Line, Not Circle


From a reader:  

Lord High Scribe and my complete better, In this post your reader states “…the political spectrum is a circle”, and not a straight line.  I didn’t get that from your book at all.  In fact, I thought you argued against it. What I took away is that critics say the spectrum is a straight line with communism on one end and Fascism on the other, or when they notice the similarities between the two they call the spectrum a circle to get themselves out of the jam.  I thought your point was that the spectrum is a straight line with Fascism on the left, slotted somewhere between communism and socialism.  So who’s correct, me or your guerrilla marketer?
Me: Alas, I missed that bit, excited as I was that viral marketing continues. Still, the previous emailer has my view a bit wrong. I reject the circle thing that says “extremes meet.” Rather the above reader has it more correct, I think both fascism and communism are to the left of center. However, I can imagine coming up with a political spectrum that looks like two Ys touching at the base (I’m sure there’s a word for such an image. As you move  left along the line you approach the fork of the sideways Y. You could move “right” toward fascism or “left” toward Bolshevism. I’ve said a bunch of times now I have no real problem, as far as it goes, with the early Soviet descriptions of Fascism as “rightwing socialism.”  As for  the right end of the spectrum, you could go right toward more traditionalism or left toward more libertarianism. The point where the two forks meet might be called fusionism.  But I’m loath to get into the pictogram business with this stuff, because I know how they tend to start very wonky debates.


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