An Explanation of the So-Called and Usually Erroneous Explained Political Spectrum


 Definitions are rarely an exact science and therefore should be regarded with the same skepticism that we approach tracts that any author presents. Yet the scholarly world has been allowed to misidentify the so-called Political Spectrum of the “Left and the Right.”

 What is the criteria for the definition; the parameters; the boundaries, what are the limitations of the Spectrum?  What is it?

 Loosely we allow commentators; politicians and political theorists to say the Left and Right edges of the Political Spectrum are the radical (extremists) fringes. Commonly the Left is the Communists and the Right is the Nazi Skin heads (Neo-cons and most Republicans). Then everyone is defined as laying somewhere inside this arched rainbow of colors.

 But nowhere in that definition of the Spectrum did we say what those extremes meant and what is believed. They are just labels left from when the Communists in Russia convinced the rest of the world that they were Left and since they were fighting Hitler it meant that Nazis were the far Right and opposite. Political Scientists have left that definition alone. If you say you are right of center it must follow that you are close to being a Nazi. The Conservatives in the USA are portrayed that way exactly.

 Let us try another possibility.

 Say the Spectrum represents the level of government involvement (interference) in the daily life of its citizens

 On the far Right then we have the individual, living quietly beside the idyllic stream. He proposes a change in his life; he discusses with himself; he arrives at a decision; and he implements that change. There is Zero government interference with his decision; the ultimate Right edge to the Spectrum.

 Just to his left is a family group, a wife, a few kids and daddy. They contemplate a change; discuss it, agree to it; and implement the change with Zero government interference.

 Now a group of families come together and again make decisions. Their groups gather, discuss, vote, and implement a decision based on majority rule.  And that is called Democracy.

 When we send representatives of our growing groups to vote our wishes we have a representative democracy. When we elect representatives to do what is best for us we call it a Republic.

 We now have arrived at the Right Center of the Spectrum. The range between Right and Left Center is the amount of control and the reason for that control that the government and the bureaucracy desire to have on society. The American model lies inside these ranges.

 But as we move Left, we increase the amount of government inputs into our society. We begin to define our society by the government. Government becomes the depository of our sovereignty. We no longer receive our Rights from a Higher Being but now they are given by government and also guaranteed by the same political structures. This model is much like the proverbial fox guarding his feathered friends.

The European Model of centralization and societal meddling has progressed to the point where all parties seem to agree with socialism, national health systems that make people somewhat equal, well at least they get the same crappy health care. Other examples include national transportation systems that are heavily subsidized even when they repeatedly give bad and expensive service.

 As we move further left we encounter the Russian Model that seems to allow elections just not democracy. The Cult of Personality lives; the Russians always seem to like strong forceful rulers even when they shoot their enemies.

 "it is enough that the people know there was an election.
The people who cast the votes decide nothing.
The people who count the votes decide everything.
 J.V. Stalin

 But let us proceed for a moment further Left. We now have to proceed to increase government control while the inputs from society decreases. A classic might the decline of the Monarchy in England and the rise of the Parliament. An absolute monarchy would be further to the Left than the more limited and thus more representative rule that Parliaments have proceeded to fashion.

 Other examples would be benevolent monarchies; limited two party and strong man ruled states. Then we begin to find such countries as Mussolini’s Italy; the socialist model with dictatorial rule.

 Hitler’s Germany with the one party system, dictatorial rule, and narcissistic adulation; slave labor, racial and ethnic murder but with only limited interference in economics until near the end of the war.

 Lenin, Stalin and Mao all add to Hitler’s model with stringent anti-capitalism instituted at the point of a gun. There is no value judgment here; was Hitler better than Stalin? Of course not, both are equally hideous. Was Saddam better than Hitler because he only killed a million people and Mao the worst because 50 million may have died? Stalin once said the death of one is a tragedy; the death of millions a statistic.

The Spectrum measures the level of interference in our lives. The fact that the Left is closer to Communists in levels of interference does not insinuate that they are opening Hitler’s death camps.  Equally though Hitler’s Nazis do not belong on the Right where individual liberty and freedom are of paramount importance. The political pundits chose to push the Nazis to the Right in an attempt to demonize their opponents and the press has been too lazy to correct the error.

 Maybe we should proceed to the very far Left; that is Total Totalitarianism. Examples might be best described as North Korea. North Korea is a country where nothing happens without the government describing its outcome.  Failure to give all to the state is a crime paid for with your very life. Kim Jung-il has taken a page from Stalin and added a level on control that Stalin only dreamed of.

 Where is the United States in this Spectrum?

 We haven’t been Far Right since the landings at Plymouth Rock and even then the Pilgrims arrived with a Compact to protect each other. Maybe Daniel Boone’s expeditions into Trans-Appalachians devoid of government interference would equal Far Right. It was the level of government that was the main discussion at the Constitution Convention. The Federalist wanted strong central authority and the Anti-Federalist were opposed seriously afraid of a return to monarchical form of totalitarian authority. The Anti-Federalists were happier when the Bill of Rights enumerated what they knew had been granted by God as discussed in the Declaration of Independence.

 We have been left of center since Roosevelt’s New Deal and Social Security. We have made attempts to edge back to the Right but the “gifts” from the haves to the have-nots continue to vote the Left back into power. We move further from individual freedom and closer to total authoritarianism.

 The Long March to the Left requires/demands the surrender of individual thought and freedom. Uniqueness is counter-productive to the collective. All-power to the collective!

 Lenin, even while Russian style Marxism has been discredited, believed in the necessity of short-term compromise with onerous forces for the sake of  “two steps forward, one step back”.  Today we have factions with in the dominant political party that were trained in Left Revisionism of the Political Spectrum. Their aim is to polarize, miniminalize, marginalize and maybe euthanize.

  We can shrug off that march to the Left but we cannot deny that we are headed there.

 Kent M.  Herrick

June, 2010

Kent M. Herrick, Editor in Chief, 2010


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