Battle Specter Opines: Political Compass
Updated: Jul 27, 2021
We all know what the policital compass is, but is it accurate? I don't mean with regards to figuring out if you're a disgusting commie or a noble Libertarian, rather is the metric that it measures on designed properly? Are political leanings really on a line with one extreme on the left and one on the right, or is there a different way to look at it?
Well- me being the overthinking guy that I am- I came up with what I am going to refer to as the "Uher Circular Political Model." If there is a theory that actually follows the logic, please let me know and I will give credit where credit is due. Here is a simple graphic .
I know it might be confusing at first glance as Democracy is on both sides of this thing along with socialism, but please read on and hopefully I will be able to make this idea make sense.
This concept came to fruition in my mind contemplating the term "fascist." To my mind, Fascism isn't a left or right ideology, but a descriptor of how one views the state. The reason I derive this meaning is simple- the state when erected above all else will by it's very nature control or own everything, to include the people within it. Fascism appears to me to be a literal devotion to "The State" above all else. "The State" becomes a replacement for "the People" as it gains more power and control. Liken this to Socialism, wherein the State gains control of the means of production and Communism wherein the People are supposed to own everything together (but never do, because certain people- known as the State- control it all for them and dole it out according to need and such... Never mind that those in control seem to think they NEED more than those not in control... Semantics I guess... Sorry, tangent.) and we can start to see the link. A Fascist regime may appear to be "right" but in reality, it becomes very "left" as a result of the centralization of power. The only difference between a "right wing fascist state" and a "left wing fascist state" therefore boils down to who controls the means of production for the state- proxy corporations or "the people" through their un-elected comrades.
Coming out of the weeds of my mind a little, look at the graphic. I've left out monarchy's and other forms of government that we've had throughout the eons because it's actually kind of difficult to classify them as either left or right wing. "But Mike- that's because the concept of left and right didn't exist all those years ago." Correct, they really didn't, but the basic concepts were already there. The methods of governing of ages passed were the same ones we have now. Communal ownership of goods occurred in primitive communities where the concept of ownership was viewed differently, and "fascist" monarchies rose and fell through the ages. I mean, really think about it. In a monarchy, the monarch is the state. In a democracy, the people are the state. A Republic does it's best to balance the two for the benefit of the whole.
Looking at the graphic, you may be wondering why socialism is on both "sides" of the circle. It would help to think of this diagram having a dial that originates in the center and "swings" to point at different governmental systems (kind of like an actual compass). To illustrate the reasoning here, let's look at a theocracy. A theocracy wouldn't necessarily put the State as the most important aspect, but rather a God or religious belief, and centralize authority under religious leaders to align with those ideals. This stands in opposition to a pure socialist or communist State, as pure socialist and communist States work to usurp religious institutions as they are viewed as antithetical to their goals. Look no farther than Marxist theory to see what I mean. Religion, to Marx, was an impediment to social order. Lack of religious conviction would be seen as an impediment to social order, yet the end result of each is more or less the same. In fact, one could argue that a purely religious form of governance would eventually move toward communism in the long run.
Socialist states are preceded by pure Democracy in both instances, as with a pure democracy (majority rule) a majority of people can prescribe laws and therefore dictate social norms. As this occurs, from any perspective, the State (or the reigning religious order in the case of a theocracy) will gain more and more power until it controls everything. This would be an example of a slow transition. Examples of more abrupt transitions would be the sudden alteration of the governmental structure of Czarist Russia to Communism and the sudden rise of ISIS. Each is an example of what I am talking about, and are examples of "democracy" of a sort (albeit, a democracy of force rather than one of the vote, but that's a whole different topic). In each case, "The State" reigned supreme, dictating to those under their rule how they would live.
As the State gains more and more power, corruption and tyranny become more apparent until a tipping point occurs, and the needle swings away from the problem and toward a potential solution, which is relative from the point of those stuck in the mess. A purely tyrannical state could be "fixed" by a move to a more lenient communist one, or a more forgiving theocracy. Though from a tyrannical state, a body politic would move to any form of government they wished.
This is not to say that the needle only swings in one direction. Quite the contrary. We have seen in history that the needle can swing in any direction. Think of the Revolution (big R because it was THE Revolution thank you) that brought about the United States. In this instance, we moved from a more state centric model of governance under the King of England to a constitutional Republic. Alteration of governance need not be toward the "negative," but can move in any direction and with any relative speed for just about any reason.
To me, this model works to explain the variance in government that we see in history, and also helps to explain why "fascism" isn't a left or right wing thing, but a descriptor. What are your thoughts? Does this model point in the right direction, or is it off base like a second lieutenant on a land nave exercise? Comment below, or hit up the forum where I have this topic posted as well. Look forward to seeing your thoughts. Keep it civil.