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.
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.
"most basic need as
conservatives is to affirm the harmony and cohesion of the existing
order," as Auster writes.
People who want to keep the current social order pretty
much the way it is.
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.
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.
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.
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
That certainly appeals to the conservative
mind, but it is also profoundly progressive.
People who believe in egalitarianism.
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.
People who believe in continual expansion of various
"services" offered by large, central governments.
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.
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
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