In praise of the Left-Right political spectrum.

The Left/Right political dichotomy is inarguably the most useful tool which we have for explaining the present-day political situation which confronts us. This taxonomy, which originated with the French National Assembly, and was based on those were for the monarch and those who were against the monarch, need not be seen as a not unwise reason for continuing its use in contemporary politics. Indeed, just the opposite.

The major advantage of this system is that it allows for political identification to be viewed as a kind of spectrum–though of course it does–but rather that it allows to be wholly binary. If the concept of a theoretical center admits too much room for potential dissidents, it may be viewed rather that each individual unit is composed of a certain percentage of “Right” ideas and of “Left” ideas and that the ratio of these two things establishes him firmly as either “Left” or “Right”. In the unlikely event he is exactly 50% of each, then he must choose randomly.

This absolutist system simplifies matters a great deal, but at some level there may always be those who will seek to rebel against its simplicity. These persons will insist that the system is too simple, and must needs include more complexities before it is accurate. This raises the specter of the spectral mode of political thinking, but herein the system’s innate flexibility is shown in its full color.

Because “Left” and “Right” may also appear on a continuum as well as a kind of binary it is possible to allow for a great deal of variation between them. To those who are inclined to do so, this enables the placing of persons definitively in relation to one another politically.

In this way, we simply conclude that anyone who holds any combination of political views, of which some are “Left” and some are “Right” is therefore to be placed in the center of the line. Therefore someone who believed in the social policies of the “Left” and the economic policies of the “Right” would be in the center. Likewise, someone who believed in the social policies of the “Right” and the economic policy of the “Left” would also be in the center.

This “center” system is of course only to be used as a handler of rare exceptions, for most people may be easily and totally described as being one of the two extremes. But rarely will someone dare to not be on either extreme, and here we find our centrists.

There is finally to be considered the question of whether there could be someone who did not like the entire spectrum, and who sought to build some altogether new philosophy that fit nowhere on the spectrum. It is doubtful such a person could exist, for it would mean that the system for determining whether the French wanted a King was not wholly suited for covering the entirety of political thought.

So, as you could probably tell, this post was a “tongue-in-cheek” piece I’ve been working on. It was supposed to be a “Modest Proposal“-esque sort of humor piece, though it comes off (in my opinion) as just glorified sarcasm, which isn’t terribly funny. I was trying to figure out a way to finish it up well, and I couldn’t. But I thought I’d post it anyway–and April Fools’ day seemed appropriate.

What's your stake in this, cowboy?