From a recent article by Michael Lind. American politics is driven by five “worldviews” which cut across what we think of as the “left-right” divide:
Neoliberal globalism: “This is more or less the official ideology of the political and corporate and financial establishments, shared by centrist New Democrats as well as by most Republican conservatives in their practice as opposed to their preaching. Shared by Barack Obama and Bill Clinton with George W. Bush, neoliberal globalism combines moderate conservatism in economics with the idea of beneficial U.S. global military hegemony.”
Social democratic liberalism: “In the U.S. and Western Europe, neoliberal orthodoxy has displaced the former social democratic liberal consensus, which in various forms dominated the Atlantic democracies until the inflation and slow economic growth of the 1970s gave ammunition to its opponents, including the ultimate victors, the centrist or center-right neoliberals. Bruised and battered, social democratic liberalism has survived and continues to provide the major alternative to bipartisan neoliberalism.”
These are the big two – one currently dominant, the other formerly dominant. There are three more worldviews which “are often represented in public debate, but they have less influence on public policy than neoliberal globalism and social democratic liberalism”:
Populist nationalism: “Populist nationalism in the U.S, as in Europe, tends to combine an inherently exclusive, ethno-religious definition of American identity as “Western” (that is, European or white) and “Christian” with a distrust of elites and a spirit of egalitarianism among the members of the “authentic” American Volk. In the realm of policy, populist nationalism tends to favor restriction of legal as well as illegal immigration to protect the “core stock” of the tribe-state from “dilution” by different races, ethnic groups or religions. Populist nationalism also tends to favor protectionist policies that shield American workers and businesses, particularly small businesses, from foreign competition.”
Libertarian isolationism: “Libertarian isolationism draws its adherents from both the left and the right. According to the libertarian isolationist interpretation of history, the U.S. changed from a decentralized republic into a militarized, authoritarian empire in the late 19th century, when the Spanish-American War made the U.S. a colonial power and trusts and cartels took over the economy. . . . If the libertarian isolationists had their way, the U.S. would abandon foreign alliances, dismantle most of its military, and return to a 19th-century pattern of decentralized government and an economy based on small businesses and small farms.”
Green Malthusianism: “This worldview synthesizes mystical versions of environmentalism with alarm about population growth in the tradition of the Rev. Thomas Malthus. The Green Malthusian perspective holds that the Industrial Revolution ended humanity’s allegedly harmonious prior relationship with Nature, permitted an explosion of the human population beyond the alleged carrying capacity of the planet and threatens to produce runaway global warming, along with pollution, resource depletion and mass species extinction. . . . Many Green Malthusians attribute virtue to the technologies and landscapes of the First Industrial Revolution – the railroad, the trolley, the streetcar city – and bitterly denounce as wicked the technologies and landscapes of the Second Industrial Revolution – the car, the truck, the plane and the suburb and edge city.”
Is this an adequate schema? Is there anything to add to the list?