How Republicans See the Political Spectrum

I’m reading “A History of What Russia Expected, How it’s Backfired, and What Putin Likely Missed” on the Daily Kos site. It’s an interesting analysis of why he invaded the Ukraine and thought he could get away with it. Worth the read.

But what has arrested my attention is a chart partway down labeled across the top “The Political Spectrum”. At first glance it looks completely whacko, but then I read the caption at the bottom : “How Republicans see the Political Spectrum,” and it made more sense.

To quote the accompanying piece – “Republican politicians have embraced a view [of] politics that [is] not only linear but designed to only have Right wing figures being ‘good.’ For if ‘Liberty’ is on the Right, the Right, therefore, has no reason to compromise with those on the Left. Democrats and liberals are placed closer to ‘tyranny’ on the model.”

I don’t know where this chart comes from – a quick search finds it nowhere else, and it might be original with this article. But if it’s at all accurate, it explains things like Bill Barr’s statement yesterday that Trump was utterly unfit to govern, but he’d elect him again over any Democrat. It fits better than former dictums like “never speak ill of another Republican” (since they’ve already DONE that).

That’s what I’;m asking. This chart does seem to explain recent Republican politician behavior, and is arguably transformative in that sense. What do you think? Is this chart a new and real contribution to our understanding of party relationships, or is it just a whacko idea?

You’re saying that Republicans see the world through a cartoonishly one-dimensional filter designed to delegitimize the very idea of opposing them?

What on earth would give anyone that idea?

Well, it’s a tad more nuanced than that.

I think it’s more the author’s representation than actual reality as, through my life, the equation is usually: anarchist=left.

Not too sure about that implication that R’s views Monarchies as being Leftist tools. That’s even more bizarre than the anarchy = Right discussed above.

The chart itself says “attribution: Dr. Alan Synder - Pondering Principles.”

A quick search shows that Pondering Principles is Dr. Snyder’s blog. Snyder is described as a “history professor for 32 years at Christian universities.” Possibly the chart appears in one of the blog posts?

Oh, that’s not the only difference. My entire life it’s been “communism = extreme left” and “Naziism and Fascism = extreme right”. That’s the kind of thing that was different on this chart that caught my eye.

My point is that the reason this arrested my attention is that the author is suggesting that those older constructs no longer describe the worldview of a lot of Republicans. THAT’S what makes this chart revolutionary

I tried viewing it through that lens, and I wasn’t too sure if it still worked out. The closest I could come is the common “aren’t nazi’s socialists? it’s right there in the name!” argument used by them which would make, in their mind, Nazism a Leftist construct.

But the other outliers? Hmmm… not buying it in full.

Maybe you don’t read enough YouTube comments (or I read too many! :grinning: ), but I’ve been seeing variations of “The Nazis were socialists, it says so in the name!” for years.

I’ve certainly heard and read it. It’s generally a fringe comment.

The difference is that the author here is saying that the poltical chart he’s putting up there is representative of the way many now-mainstream Republicans (especially politicians) are now viewing the world.

And it has little to do with historical arguments about where the view came from or terminology – they are, he says, basically putting out a series of gradations from “Freedom” to “Tyranny” and don’t bother about how they got that way. This is how it’s perceived.

I see your point. The chart doesn’t make ‘sense’ but it represents the Republican view. It may aid our understanding of otherwise inscrutable aspects of Republican behavior.

That article made my head hurt. So many writing errors I wondered if I was reading propaganda from an ESL author.

I can see the discarding of the traditional (USSR) Left extreme to Fascist Right extreme, since a Gulag camp is a distinction without a difference from a Konzentrationslager. But what the spectrum in the OP ignores is heartless economics as the non-thinking man’s ideology. Is “freedom” the removal of restraint on cheating, endangering and hurting weaker people? Rich white guys seem to see it that way, and poor white guys seem to as well, as long as they can finance an ample supply of cheap consumer goods.

I think the author is half-correct about something, which is that many Republicans, especially religious ones, have an attitude of “Any compromise to evil is wrong” - especially because many conservative Christians have grown up in upbringings where the hero refuses to bend the knee to evil even when it’s the “practical” thing to do - and gets unexpectedly rewarded and saved for his righteous defiance. Examples = Daniel refusing to stop praying, gets thrown into den of lions, but is saved - his three friends refuse to bow down to the idol, get thrown into fiery furnace, but are saved. Etc.

What that sort of upbringing does, then, is that it teaches many religious Republicans that they 1) must not compromise one bit with the evil Democrats and 2) they will be rewarded some day for their stance. Which is in part to blame for the GOP of today and its stance.

To some extent, I see this puritanical streak in some Antifa or leftists too, who view things as some righteous battle of good vs evil and think they are the Jedi against the Sith. But that’s another topic.

Very odd, considering who they voted for in order to get right of abortion rights. Sure, I’ll vote for the philandering, lying conman, as long as he appoints the right judges.

Ah, but you see, the end result was where they didn’t compromise on. By electing a sleazeball president who would nominate rock-solid pro-life judges, they got 100% of their pro-life goals (by their theory.) Had they elected an upright, honorable president who would nominate pro-choice judges, THAT would have been a compromise to evil.

I dunno. If your sole definition of “freedom” is “freedom from governmet economic control and supervision”, then I suppose the chart, while incredibly simplistic, has some truth to it.

Of course, it says nothing about other forms of economic control, such as corporate oppression, nor does not acknowledge any other form of freedom other than economic. That makes it essentially useless in the real world.

Well, yeah - and promoting gratuitous self interest

I stopped reading it part way through for that reason.

But based on the labels this isn’t the graph of the left/right economic axis its clearly a graph of the Libertarian/authoritarian axis. On that axis, and assuming that Communism is represented by the Soviet style system which was very authoritarian, it makes sense to put them both on the same side. From that perspective I would say that the only controversial aspect of that graph is the placement of the Republican and Democratic parties.

But no one who listens to right wing rhetoric would be at all surprised that they place us on the authoritarian side of the spectrum. From the Republican perspective the Democrats make all sorts of authoritarian demands (paying taxes, buying health insurance, registering assault rifles, wearing masks, being nice to gays, not dumping massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere), while at the same time ignoring their own authoritarian instincts (restricting sexual freedom, tough on crime laws, worship of the military, etc.)

I’ve met some American right-wingers, such as my (fundamentalist) father, who had a very binary view of the world. The world contains only two things, good and evil, and therefore all good things are the same, and all evil things are the same. Abortion is evil and homosexuality is evil, therefore the gays are all out getting abortions. America is good and Christianity is good, therefore America is Christian. And yes, this does mean that all compromise is wrong and must be avoided at all costs, since you obviously can’t compromise with evil.