James Leroy Wilson's blog

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Ideological Profiles

Ideology is really multi-dimensional. You could say there are:

-Idealists and Realists arguing human nature;
-Liberals and Conservatives arguing philsophy and theology (individual reason vs. received dogma);
-Centralists and Localists arguing over the size and jurisdiction of civil government;
-Collectivists and individualists arguing over the needs of the group vs. the rights of the individual;
-Nationalists and egalitarians arguing over the culture and ethnicity of the community;
-Internationalists and isolationists arguing over the mission and purpose of the civil government;
-Moralists and civil libertarians arguing how behavior behind closed doors affects the welfare of the community as a whole;
-Capitalists and geoists arguing over the the limits of land ownerhsip;
-Strict constructionists and activists arguing over the positive potential of using political power in new and different ways for "good" as opposed to limiting it to long-accepted law and practice;
-Revolutionaries and radicals arguing over whether it is right to sacrifice other people's lives for even a just cause.

The above creates 1024 possible "ideological profiles," and I don't think I've listed all the distinctions. And certainly, individuals place greater value on some questions over others.

"Consistency" is hard to come by, because each question presents itself in a frame and context distinct from the other questions. So there are centralists who believe central government best protects individual liberties, and there are localists who believe local government is the best means to defend the needs of the many as opposed to the rights of the one. Stretch this out, and you'll find some self-described conservatives allying with Greens, and some self-described libertarians making mortal enemies of .... other self-described libertarians.

In any case, no matter who you are, it is apparent that desired political change involves quite a bit of coalition-building.

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1 comment:

  1. I was trying to think how one might plot the permutations graphically but my head started to hurt. For libertarians, a number of these might not have much political relevance since many of the ideological preferences would be trumped by the non-aggression principle. For example, I may be socially conservative and believe in a revealed religion but eschew coercion of others to adopt my views. Libertarians ought to be able to form alliances and coalitions with a lot of the "profiles" as long as there is agreement on reducing/eliminating the state.

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