Talk:Political Spectrum

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Contemporary US usage

The political spectrum of contemporary U.S. politics places liberals such as Democrats on the left and conservatives such as Republicans on the right.


The left-right political spectrum is a way of classifying some political positions as "leftist" or "rightist". Obviously, it is not intended to classify every possible political belief as one or the other, and there is controversy about which criterion should used for the classification. Some of the main theories used to classify positions along the left-right spectrum are the following:

  • Traditionally political scientists have defined the left-right political spectrum by saying that politics on the 'right' usually supports the traditional institutions and values of a society, while politics on the 'left' usually favors challenging traditional institutions and values.[1],[2],[3]
  • An alternative definition which some political scientists say better describes current political differences states that those on the 'left' tend to favor bigger government, egalitarianism, and collectivism while those on the 'right' favored smaller government, free markets, and individualism.[4]
  • Yet another definition describes current political differences by saying that the 'left' tends to favor personal freedoms, while the 'right' tends to favor economic freedoms.[5]

REBUTTING objections by RobS:

About Def. 1: Stop right here. Is al-Qeade left or right under this definition?
I would say neither. There is no reason to suppose every political movement falls on the left/right spectrum. --Redblue 07:10, 11 April 2007 (EDT)
Good answer. When proven that this theory is not doctrinal then, will you join us is stating it is only a theory?
About Def. 2: egalitarianism, and collectivism. This is unacceptable. to equate "egalitarianism" to "collectivism" is ludicrous.
Nothing in Def. 2 states or implies that egalitarianism is the same thing as collectivism. If they were the same, one word would suffice.--Redblue 07:16, 11 April 2007 (EDT)
Then you can't use the both words in this regard.
About Def. 3: Bogus arguement. economic freedom is personal freedom.
Sorry, your objection is bogus. Many people say economic freedom helps promote personal freedom, and vice versa. But they are not the same thing. --Redblue 07:16, 11 April 2007 (EDT)
Let's adopt your view for a moment; since economic freedom and personal freedom are not intertwined, I assume you have no objection to slavery then, since enjoying the economic freedom of a paycheck isn't necessary as long as you are still afforded the personal freedom to enjoy a hot meal once in awhile or using the bathroom.

  1. H. Winter and T. Bellows (1997), Conflict and Compromise: An Introduction to Political Science, 8th ed., Ch. 3. Longman, Inc.
  2. S. Tansey (2000), Politics: the Basics, 2nd ed., Ch. 4. Routledge, Inc.
  3. Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, def. 2.8 of 'right' and def. 2.3 of 'left'
  4. Ed Poor's high-school teacher
  5. Somebody named Nolan?

Criticisms of a one-dimensional view

Many people reject a one-dimensional view of the political spectrum.

"The old one-dimensional categories of 'right' and 'left', established for the seating arrangement of the French National Assembly of 1789, are overly simplistic for today's complex political landscape." [1]

For example, libertarians say that their point of view - advocating personal freedom in all its forms, as long as it does not conflict with the freedom of others, is not a left-wing or right-wing position. Advocating freedom sometimes leads them to take positions that are usually considered right-wing (for example, defending a worker's right not to join a labor union) but at other times leads them to take positions that are usually considered left-wing (for example, defending gay rights). --Redblue 08:03, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

This is bogus double-talk; Liberal#Original meaning: "Classical liberalism" states right here,
Liberal in its secular meaning, describes someone who favors personal freedom in all its forms[1], as long as it does not conflict with the freedom of others
You cannot have it both ways. A Liberal and a Libertarian are not the same thing, and you cannot use the same definition for different things on two different pages. But thanks for trying to ameliorate dissenters by "throwing 'em bone" anyways. RobS 13:47, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

The 'political spectrum' is obviously worthless. The only meaningful divisions are between us (whoa re obviosuly correct about EVERYTHING) and them (who are EVIL INCARNATE and want to see us all DESTROYED). --BDobbs 21:41, 11 April 2007 (EDT)

In general, yes, that is how it is taught in American public schools, and repeated in American mainstream media. RobS 21:44, 11 April 2007 (EDT)


The left-right classification comes from the National Assembly in France just before the French Revolution. Members who supported political rights for all classes of society, would sit on the left side of the assembly hall in which they met. Members who supported the monarchy, would sit towards the right. Those who had been offended by their own party would frequently stand up and walk over to the other side of the hall in order to make a political statement. Historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. has said the spectrum theory was "adequate to the political simplicities of the nineteenth century, when the Right meant those who wished to preserve the existing order and the Left meant those who wished to change it. But the twentieth century, here as elsewhere, introduced new ambiguities." [2] Talk:Political spectrum/history

RedBlue wrote: Other periods would be helpful too... but this is a start...



  1. The Political Compass
  2. Not Right, Not Left, But a Vital Center, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., New York Times Magazine, April 4, 1948.


Proposed section headings

  • Definition
  • Origin
  • Contemporary US usage
  • Criticisms of one-dimensional viewpoint
  • History
  • See also: political movements

Alternative section headings

  • Contemporary US usage
  • Origin
  • Definition in political science
  • Criticisms of one-dimensional viewpoint
  • History
  • See also: political movements

In spite of all the argument, it seems we mostly agree what to put in those sections. What's been so controversial is which aspects to emphasize. So a good arrangement of sections would be very useful. --Redblue 07:44, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

  • The old one-dimensional categories of 'right' and 'left', established for the seating arrangement of the French National Assembly of 1789, are overly simplistic for today's complex political landscape. For example, who are the 'conservatives' in today's Russia? Are they the unreconstructed Stalinists, or the reformers who have adopted the right-wing views of conservatives like Margaret Thatcher ? On the standard left-right scale, how do you distinguish leftists like Stalin and Gandhi? It's not sufficient to say that Stalin was simply more left than Gandhi. There are fundamental political differences between them that the old categories on their own can't explain. Similarly, we generally describe social reactionaries as 'right-wingers', yet that leaves left-wing reactionaries like Robert Mugabe and Pol Pot off the hook. [1]

Any ideas? --Ed Poor 12:56, 6 April 2007 (EDT)

These are some vivid and timely illustrations of the problem. While the idea has worked as a sort of shorthand for condensing substantive analysis, the problem stems from treating it as a doctrinal truth. This wouldn't be a problem if it was used comparatively after surveying different issues, ideas, groups, or individuals, but that is not what happens. It's used as the starting point for any discussion and analysis. RobS 22:08, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
Some sort of y and z dimensions to the political spectrum could be explained - personal freedom vs. economic freedom?

PS: Does this mean that PF Fox can call the Nazis right wing now :-p ? Wikinterpreter

Neither party enjoys being compared to the Communist left or the Nazi right, but both seem to get mileage out of using such a comparison for their political opponents. --Ed Poor 13:06, 6 April 2007 (EDT)

Of course, that's why we need a definition of the political spectrum (what, if anything, do Dems/Reps have in common with Commies/Nazis), which is why I wrote the comment mentioned below. So I am going to include my suggested distinctions now on the political spectrum page... --Redblue 06:55, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
There's a long comment at Talk:Rightist which indicates the need for a merge. --Ed Poor 06:45, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
  • I disagree. Respectfully. Even though actions are being taken without consult with the other Sysops or users, in a most disrespectful way. --~ TK MyTalk 22:16, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
    • Nothing has developed at Leftist or Rightist other than the typical namecalling without any real efforts to give a valid definition. Then we have the argument that this abuse has occured for decades in other print publications, so why shouldn't we just continue it. The New York Times, for example reported as late as 1912 that a highly sophisticated civilization existed on Mars; and the New York Times certainly is as credible as source as Merriam Websters. Again we are faced with the same dilemma: this is only a theory and should be properly identified as a theory. RobS 23:05, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
      • It's not a theory, it's a definition. There's nothing to test about it, it's just a (very imperfect) way of classifying (some, not all) political viewpoints. 'Red' state is not a perfect description of politics in Texas, just like 'red' couch is not a perfect description of the color of the furniture in your livingroom. Would you say that describing some couches as red, and other couches as blue, is 'just a theory, and should be properly identified as a theory'? --Redblue 04:17, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

Nolan chart

A 2-d view of politics

The Nolan chart (who was Nolan?) could be a great topic for another page... --Redblue 08:43, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

This is just more theory; piling on more theory ontop of theory doesn't really help to clarify anything, unless of course you properly disclaim it as such. We all were taught this junk by the NEA; 260 million Russian were taught the glories of Marxism in public schools for 70 years, as contiues in China, North Korea and Cuba. Let's do an empirical survey and compare American schools and test scores with former Soviet, Chinese, North Korean and Cuban to see how they rank. Then we'll investigate if there's any validity whatsoever to the statement that because you learned it school, therefore it must be true.
There is actually a key to understanding this theory, which helps make sense of it. But none of the advocates of perpetuating these myths have discussed it yet--which implies advocates of the theory themselves know little of its origin, use, meaning, or purpose. So I'll just remain silent on that aspect until somebody actually raises it. RobS 14:51, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

Well, his chart is "on the right". :-) --Ed Poor 10:03, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

A Matter of Common Usage

I'm sorry, but this is simply nonsense. No, "left" and "right" are not always exact terms when they're used in the context of politics, but neither is "liberal" or "conservative" and you guys seem perfectly willing to use those terms, even going so far as to set up separate entries for "liberal" and "conservative." As I've already observed to Ed Poor, the entry on Communism plainly states that "Communism is an economic system, social organization, and LEFTIST political movement." Why, if you're willing to allow a statement about Communism being "leftist" to stand, are you squeamish about applying "right wing" to the Nazis?

They were considered "right wing" in the Nazi era in Germany. They have been referred to as "right wing" since by historians. Diarists of that time referred to them as "right wing," journalists, travel books, critics of the Nazis, supporters of the Nazis, all referred to them as "right wing." Attempting to remove that label is nothing more or less than historical revisionism, and since the term "leftist" has remained in the reference to "Communism" even after I've pointed it out, it is decidedly suspect and one-sided revisionism.

The arguments I've encountered for not applying the term "right wing" to the Nazis are an illustration of just how ridiculous is this attempt to change common usage. The Nazis rose as a response to many of the liberal policies of the Weimar Republic, the emacipation of the Jews, the increasing freedoms enjoyed by women, the rise of avant garde artists. Cramming this reality into the argument that "the Nazis weren't right wing" requires misrepresenting history, figuring out some way that the Nazis DIDN'T oppose the Weimar Republic. Thus, I've been told that the Weimar Era didn't end until 1939 and been offered a fudged quote from Albert Speer to support a claim that's not just dubious but positively surrealistic. Doesn't it give you pause that this silliness is the only way this rejection of the term "right wing" can be defended?

These objections to the "political spectrum model" come across here as simply an excuse for derrailing political discussions heading in directions you dislike into long and pointless quibbles. Words have meanings, folks. What those meanings are generally depends on common usage. That's how language works. Attempts to alter common usage are almost always less about precision than they are about fulfilling a political or religious agenda.

Give up using the words "conservative" and "liberal" and maybe, just MAYBE your arguments about the words "left" and "right" will begin to have some merit. But of course you all know as well as I do that's not going to happen. --PF Fox 11:32, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

You made a good point, which I have added to the article. [3] --Ed Poor 12:54, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
  • Calling Nazi's right-wing, was a contrivance of the left. A pejorative idea, to diminish Conservatives, the right wing. --~ TK MyTalk 13:01, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
Then every journalist, every historian, every writer of travel books, every contemporary observer of Nazi Germany, every respected writer who's written about them since were and are all part of "the left." You sure you want to stick with this claim? --PF Fox 14:09, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
  • Yeah, like suspecting all of the above is a bad thing? Not in my world! "Respected" writers are like nattering nabobs of dissent. "Conventional Wisdom" is neither. ;-) --~ TK MyTalk 14:23, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
Riiiiiigggghhhht TK... It's ALL a commie plot involving William Shirer, Hugh Trevor-Roper, Milton Meyer, Victor Klemperer, Walter Cronkite, the publishers of Fodors, anybody for or against the Nazis who kept a diary at the time, and every journalist who covered them (including the guys who wrote for TIME.) --PF Fox 14:27, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
  • Henry Luce would have fired most of 'em. Try to think for yourself, not pay so much attention to people you think are icons. ;-) Time isn't considered much of a source, outside of Liberal circles. --~ TK MyTalk 14:30, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
hitler and stalin were buddies . Jaques 14:32, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
  • A Socialist, by any other name, is still a Socialist. A dictator by any other name, is still a dictator. A thug is still a thug, as time goes by......... --~ TK MyTalk 14:34, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
So were Saddam Hussein and Donald Rumsfeld [4]. That is also of no relevance but interesting all the same.
WhatIsG0ing0n 14:36, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
  • I beleive using the word "buddies" is inappropriate. Now, I would have to check with Don, but I don't think they were actual buddies....--~ TK MyTalk 14:40, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
TK says: "Henry Luce would have fired most of 'em." LOL! Then why didn't he? --PF Fox 14:42, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
Jaques says "Hitler and Stalin were buddies." Briefly. Hitler and Hirohito were "buddies" for the duration of the war, so I guess the next step in this revisionism is for you guys to claim that Hitler wasn't a racist. --PF Fox 14:42, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
  • Hitler was indeed an out-and-out racist. And a Socialist. Hence the "National Socialist Party", and their style of governing, and the welfare state they used to control the masses. Same as the New Deal eventually led to a welfare class in the United States, one used to manipulate the vote, quite successfully. Not exactly "new" ideas. --~ TK MyTalk 14:45, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

Maybe part of the problem is that the European right wing is different than the American right wing...European conservativism and American conservativism are just really different animals. European conservativism is statist, elitist, and monarchical, and developed out of a rejection of the classical liberal tradition. American conservativism is individualist, democratic, and republican, because "classical liberalism" is that way. The Nazis were definately a "rightist" party, and when they first took control of the government, they had to do it in coalition with the DNVP, a party on the right that was nationalistic and monarchical. That doesn't mean that they're anything like the American rightwing. But they definately weren't socialist. Any socialist elements in the Nazi party were destroyed with the Strasser purge. And there was already a welfare state in Germany before the Nazis..Bismarck introduced all sorts of social welfare programs--Epicurius 14:47, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

TK have you ready ANY books or contemporary accounts of the Third Reich -- or are you just depending on what your favorite websites tell you? --PF Fox 14:48, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
Stalin was pretty racsist himself.Jaques 14:50, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
  • You are impertinent, P.F. Fox. --~ TK MyTalk 14:52, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
I am well informed, TK, and well read. Anyone who imagines that Henry Luce would have fired a reporter for referring to the Nazis as "right wing" is not very well informed.
From Time Magazine (August 8, 1932):
"There will be 607 Deputies in the new Reichstag, largest, in German history. Simplifying the returns, it means that the Nazis and other Right Wing Parties will have a total of 277 seats." --PF Fox 15:04, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
  • That means nothing. How parties were characterized in the 1930's especially European political parties, had and has little to do with reality. It would be the same thing to call the Libertarian Party more like the Republican Party, or even the Democratic. While simplistically one could make some comparisons, but overall, highly inaccurate. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds... Ralph Waldo Emerson --~ TK MyTalk 15:18, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
How parties were characterized in the 1930s had much more to do with the reality of that time than how someone plainly unfamiliar with that era and with a political axe to grind characterizes them over 70 years later. What you and others here are trying to do is change the common usage of the term "right wing" that has been in effect from the 30s TO THE PRESENT. And it's interesting to note that where you were earlier stoutly declaring that "Henry Luce would have fired" reporters who referred to the Nazis as right wing, you are now denouncing his agreement with that assessment as meaningless. --PF Fox 15:27, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
  • I see. So Socialism is a right-wing deal? Back then? No? Both? --~ TK MyTalk 15:36, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
No, Socialistm is not "a right-wing deal." And the Nazis were not Socialists. Have you read ANY books on this subject? If not, don't you think that you should? --PF Fox 16:02, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

A cultural difference

In the United States, the term Right particularly became disabused because of its European origin. Originally it was associated with a titled nobility. No such thing ever existed in the United States, and in fact was prohibited by the United States Constititution. Hence, Europeans today have an extrememly discolored view of the "American right". RobS 16:26, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

How does one "disabuse" an abstract term, which is incapable of thinking and therefore incapable of having misconceptions of which it needs to be "disabused?"
The origins of the meaning of the word "right" and whether or not it was associated with "titled nobility" have absolutely nothing to do with this discussion. And those differences between the manner in which Europe defines "right wing" and the manner in which the United States define "right wing" are not so great that anyone either on this side of the Atlantic or the other, now or in the 1930s, had any disagreement about the Nazis being "right wing."

--PF Fox 11:33, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

Article Protection

Why was this article protected? ColinRtalk 15:21, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

  • It should be obvious, Colin. If not, talk to Andy. Revert-wars, in a pique of temper, are not encouraged here. --~ TK MyTalk 15:25, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
Whether it's obvious or not, no reason for protecting it was listed. Was the article vandalized? Not from what I see. If it's just the case of a revert war, then why not try this: I will revert the article back to the version prior to the revert war (for now.) and unlock the article with the understanding that neither side of the revert war will make any edits to the debated part. The two sides can then debate/hopefully reach a compromise at Talk:Political_spectrum/common_usage and when this matter is resolved, the corrected text can be entered. Sound good? ColinRtalk 15:31, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
Yep, it's pretty obvious. Many people here seem to be intent on proving the point I was making to Ed Poor that this whole "Political Spectrum" argument is nothing more than a clumsy attempt at self-serving historical revisionism. --PF Fox 15:33, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
  • Sorry, Colin. I put in a reason. You are not the "decider" here. --~ TK MyTalk 15:34, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
I'm not claiming to be the decider. I'm trying to resolve this issue in a way that benefits Conservapedia, rather than leave this site with another locked page. ColinRtalk 15:35, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
  • Well, there is the fallacy in your argument. This isn't Wikipedia, and that idea about locking pages is their good idea, and obviously yours. I don't see a problem locking a page for a few hours, or a day.
You've got to understand, Colin, that they aren't going to revert it back to what it was before the "edit war" because they don't LIKE what it was before the edit war. This is not about preventing an "edit war." It's about altering common usage so that the leftists are dumped in with the Communists, but the Right Wingers aren't associated with Nazis. It's about trying to pass off Hitler as a leftist. --PF Fox 15:38, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
We have 50 locked articles. Wanna help me figure out which ones aren't vandalism targets or edit war battlezones? --Ed Poor 15:54, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
  • Sure, Ed. I don't consider that figure unacceptable, or bad. Shame on me! :p --~ TK MyTalk 15:56, 9 April 2007 (EDT)
  • Ahhh, I see.....nothing pressing on that subject, eh? Just as I thought. --~ TK MyTalk 16:15, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

Much better!

Thank you, Rob! --~ TK MyTalk 16:30, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

My! Getting even better! --~ TK MyTalk 16:37, 9 April 2007 (EDT)

Wow, that was a brilliant deletion of all content from this page

Congratulations to Rob for deleting the only definition of the political spectrum from the political spectrum page, and replacing it with this complaint:

The political spectrum is a method used to assign views to persons and groups which they do not hold. It is a method of pigeon-holing stereotypes.

Notice that says nothing about what the political spectrum actually is. "A method used to assign views ... people do not hold" could be a description of comedy, or a description of blackmail, or whatever. But it says nothing about what the political spectrum is. Don't you think the political spectrum page should try to explain what the political spectrum is?

Couldn't agree more; I count User:Redblue having made 20 edits to Political spectrum mainspace, 9 edits to Leftist, and 9 edits to Rightist, and where are we any closer to any definitions than before any of these three pages were started? RobS 13:07, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

I tried to define what seems to be the main difference between viewpoints called "left" and viewpoints called "right". I said:

'Right' means defending traditional institutions and values; 'left' means challenging them.

Is that a perfect definition? Probably not. Can somebody come up with a better definition? Great if you can. But just deleting it and boo-hooing about unjust stereotyping is a sign of insecurity worthy of the P.C.-est college hippy around. Personally I don't even understand what a 'rightist' or a 'leftist' would find insulting about my definition.

OK. So I am challanging the veracity of the spectrum theory; does that me make leftist? Others claim they should be accepted-- even without defining them--because it's traditional and they were taught it in high school; does that make them rightists? RobS 13:07, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

Obviously not all views can be neatly classified. I'm glad the criticisms of a one-dimensional viewpoint didn't disappear from the page: it's important to remember that not everything is left or right or conservative or liberal or whatever. I sure wish people on other pages in Conservapedia would remember that once in a while.

I agree with all of this. What I disagree with is using the Left/Right Spectrum Theory as the starting point of classification. It may have some comparative value, but what usually happens is a new group comes on stage--take Wahhabism for example--nobody knows what it is, so somebody defines it is "rightist", i.e. bad guys, and then whatever minor embarassing details need to be trimmed can be conveniently ignored later. The case of Wahhabism is one in particular I think we should examine in addition to the National Socialist, because both are very revealing. RobS 13:07, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

Having words to classify political viewpoints is helpful, but obviously that doesn't mean every viewpoint can be nailed down perfectly. I'm not trying to assign views to people who don't hold them. The left-right 'political spectrum' is just a way of classifying some views.

One word can clarify all this--theory. RobS 13:07, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

It's like when you go into a furniture store and ask for a red couch. Are all red couches exactly the same color? No. Are there some couches you would call red, which upon close inspection contain some fibers of other colors? Yes. Does that mean the word 'red' is a method for pigeon-holing stereotypes? Good luck furniture shopping if you ban all words for colors.

So don't delete my definition. If you can figure out and defend a better one, that would be great. --Redblue 03:48, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

Now I added references from a couple of introduction-to-political-science textbooks supporting my definition. I have no idea whether the authors are "leftists" or "rightists" or whatever. --Redblue 06:44, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

Rob's complaint should be turned into a description of a well-sourced scholar view, like this:
  • According to the Confoundatarian Party, all political spectrums are illegitimate because they wind up being used pigeonhole persons and groups with false stereotypes.
Any flaws in a left-center-right model should be noted, but not as an opinion of one CP editor - rather, attributed to a verifiable source. --Ed Poor 06:53, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

Ed, read my comments, please!! All I'm asking for is a definition of what's the difference between left and right. There's nothing wrong with what your old version says, only what it doesnt say: it doesnt define why some things are called left and some are called right. I provided a very simple definition, and backed it up with two sources. How can you revert to an unsourced version without the most basic information? Meanwhile you deleted a lot of other people's contributions too... I will revert back (just once, you're the editor).

I read that comment <grin>. It's like saying all I want for Christmas is "peace on earth, good will to men". You forget to mention a chicken in every pot and a perpetual motion machine. </grin>
Nonsense, Ed, it's nothing of the kind. The definition of left and right I cited can be found in Merriam Webster's Ninth. There's nothing so abstract and subjective about it that it's comparable to the platitudes you've cited. The only reason some here are upset about it is because they want a definition that would put Hitler on the left with Stalin. --PF Fox 11:40, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
PF- what does MW say? I tried looking up 'political spectrum' in MW online and found nothing. --Redblue 11:48, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines the political usage of the term "right" (Under "R," defintion 2.8) as "individuals sometimes expressing opposition to change in the established order and favoring traditional attitudes and practices and sometimes advocating the forced establishment of an authoritarian political order." That same source defines the political usage of the term "left" (Under "L", definition 2.3) "those professing views usu characterized by desires to reform or overthrow the established order esp. in politics and usu advocating change in the name of the greater freedom or well-being of the common man." --PF Fox 11:57, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
"those professing views usu characterized by desires to reform or overthrow the established order esp. in politics "
This definition describes both Adolf Hitler & Osama bin Laden as lefists pretty good. RobS 13:23, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
Only if you carefully ignore the part about the left "overthrowing the established order" and the right "favoring traditional attitudes and practices." Both Osama bin Laden and Hitler wanted to turn the clock back to "traditional" practices. That puts them soldily in "the right." --PF Fox 13:36, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
Not so my friend; Hitler wanted to "overthrow the established order", i.e. the Versailles Treaty. "Hitler wanted to turn the clock back to "traditional" practices"; when was genocide as "traditional practice"? And the case of bin Laden I think we can get into more specifically as well, but not quite yet... RobS 13:55, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
Hitler advocated "the forced establishment of an authoritarian political order," which is covered in the definition of "right." And the only thing really new about the Third Reich's genocide was the modern technology and record keeping Heinrich Himmler brought to it. See the article on Third Reich for a detailed discussion of Hitler's desire to return Germany to what it was before women and Jews had gained more rights and art had moved beyond the romanticism Hitler preferred.
I look forward with interest to seeing what definitions you're going to mangle and what historical facts you'll get thuddingly wrong in trying to pass Bin Laden off as a "leftist." --PF Fox 14:17, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
Hitler advocated "the forced establishment of an authoritarian political order," which is covered in the definition of "right."
Well my friend, you can't make this statement because we haven't properly defined the term, "right". RobS 14:29, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

Robs, Sure I can. The terms "right" and "left' have been defined for years, their definitions are readily available in most dictionaries, and those definitions have ben used in regard to the Third Reich for over seven decades by both liberals and conservatives. Your attemps to pretend otherwise is as silly as your attempt to redraw the timeline for the Weimar Republic. --PF Fox 14:36, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

Okay, enough joking around. Seriously, the problem is that no one can agree on the definitions. This article makes our creationism and evolution articles look simple (and I've reserved several even more contentious subjects for a later date - don't ask).
Could we please list the various definitions someplace? --Ed Poor 08:10, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
Sure, listing would be great. ESPECIALLY if people provide some references for their defs. Let me know if you lose my refs in all the editing/reediting. By the way, good job. I assume the fact that there is more silence now means people agree with most of the material in the draft sections... --Redblue 08:15, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

By the way

By the way, this comment has nothing to do with the content of the page. So why is it included?

The Left-Right theory does not explain how international coalitions come about. For example, the Atlantic Charter which gave birth to NATO was a statement of common objectives and inaugurated by the progressive Franklin Roosevelt and monarchist Tory Winston Churchill. Nor the common objectives pursued by George H. W. Bush and Shimon Peres of the Isreali Labor Party. Nor the alliance of George W. Bush and Tony Blair, to name only a few from a multitude of examples.

The Left-Right definition was never intended to be a theory of how coalitions come about. --Redblue 03:51, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

Ohh...yah...I see; the poltical spectrum theory is a theory that describes politcal views but when we have real life illustrations, it doesn't apply. Yes, now we understand. And it makes absolute perfect sense, too. RobS 13:28, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
  • Sorry Redblue...I responded on my talk page. --~ TK MyTalk 04:13, 10 April 2007 (EDT)


We need to divide the article into sections, to avoid wasting time on edit conflicts. There are two ways to do this. The easy way requires an update to MediaWiki, so I'm going to do this the hard way. Please bear with me. --Ed Poor 07:18, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

I'm all for creating sections, as long as this allows actually putting some information in this page about how political scientists and tradition define the political spectrum. --Redblue 07:21, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

Some useful sections could include "definition", "origin", "contemporary US usage", "history", and "political movements". And "criticisms of one-dimensional viewpoint" --Redblue 07:24, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

Okay, here they are:
I'll set these up as unprotected templates that appear at the head of this talk page. --Ed Poor 07:39, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
We need to find a way to agree. I suggest planning. --Ed Poor 07:37, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

  • I am glad this was fully discussed, and all parties who wanted to, have given their comments, in the few minutes since you suggested it, Ed. Thanks for allowing absolutely no input, or responding to me. --~ TK MyTalk 14:59, 10 April 2007 (EDT)


Would anyone feel it would be unfair for a sysop to use article protection to gain an editorial advantage? Ed Poor

Tally: 5 yes, 0 no, 0 other


  1. Gonna assume this gap is for people to fill! It's not just unfair, its an abuse of privilege! Sysop's who use their powers in such a way should have their powers removed! MatteeNeutra 07:28, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
  2. Yes (to maintain count, rest of comments are being backed out by commentatrix) Teresita 17:01, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
  3. Well, I'll make it unanimous then.
    • We need to find a way to agree. I suggest planning. --Ed Poor 07:37, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
  4. Protection is for preventing vandalism, not enforcing content. Tsumetai 07:40, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
  5. Of course it is unfair. There's some question about this? --PF Fox 11:35, 10 April 2007 (EDT)


Other: Well, I'll make it unanimous then. We need to find a way to agree. I suggest planning. --Ed Poor 07:37, 10 April 2007 (EDT) Unanimous? Sorry to break it to you Little ain't the majority around here Anything produced will give full faith and credit to the Conservative side and the Christian side. --~ TK MyTalk 14:41, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

Nothing wrong with that, TK -- so long as you do no violence to the truth while presenting the conservative side. Unfortunately trying to pass Hitler off as a leftist and implying that Henry Luce would have fired reporters for referring to the Nazis as "right wing" does violence to the truth, whether the writer is deliberately misrepresenting things or is just saying what he or she would LIKE to be true without going through the sordid process of actually READING A BOOK OR TWO on the subject at hand. On a website that is supposed to be "educational" those kind of "errors" should be intoleratable to anyone no matter what their political persuasion. --PF Fox 14:48, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
  • Sorry, PF, that is where you are wrong. This site is not supposed to conform to SCIENCE, secular science. I know the Students hate seeing everything here secularized beyond any reason. I have two undergrad degrees, one post, working towards my second. I read lots of books, btw, so sorry if the thinking is "out there", beyond your ability to understand. Giving full faith and credit to Christian ideas, does, however, sometimes take a leap of faith, something secularists can't do. With prayer, I am sure you will find the strength/ability to understand. Your continued put-downs are not appreciated by most here, I have heard from over a dozen since last night, thanking me, saying they are glad someone is standing up to tyrants, aside from Conservative, intent on ramming secular/liberal content down their throats. I suggest you try harder to live up to the ideals of this site. --~ TK MyTalk 14:57, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
Whether or not Hitler was a right winger and whether or not Henry Luce would have fired someone for saying so is not a matter of "science" or "religion." It's a matter of fact and a matter of having a decent regard for the truth. Telling young people that the Nazis were leftists and that conservatives of that era like Henry Luce would have agreed with such nonsense is untrue. If the person uttering this untruth is saying it through ignorance, they need to actually read up on the subject before "teaching" students about it. If the person uttering this untruth knows better, they are fracturing the 9th Commandment. --PF Fox 15:08, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
  • I am sorry and sad if postulating heresy makes you uneasy, or that you latch on to your misinterpretations to try and denigrate, marginalize and insult those you disagree with. You might want to ask yourself why you are so hostile to anyone suggesting alternatives to what you have preconceived notions about.....and I am not talking about stating that the Nazi's were leftists, though in matters of governance they indeed were, in model and form. Do you lack any form of intellectual openness to examine the differences between what intellectuals said in the 1930's and and the reality of their actual administration of government as opposed to their political thoughts? All I see above, posted by others in the past six hours or so, is a couple of people wanting to "bang out" a page, based on their preconceived notions, and excluding all others who might dare to suggest others topics. --~ TK MyTalk 15:15, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
So far you have not shown enough knowledge about history to lead anyone to believe that you're really aware of the Nazi's policies in "matters of governance." And calling the Nazis' "intellectuals" is as ridiculous as calling them "leftists". They were, like most despots, profoundly ANTI-intellectual, as their book bonfires, their library purges, and their attacks on "degenerate" art shows indicate.
I don't "bang out" pages based on preconceived notions. I base them on \reading of history, contemporary accounts and in some cases, first hand conversations with people who actually exprienced the Nazi era and/or the Red Scare. If you have sources to offer that contradict what I've posted about the Nazis opposition to feminism, avant garde art, and the rights of minorities, by all means cite them. --PF Fox 12:30, 11 April 2007 (EDT)
PF's a guy who's views we need to study and reflect upon. A true Wikipedian in that regard, his views are unchanging and undetered by facts. For example, on the KKK page I laid out two plausible courses for development of that article Talk:Ku Klux Klan#Moving forward. PF opted to pursue the first of these two. What followed was comical [5][6][7][8][9] in the vein of the a classic POV nuclear arms race. This can't be anything other than frustrating to those who insist upon this kind of an approach. RobS 15:19, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
  • Food for thought. I wonder why PF and Ed Poor want this "disposed of", rammed down everyone's throats so quickly? Did someone start a clock I am unaware of? --~ TK MyTalk 15:23, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
It is my policy to stamp out this kind of revisionism the minute I've seen it. I react in a similar manner to Holocaust revisionism. Doesn't it embarrass either of you in the slightest that the only way you can defend your absurd premise that the Nazis were leftists is by claiming that the WR didn't end until 1939, that Henry Luce would have fired reporters for calling the Nazis "right wing," and that Luce was part of some vast left-wing conspiracy (one that apparently included that wild-eyed commie, Henry Ford) to label the Nazis as leftists instead? --PF Fox 12:24, 12 April 2007 (EDT)
Ed's raised some good points, and we need some time to digest them. My own view is this page should be moved to Political spectrum theory and stood side by side with Theory of Evolution. Both date roughly from the same era, both have been misapplied in American public schools for more than century, and the resolution of both ultimately is same--they are only theories that each and every one of us individually have the freedom to embrace or reject. But to pass off either as an unchallengeable doctrinal truth just makes no sense anymore in the modern world. RobS 15:37, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

Well, it seems as if my friend, Ed, has taken a turn, and become a pupeteer, and only insterested in moving production. Being from TV, I guess that is understandable, LOL! It does make me sad, because I thought we got along well, here and on the phone. RobS, would you look at the list "Conservative" put on my talk page, and perhaps consider taking one of the topics? I can agree with you RobS about moving it've changed my mind. :-) --~ TK MyTalk 15:43, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

Do we take a poll on the move or does WP:BOLD apply? On the list, I'm gonna try & weasel out; I can't pretend any knowledge on the scientific and technical stuff, the National Right to Life Committee is interesting but I'm afraid it might give the impression I'm a partisan or biased editor (go ahead, laugh). Truth betold, I prefer historical subjects cause there's usually little of the guessing game left and most if not all the cards are finally laid on the table. I only get involved in contemporary stuff when I'm bored, tired, or throwing a change-up. RobS 15:56, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
  • I just am tired of people ramming junk through, at flank speed, without allowing or wanting additional input. I just don't see the rush, haven't been informed of a need for it, and whenever two people, mostly, are engaged in a talk page, and a question is proffered, and the solution/answer follows by three minutes, it makes me uneasy. It is akin to being outflanked with Parliamentary rules at a meeting. One wonders what the underlying motive is to cut things off, and do things a certain way.......and why some have such a venomous reaction to ideas.......--~ TK MyTalk 16:03, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

Puppetry is not necessarily a television thing, but I did take unilateral action here. If you want something different, go ahead. I just thought have individually editable sections might break the deadlock. --Ed Poor 16:55, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

While the organized approach is admirable, the problem is Step 1, "Definition"; they simply are not going to be able to complete this section in any reasonable or meaningful manner, which render the rest moot. "Common understandings" is more fitting, and then you can cite whatever theoretician you please.
To grossly oversimplify the root problem, the original meaning or definition is inextricably linked up with Church/State issues, or "the God question" as I refer to it from the late 18th century Enlightenment period. At its root is faith vs rationalism, or atheism vs the Church, etc. The so-called "right", defined as "traditional interests" meant the Church & monarchy who ruled by Divine Right. With 20th century fascism a need arose to define certain Socialists, atheists, and other anti-God elements as "right wing", which PF Fox never stops refering to. So it's a redefinition of the term that we're talking about. No longer does one have to be faith-based or God fearing to be defined as right-wing, you can mold your hatred of God & the Church to anyone you despise. In fact, it really doesn't matter what your political views are, since the definition is left wing = good guy, freedom loving, and for the betterment of humanity, whereas right wing = pro oppression. So if they don't like you, voila, you are a right wing bigot (leftists, by definition, cannot be bigots).
We've seen something very similiar regarding Holocaust denial. Holocaust denial had been around since 1945 when Herman Goering argued in his defense at Nuremberg it was "technically impossible". In the late 70s David Irving did not deny the Holocaust occured as Goering had done, he denied Hitler order it. So the term was redefined to apply to persons who did not deny the Holocaust occured. Now the term "Holocaust denier" can be applied to anyone, since denying the Holocaust occured is nolonger a prerequisite to earn the label. This in fact is the what the Wikipedia/Daniel Brandt dispute is all about (see Examples of Bias in Wikipedia, #43).
Ed, can we go ahead and move Political spectrum to Political spectrum theory? RobS 17:02, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
  • Ed, "by your example (unilateral action) so shall you lead. This is why there is so little cooperation, and so much uni action. Can a Wiki or business endure by uni action? What is the rush on all of this? We have little hitlers running around manipulating the software to hide their treachery, moving Christian and Conservative articles to disambiguation at will, removing all articles but one from certain classifications, to circumvent debate. When all that fails, their morally bankrupt minds turn to insults and attempts to marginalize others by insulting their education, or ability to read. I am almost sure that I could go to a Satanist site and find people who were kinder, more accepting and tolerant of newbies. The underlying tone of this place has to change! I know this is not all your fault, I do feel you are trying mightily But sometimes trying to cooperate with others only emboldens them to continue their "elitist" ways. --~ TK MyTalk 17:12, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

If I knew how, or wouldn't be attacked for doing so, I would move it Rob. If you know, you don't have to wait for Ed to okay it, you know. --~ TK MyTalk 17:13, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

  • Now if I acted like most here, I would say that because no further discussion, all is decided, make the changes, and be "done".--~ TK MyTalk 20:35, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

More Church/State stuff

The so-called "leftist" elements were born out of the enlightened, atheistic, rationalistic trends that overran entrenced interests and entrenched thinking. What does it mean to be "enlightened"? It means essentially to wake up and realize there is no God, that the monarchy & church were set up to keep poor people & peasants (perhaps wage earners too) down on the farm. This enlightened view of "Leftism" is little changed in 200 years.

Deist movement can also be regarded as, what we would call today, a "code word", for something that was utterly unholy & unspeakable in the 1790s. Few upstanding members of any community openly professed atheism, but their challenge to the existing order (political, scientific, literary, academic) in thier "rationalizations" and writings, even today we can read it as an intellectualized atheism. All true what you said about fascism & nazism, but in its final distilled form it certainly does not adhere to traditional orthodox (Protestant or Catholic) Christian doctrine. As to contemporary African-Americans, I have wracked my brain trying to recall anyone openly profess atheism, and have failed. Nonetheless, if the object is to try and develope as clear a line as possible from the French Revolution to today of a "Left" & "Right", I think it may be found (with some deviations) by examining the school of thought known as rationalism (which stereotypically extends to atheism & "enlightened thinking"), or by examining Church/State issues.

There are broad socio-political movements, some stridently ideological, some born of the practical necessity of the moment, with only an ideological veneer. Individuals can be hard to assign a category. Robespierre may be an excellent example. He opposed leftist anarchy & rightist restoration, yet understood society needed a political foundation. All the moderate-centrists of today would be offended to have Robespierre in their midst, but that's what he may well be, a centrist-terrorist, if there is such a thing, born of the practical necessity of his time (without forgiving him), of recognizing the need for some kind of order, and not being burdened with ideological inconsistencies.

This is good stuff, Rob, but I think you can see know that our task is almost hopeless at this point. We should first define and explain the building blocks before trying to describe the architecture of the building (let alone try to account for the twisted mess of debris resulting from the building's collapse. ;-) Do you know anything about Hellenism or Hebraism? How about the Renaissance and the Reformation? --Ed Poor 15:09, 11 April 2007 (EDT)
The problem is I don't subscribe to any of this garbage; I do not beleive all politcal views, actions and groups are ideologically driven. And it can be proven, as Redblue says, the theory is not all encompassing, and frequently falls down. I don't see any more value to ascribe a person or group as left or right than beleiving the human species walked on all fours at one time. To me they are both bizarre theories that each and everyone of us has the personal freedom to either accept or reject. RobS 15:23, 11 April 2007 (EDT)
Do you subscribe to calling Red "red," blue "blue," Yellow "yellow," etc? --PF Fox 12:24, 12 April 2007 (EDT)

Definition STILL needed

Ed Poor-- when you log on I hope you will finally be ready to put some definitions of 'political spectrum' on the political spectrum page. I have now written up three definitions of political spectrum, and provided three references supporting the one I think is most standard. RobS made some irrelevant criticisms of the three definitions, which I have rebutted. Nobody else has proposed any definition other than the ones I gave.

RobS seems to assume I am some sort of leftist, so let me just state for the record that I was born and raised and still consider myself a conservative American Catholic. I'm disappointed that I need to say that. I hoped making intelligent, helpful, respectful contributions, factual and with references, would suffice. Unfortunately this site is not living up to my initial expectations, and the biggest contributions I've made on this site (ie a lot of work on the political spectrum page) got reverted completely by Ed... I understand Teresita was pretty upset about losing her contributions too.

Congratulations. We are glad you feel good about yourself, too.

It seems I shouldn't need to explain why an encyclopedia page about the political spectrum should define the political spectrum. But notice that there have been hot debates here again and again about whether the Nazis etc etc are leftist or rightist. The page as it currently stands ONLY says who is CALLED leftist or rightist.

who is CALLED leftist or rightist
who is CALLED a leftist or rightist by whom?

It makes no attempt to explain why. Therefore any debate about where some group falls on the spectrum is just NAME CALLING,

NAME CALLING of who, by who?

and nothing more. What we need is A DEFINITION (or some definitions) so that PF Fox and RobS can say "well Osama is a ---- because definition 1 says ----" or "no, Osama is a ---- because definition 2 ---- implies -----". They would probably still detest each other, but at least they would be having a real debate instead of just engaging in name calling.

One point RobS seems upset about is that he seems to think the political spectrum is supposed to classify every single political position. I don't think any political scientist uses it that way. SOME political positions can be classified on the left-right axis, not all.

This is exactly my point; nevertheless, abuses occur.

I added a preamble to the list of definitions to try to clarify that.

I have inserted the word 'theory', in the hope that it might help convince RobS. Personally I think it's silly to call the left-right spectrum a 'theory':

So, if it is not theory, then what is it?

it's just a definition

definition by whom?

used to classify something, like 'crunchy' versus 'mushy'. If I say a bowl of cereal is mushy, it seems silly to call that a 'theory'... I'm just classifying according to a definition. But if 'theory' makes Rob happier, I guess there is no harm in that.

Another thing that bothers RobS is that he seems to think calling somebody 'right' is slander. I don't understand that. According to the main definition I proposed, 'right' means standing up for traditional institutions and values, which sounds extremely respectable to me.

Oh, so you like PF Fox, maintain genocide is "standing up for traditional institutions and values"?

In particular, in Europe the words left and right are used without any sense of insult at all. I know, because several years ago my company sent me to live and work in Spain, and I speak Spanish, and read the local papers, and know many people here. Obviously, if you start calling somebody 'extreme right' or 'extreme left', you are looking for a fight. But if you just call them left or right, that's just like calling them liberal or conservative in the US. In fact, lots of people respectfully say left/right in the US too, it's just a little less common.

Also, I almost never use the word 'liberal' any more, because it is much too confusing. If I say it to an American, they think 'left'; but if I say it to a European, they think 'right' (and if I say it in a mixed group, well, nobody understands).

That's one of the things that disappoints me about Conservapedia. There are lots of contributors running around calling each other names, but many pages completely lack definitions. We need to DEFINE the words we use, so that we can have more civil and intelligent debates.---Redblue

  • Please don't think me rude in saying this, but poor Ed Poor is but one Sysop, although a highly valuable one! His "powers" are exactly the same as all of us who are Sysop's. Now, his abilities of persuasion, and communication, are in many cases, greater than the rest of us!  ;-) --- Please don't be too impatient, as many things have been happening lately. The need for decision here is not on the "back burner", and is on our minds. --~ TK MyTalk 08:02, 11 April 2007 (EDT)
Libertarians try a 2-d approach
I set up the subpages and templates with you specifically in mind, RB. (May I call you RB?) You are the best organized writer on the topic. I couldn't have an edit war, or take part in one, and I suddenly thought of a possible way out. I need to write this up at Conservapedia:Partial page protection.
Nobody should have to give their political credentials, but that's how it is in this country: everyone wants to label you and pigeonhole you ... which leads us right back to the topic! :-)
Sorry about my big reversion. I didn't actually delete anything, it's all in the page history, but I definitely got the message about how upsetting it was. I spent a lot of time setting it up so that we can get back on track and not have any more edit wars on the topic. I hope it works out.
I daresay a lot of politics is (as you suggest) simply name calling. Dukakis is "a Liberal". Bush is "an idiot". The Israeli prime minister is "a Nazi." The contras were "terrorists". Etc. Do these terms actually mean anything? Linguists make a distinction between the denotation and connotation of a word. Would you rather have a segment of muscle tissue from an immature castrated bull, or a "nice thick juicy steak"?
RobS is right: the political spectrum is supposed to classify every single political position. However, where everybody goes wrong is in thinking that this is actually possible. It's not the right tool for job, and you'll go crazy trying to make this square peg fit into the round hole. "I have to, but I can't," as Brian Tracy puts it.
I disagree with using the term theory in connection with the spectrum. There's no theory without an explanation (see theory and fact, an article which I recently started).
And now I come to the main point, which is that some people resist being called "right-wing" because it associates them with Adolf Hitler, the world's most universally despised man. I'd be better off calling you a 'mofo' or Obama a n****, because, "Son, them's fightin' words!"
Sure, we need a definition, but these political labels don't have any actual definitions, and we would be false to our readers to pretend (1) that they have definite meaning or (2) that any of us here are capable of saying what those meanings are.
The word Conservative implies standing up for traditional institutions and values; whether that is a noble of foolish thing to do is anyone's guess. To an opponent of slavery and racism, tearing down such institutions and values would be more respectable than preserving them. To an antebellum Southern gentleman, the opposite would hold.
Civility comes from within, but intelligence can be developed on the foundation of reliable and trustworthy knowledge.
I have replied to you at length, because you are a valuable contributor and this is but the easiest of a whole slew of really tough issues we are going to face. We need to stick together and help each other. --Ed Poor 10:16, 11 April 2007 (EDT)
  • And now I come to the main point, which is that some people resist being called "right-wing" because it associates them with Adolf Hitler,
    • the sad truth about this is, I can provide the contemporary evidence where this is exactly the case, from organizations funded by the Democratic National Committee to do exactly that--link and tie the Republican Party through pseudo-scholarship and guilt by association slanders to National Socialism. And Redblue stated as much, his high school NEA teachers brainwashed his impression young mind with this slanderous garbage. RobS 15:17, 11 April 2007 (EDT)
  • It is difficult to undo several decades of babble speak, wherein the leftists sought to remove any connection between the National Socialist Party and the themselves. While people have not a care in the world saying Socialist's are leftist, the true fact is, the Nazi's were indeed Socialists. Aside from Hitler's wacky race ideas, their governing completely fits socialist norms. Perhaps given enough time, they would have even become more communistic in their model. I know it makes people traditionally molded into lock-step thinking, all one has to do is examine their governmental model, without NSP or Nazi labels on it, and the only conclusion one would make is that it was some typical European Socialist government. That being said, it shouldn't, IMO, hold up our progress here. Perhaps a short statement questioning conventional thought as to why Political Scientist's made this error, would be personal experience mirrors exactly what Rob wrote above. I was in college, and a wise professor presented several governing models, factual models of actual governments, all with labeling them. Without exception the class said model "C" was a typical socialist governance model. We were shocked to learn, absent the racial "facts" that sprung from those anti-Semites sick minds, the (Nazi) National Socialist Party was indeed just that.--~ TK MyTalk 15:41, 11 April 2007 (EDT)
My view is that Fascism and Communism are both Totalitarian. The battle between the two about 'right' and 'left' is but a smokescreen. --Ed Poor 15:54, 11 April 2007 (EDT)
This is turning into a fruitful discussion. I think Church/State issues originally defined the spectrum, but it was redefined several times over the decades. American founding fathers were "leftist" in this regard, in not cowtowing to the Church of England and Constitutionally rejecting a titled nobility. Conservative Tories who were loyal to Crown, like Benedict Arnold, founded that Tory colony of Canada. Then that commie symp FDR made an alliance with that Tory Churchill which true American "leftists", i.e. true to the principals of the founding fathers, opposed. Finally that Tory Thatcher laid a rose on that classical liberal economic thinker, Ronald Reagan's coffin, signifying true American liberals loyal to the principals of the founders have finally made peace with anti-American Tories and traitors who once sought to destroy the Union. My, how far we've come. RobS 16:25, 11 April 2007 (EDT)
  • ROFL!! A good turn of phrase there, Rob! And on point, Ed! Everything since the mid-thirties has been "spun" completely out of Whackyville, so as to render definitions useless. And that was my obtuse point. ;-) --~ TK MyTalk 16:31, 11 April 2007 (EDT)
    • OK, so Ed dissents, but still agrees it is only theory. Once we make the page move, then we can include whatever whacked-out theory you want, provided we have a source to say, for instance, the Prophet Mohammad was a Right-wing fundementalist, whereas his daughter Fatima, founder of Shi'a Islam, was a Left-wing reformer who challenged the existing order. RobS 19:04, 11 April 2007 (EDT)
  • -Faints- :p --~ TK MyTalk 19:34, 11 April 2007 (EDT)
From TK "*It is difficult to undo several decades of babble speak, wherein the leftists sought to remove any connection between the National Socialist Party and the themselves."
So it's your premise that Henry Ford and Henry Luce were "leftists?"
From TK "While people have not a care in the world saying Socialist's are leftist, the true fact is, the Nazi's were indeed Socialists. Aside from Hitler's wacky race ideas, their governing completely fits socialist norms."
Examples of this, please. And it wasn't just their racism that put them on the "right" -- it was their attitude towards art, culture, women, the military, etc.
Have you gotten around to actually READING something on the subject? William Shirer would be a good place to start.--PF Fox 12:30, 12 April 2007 (EDT)
PF, here's a good link Not Right, Not Left, But a Vital Center, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., New York Times Magazine, April 4, 1948. I suspect we're gonna use a lot of this material on Conservapedia. Excerpted,

"Left and Right, indeed, have become the characteristic political terms of our time. Without specific color or content, they define the polar ends of the political spectrum - a spectrum in which the word Center, fashionable a generation or two ago, is harder and harder to find. Yet the terms themselves have bred a new confusion. They were adequate to the political simplicities of the nineteenth century, when the Right meant those who wished to preserve the existing order and the Left meant those who wished to change it. But the twentieth century, here as elsewhere, introduced new ambiguities.

"The Fascists, for example, were not conservative in any very meaningful sense. They did not wish to preserve the existing order, or even to turn back the clock to some more stable century. They purposefully planned to transform the existing order into a new and all-absorbing authoritarianism, based upon the energies and frustrations of modern industrialism. The Fascists, in a meaningful sense, were revolutionaries. Yet their totalitarian ideal hardly fitted into the pattern of the Left, which had been the traditional home of greater freedoms and more generous aspirations. So, after boggling and uncertainty, they were assigned positions on the far Right.

Note the keyword Schlesinger uses, assigned, the same word I used in my defintion, a method used to assign views to persons and groups which they do not hold. [10] RobS 13:20, 12 April 2007 (EDT)

Page title

I see no reason for the move to "theory". A theory is an explanation. The present article provides no explanation, and hardly even any examples. So I moved it back. Maybe unprotecting it will help. --Ed Poor 12:32, 12 April 2007 (EDT)

The problem is, in absense of the disclaimer "theory", we are embracing a doctrine here, which is impossible to articulate. As a theory, the student is free to accept or reject the underlying premises of the theory without swallowing what really is an unstated or ever-changing doctrine. RobS 13:00, 12 April 2007 (EDT)
My point, and possibly Schlesinger's as well, is that the terms are not well-defined. I agree that the "model" is inarticulate. Reminds me of the climate models used to justify anthropogenic global warming theory. You can't test a model which is not based on a theory, so there's no way to falsify it, and it is therefore pseudoscience. --Ed Poor 13:27, 12 April 2007 (EDT)
It is a useful comparative device after the models have been developed; it is not a point of origin for building a doctine. In otherwords, it is useful to say British Tories & American Republicans share these things (fill in the blank) in common, therefore comparatively they may be called "right". To say the point of origin of "Leftist" means "challenging the traditional order", therefore al-Qeade and gay rights movement are leftist. This is patently absurd. RobS 14:21, 12 April 2007 (EDT)

You completely lost me, there, Rob. What model is there other than "right preserves" & "left seeks change"? --Ed Poor 14:24, 12 April 2007 (EDT)

There's no evidence for "left seeks change" to begin with. You yourself asked who is "who is right-wing in Russia today, free-market Thatcherites or unreformed Stalinists". Both are seeking change now after 70 years of stagnated Leftism. RobS 14:29, 12 April 2007 (EDT)


What is the point of having two sections, "Origins", and "History"; seems redundant, unless we plan to document each twist and turn in the road where a redfinition took place. " Criticisms of a one-dimensional view " is flawed and meaningless, cause nobody agrees on anything else to begin with. RobS 17:28, 12 April 2007 (EDT)

  • I agree, Rob. I think we are all thinking too detailed, and some articles, like this one, would be better presented in a more vague, less detailed way. Thoughts? --~ TK MyTalk 20:44, 12 April 2007 (EDT)
    • That's the hard part; I thought calling it a theory gave us the opportunity to speak in vaguaries and generalities, but we haven't got a concensus on that. So that means we gotta present detailed facts and keep misinformation out.
    • Repeatedly, how the problem works is this: a student becomes indoctrinated into the vague concept of "Leftism"; then whatever hackneyed idea can dressed up as "leftist" becomes kosher, and whatever needs to be demonized is simply called right-wing reactionary, and no real analysis of substance or content takes place. That why I say it should not be used as a "point of origin", but rather has only value comparatively, i.e. after detailed analysis of substance and content is completed. RobS 20:58, 12 April 2007 (EDT)


"Islam of Czarist Russia" (end of first paragraph under "definitions")should obviously be an "or" not "of", fix at your leisure... Human 14:22, 13 April 2007 (EDT)

Bakunin critiques Marx

Here's an interesting critique of Karl Marx by Mikhail Bakunin written in 1873.

  • Michael Bakunin, Statism and Anarchy, (1873), in Sam Dolgoff, Bakunin On Anarchy, (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1972), p. 330.
"..if the proletariat is to be the ruling class, over whom is it to rule? ...the peasant "rabble" who, as it is known, does not enjoy the sympathy of the Marxists who consider it to represent a lower level of culture, will probably be ruled by the factory proletariat of the cities. Or, if this problem is to be approached nationalistically, the Slavs will be placed in the same subordinate relationship to the victorious German proletariat in which the latter now stands to the German bourgeoisie."

This quote from Bakunin is not only prophetic about what National Socialism, (i.e. Nazism), (a) is, but what National Socialism (b) did. RobS 14:19, 15 April 2007 (EDT)

Political ideas

We are wasting a lot of time trying to pin down a rainbow. Give it up, gents!

Better to describe the views of various thinkers or parties. --Ed Poor 13:55, 16 April 2007 (EDT)

Labeling it a theory is the easiest route; elsewise we need good, solid, factual cites for any claim or generalization. RobS 14:01, 16 April 2007 (EDT)
  • Why not go with the first two paragraphs, and leave it? That is enough to explain the term. Concise is good. --~ TK MyTalk 19:37, 16 April 2007 (EDT)
  • The rest of the stuff is real good, and we're gonna need it sooner or later. And I have much, much more. But I still think the best alternative is to label it a theory, and that will eliminate a lot of contentious disputes. RobS 20:02, 16 April 2007 (EDT)
  • Okey-dokey by me. It will need to be protected, I am assuming, for a while, to avoid constant wholesale change? Do we have a template notice to warn against lots of changes, pending posting about it here? --~ TK MyTalk 20:24, 16 April 2007 (EDT)
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