Basic Political Taxonomy
May 26, 2014

This is based on some text I wrote some years ago in response to an article by the late Lawrence Auster. This is not intended as a complete taxonomy. I mainly want to get people out of the "tape drive" paradigm: Conservative = STOP, Liberal = PLAY, Radical = Fast Forward, Reactionary = Rewind.

Conservatives:

  1. People who believe in limited government, ordered liberty, tradition, morality and who, understanding differences in human ability and effort, accept differences in wealth and influence as reasonable aspects of a just society.
  2. People whose "most basic need as conservatives is to affirm the harmony and cohesion of the existing order," as Auster writes.
  3. People who want to keep the current social order pretty much the way it is.

Liberals:

  1. People who believe in creative power of private enterprise, but who try to ameliorate some of its negative effects with regulations and various social welfare programs.
  2. People who advocate a kind of radical tolerance in the name of "free speech," according to which things such as flag burning, nude dancing, cuss words on the radio, etc., would not be illegal.
  3. People who have achieved, or who aspire to achieve, remunerative and influential positions in academia, who use shibboleths of "equality" in order to identify each other so that they can advance their highly specific material interests at the expense of those not belonging to their cliques.

Progressives:

  1. People who believe that, in spite of numerous setbacks, there are ways in which human life has improved over the course of history; that further improvements are possible; that it is worthwhile for at least some of us to think about and pursue such improvement; and that modifying social arrangements, cultural norms, government structures, etc., can, in some cases, forward such improvement. For example, the inscription above Angell Hall at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor reads, "Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged." (from the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.) That certainly appeals to the conservative mind, but it is also profoundly progressive.
  2. People who believe in egalitarianism.
  3. People who believe in proportionalism, i.e., that the representation of members of various groups ("minorities, gays and women") in the better positions in our society should be according to their proportions in society at large.
  4. People who believe in continual expansion of various "services" offered by large, central governments.

Radicals:

  1. People who believe that, in order to address a fundamental threat to a society or in order to effect a major transformation in the character of a society, we must seriously change the ways we think about things.
  2. People who practice or advocate violent or extra-legal measures for the achievement of social change.

I'm a bit of a Type 1 Conservative, a Type 1 Liberal, a Type 1 Progressive and a Type 1 Radical. I'm "right-wing" because I believe that serious racial and ethnic differences really do exist and are legitimate factors in one's political aspirations. The active, functioning, practical Left, pretty much world-wide, encourages ethnic, racial, etc., solidarity in all groups except for white people. That's the one thing that puts me solidly on the Right, even to the right of the Tea Party.

University administrators and their faculty allies are Type 3 Conservatives, Type 3 Liberals and Types 2, 3 and 4 Progressives. They are too chicken to be real Radicals. They think "change" is wonderful, as long as the levers of change are in their hands. There are a few exceptions, of course.
 

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