Table of Contents

Political Spectrum Prison
Many people understand that the political spectrum has flaws. But most people with any interest in political matters still apply it to varying degrees. However, I present the point of view that the whole concept of a political spectrum is so flawed that it should be completely done away with. Here I will provide just a few of the reasons why any given political spectrum has been long obsolete.

The political spectrum originated in France in the late 1700s as a seating arrangement for the National Assembly. Supporters of the monarchy and old religious ideologies sat to the right of the king, and supports of the revolution sat to the left. When the National Assembly was replaced by the Legislative Assembly these arrangements changed, as it would continuously change throughout the 1800s. Beginning in the early 1900s is when it became politically fashionable for citizenry to begin identifying as left or right, and this is the time that such a concept should have come to an end. Just as seating arrangements, left-wing and right-wing politics can be defined differently in different countries and at different times. There is no law of nature that predominately defines a political identity. Even if people are biologically predisposed to be attracted to a handful of viewpoints more than others, the political spectrum is still mostly a social construct.

The first problem that arises with any political spectrum is that many people will have views on multiple sides. Once the simpletons define what is left and right, or any other invented set of terms, it is easy to see how many will have views on different sides.

For example, one could believe in economic collectivism, which is currently considered left-wing, but also be fanatically religious, which is currently considered right-wing. So where does this person fall on the political spectrum? This caused people to start making distinctions regarding in what ways they are left or right. You may hear someone say they are left-wing when it comes to civil liberties but right-wing when it comes to economic type. But even if we just looked at the spectrum from an economic point of view, we can still find extreme problems with the model. For example, in American politics it has been popular for neoconservatives and supporters of the Republican Party to generally want smaller government and less taxes, which is currently considered right-wing. However, they also often support huge military expenditures which involves government spending on a colossal scale. Here we can see a point in the political spectrum that contradicts itself, yet is completely ignored by most of those who have adopted an identity on the current political spectrum.

We can even take this one step further with a simple evaluation of taxes. Let's consider 2 different people who want approximately the same amount of taxation, but wish to use different methods of taxation. For the sake of this argument, let's say they both support a level of taxation that would be considered middle right on the political spectrum. The first person wants to keep traditional methods of taxing such as income, sales, property, and corporate tax. The second wants to completely do away with those methods of taxing, and only impose an estate or inheritance tax. So even though they might believe in taking approximately the same percentage of taxes, meaning that they would be at the same point on the political spectrum on this issue. Their different methods could have vastly different socioeconomic ramifications, and will most likely cause them to oppose each other. This can't be properly be defined on a simple spectrum. These kinds of problems have caused countless people to attempt at creating more complicated spectrums. As issues like this keep arising, more and more complicated spectrums are created, to the point of ludicrousness. The most common type of an alternative political spectrum involves the traditional horizontal access with an additional vertical access. The top is often supposed to represent values that are authoritarian or collectivist while the lower represents beliefs that are libertarian, individualistic, or democratic in nature.

If you prefer a simpler political spectrum you will always encounter an endless stream of erroneous results due to oversimplification of complicated subjects. If you prefer more complex forms of political spectrums, even if we assumed we could get more truth out of them, you will still end up with an impractical incoherent mess. I will now tackle a few random problems that either of these models can have at some point. Models with more complexity will also run into these or similar problems eventually.

Patriotism and Nationalism
The problem with trying to place sentiments like patriotism and nationalism on a spectrum is that the same individual with the same conditioning could feel 2 completely different ways if placed in 2 different situations. For example, if we took a person who was conditioned to be or was naturally patriotic and nationalistic and put him in a country where he mostly agreed with the way things were and he had a personality type that adjusted well to that culture he grew up in, he probably would end up being nationalistic and patriotic. As currently defined, this might put him on the right. However, if instead he grew up in a country that he had idealistic or some other clashes with, the result could be different. The chances are he may still justify his nationalism and patriotic tendencies by blaming the perceived problems on other factors, whether true or not. However, there would be a higher chance of him renouncing his nationalistic and patriotic sentiments than in the first scenario. As we can see, the result is highly dependent on the situation, and the spectrum in this regard could be placing the same type of person on 2 completely different ends of the spectrum.

It may seem easy to place individuals with more sympathies to authority toward 1 direction of the spectrum. But this is highly problematic for several reasons. The first is that this also can obviously be highly situational as with many other issues. The next is that even in similar situations a person may believe more authoritarian solutions to be used in certain aspects of society, but more democratic roles to be played in others. Even if we assumed this not to be true in most cases, in the few cases it was true the political spectrum would be completely garbled for placement of those individuals. This completely destroys the feasibility of such a political spectrum for this and other topics. This is extremely concerning, because it may be that those who are easily placed on a given political spectrum, even if it is only generally accurate for them, may simply represent people who are the most easily socially engineered or prone to groupthink. And it may be that those who aren't able to be placed anywhere on a political spectrum somewhat accurately may tend to be the most critically thinking.

The Centrist Myth
Another problem that tends to arise on political spectrums is that of the centrist mirage. Even if we were to assume that some people genuinely generally belong in the centre of a given political spectrum, many so-called centrists are actually of a very different genre compared to each other. For instance, if one has a variety of beliefs that fall in different areas of a given political spectrum they may end up being labeled as a centrist by others or by themselves. It isn't difficult to see that others may also have a variety of beliefs, beliefs that are different than the person before, but that also fall in different areas on the political spectrum. In many cases these people will also be classified as centrists. For example, if Person A shares 2 viewpoints with the right and 2 other viewpoints with the left, and Person B shares 2 other viewpoints of each side that are opposite of what Person A believes in, you then have 2 people defined as centrists that are completely different than each other politically. The end result is a big group of dysfunctional so-called centrists, many of which who are not politically alike in any tangible way.

Danger of the Moderate
A different but similarly named problem is the danger of the moderate. Again, we could assume that there are a portion of moderates on a given political spectrum that are genuine moderates. But even so, there will be types of moderates that fit the poorly defined description of moderate no matter how you define a political spectrum, because it is their personality to behave in a conformist, practical, or agreeable manner. There will always be those that take the middle road because it is in their character to be a balancing force in a group of people. No matter how you define right, left, up, or down on a political spectrum there will always be these types of individuals who will mold themselves into whatever those beliefs are defined to be for these purposes. This is dangerous not necessarily because these types of people have flaws in their behavior, but because they are being naturally placed in a broken system in a manner that adds more false credence to it. A broken system of measurement that, in many cases, is magnifying the popularity of poorly structured belief systems.

The final problem I want to highlight now is perhaps one of the biggest problems with identifying on the political spectrum. It involves a well documented psychological phenomenon known as groupthink. If only a handful of popular political positions are defined and promoted by society, the majority of people will eventually gravitate toward them no matter what, this is human nature. Let's consider a person who has a slight majority of beliefs on the lower left side of any given spectrum, with a few sprinkled elsewhere. Let's say he also had some very strong opinions against those on the upper right. As he started socializing more and more with with people who identified with the lower left he has a higher chance of conforming to ideas that he was previously against simply because of the social situation. This could also come about from resentment of some elements of the right. This individual has now been socially engineered against his original nature due to societal emotions rather than critical thinking. Not all personality types are subject to this behavior, but most people are to a substantial degree. This can happen to any prone individual no matter where they identify on any given political spectrum. Not only does this diverge the majority away from partaking in more advanced discourse and coming together with others on common ground, but it makes the job easier for manipulative plutocrats. This problem exists when political parties and other social groups come into play as well, but the political spectrum multiplies these problems.

Even though it may be theoretically possible to design a political spectrum that the majority of people can be categorized on in certain situations, political spectrums are not scientific. It is pretty clear that political spectrums not only provide little practical value, but contribute more negativity than anything when trying to resolve political issues. Political spectrums do more to divide people into easily controlled social groups that needlessly build extra resentment toward each other, and turn people away from applying critical thought separately to each political topic that they encounter.