standard leftist ideology, with forced wealth redistribution and a centrally controlled economy, these would require the government to be at a maximum level; thus, this would be the left side of the spectrum. Also consider that it's going to take the maximum government to take "from each according to his ability."
Does the authoritarianism of the anti-liberty left along with the negation of property rights and the economic slavery of socialism seem amenable to liberalism?
Contrast that with the fact that the precepts of the pro-freedom right with an emphasis on liberty and limited government would mean minimal control. In fact, with the term "liberal" closely associated with liberty and minimal government, the logical conclusion is that all of these terms belong on the pro-freedom right.
Then consider some of the other ideologies on the political spectrum.
If the range is "ultra-liberal" to "ultra-conservative," then where do communists and socialists fit in on the left?
If the range is "ultra-liberal" to "ultra-conservative," then where do libertarians and anarchists fit in on the right?
A left-right political spectrum with maximum governmental control on the left and minimal governmental control on the right, easily accommodates these questions. That is not the case with the liberal/conservative canard, since maximum government would not seem to be amenable to an ideology closely associated with liberty.
Finally, consider this from author and engineer Robert A. Heinlein, encapsulating the whole issue with one test:
Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.
It does seem as though most people fall into one of two distinct groups. The first are control-obsessed collectivists who demand that we place the public good ahead of the good of the individual. Then there are those individualists who just want to be left alone.
Now, compare the basic ideologies of the political spectrum, and you will see that in general, "those who want people to be controlled" tend to be on the political left. "Those who have no such desire" tend to be on the political right.
Can anyone square the existence of authoritarian socialist regimes of the anti-liberty left with one side being "liberal"?
The obvious answer is that they weren't "liberal" and that we should stop using that ridiculous fiction from the anti-liberty left. The phrase "left/right" is a far better and more descriptive term, so why aren't we using it instead?
The false narrative that the political divide is liberal/conservative falls apart when compared to logical reality, so why would anyone continue to use it? The only reason is to sow confusion and chaos. That's the prime reason to stop using it.
D Parker is an engineer, inventor, wordsmith, and student of history, the director of communications for a Bill of Rights organization, and a longtime contributor to conservative websites. Find him on Substack.
Image via Public Domain Pictures.