Political spectrum

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Concept.png Political spectrum 
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The political spectrum is a model which attempts to simplify the relationship between political ideologies. It polarises people and simplifies political thought.

Conventional usage

Although more complex, (multi-dimensional) usages are possible, the traditional representation is to classify political ideologies on a single dimension, from 'left' (communist, socialist) to right (conservative, fascist).


The 'political spectrum' concept although popular with commercially-controlled media is is understood to be a polarising oversimplification; although left and right are opposites in a physical sense, they are clearly not in a political sense.

“The right is cast as wanting little to no government, while the left advocates for big government. But upon closer examination, this doesn’t hold up: both the left and right seem to want big government; the question is, where?

The right traditionally wants a large military and ever increasing defense budgets, while the left favors domestic entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Those not wishing to get caught in this perilous conflict don’t really have a spot on the traditional political spectrum because it only offers a binary choice.”

Jimmy Falls (26 March 2017)  [1]

Extra dimension(s)

One popular refinement of the one-dimensional concept of the political spectrum is to add a second dimension corresponding to the relationship between the individual to the state. Libertarian David Nolan introduced the Nolan Chart, which uses an X-axis defined as “Economic Freedom” and a Y-axis as “Personal Freedom”.[2]

Deep political perspective

Apart from rejecting such polarising perspectives, Wikispooks generally rejects the claim that modern nation states are democratic in that they faithfully represent the will of the people, so it is recommended not to use the "left"/"right" labels here.


Related Quotation

Monopoly“[B]oth the extreme right and the extreme left of the conventional political spectrum are absolutely collectivist. The national socialist (for example, the fascist) and the international socialist (for example, the Communist) both recommend totalitarian politico-economic systems based on naked, unfettered political power and individual coercion. Both systems require monopoly control of society. While monopoly control of industries was once the objective of J. P. Morgan and J. D. Rockefeller, by the late nineteenth century the inner sanctums of Wall Street understood that the most efficient way to gain an unchallenged monopoly was to "go political" and make society go to work for the monopolists — under the name of the public good and the public interest. This strategy was detailed in 1906 by Frederick C. Howe in his Confessions of a Monopolist.”Antony Sutton

Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:The tyranny of the political spectrumarticle5 March 2017PeterDetails of an exchange in the comments section of an article on the World Socialist Web Site between the author and a regular WSWS commentator which was quickly removed by the site operators. It illustrates the blinkered censorious nature of activists committed to both 'Left' and 'Right' - in this case the 'Left'.


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