Talk:Political spectrum

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The political spectrum is not an axis[edit]

Hi, I am new to wikepedia, so would like to say hi and ask for your assistance.

I am not new to the political spectrum and would like to help get this subject presented factually.

I noticed the first paragraph of the Political Spectrum article starts with an incorrect assertion. A spectrum is not an axis. Think about it. No spectrum is an axis. For example, the energy spectrum is not an axis. The thermal spectrum is not an axis. A spectrum is based simply on two opposing extremes; light and dark (with all shades of grey between), hot and cold, etc.

Any confusion or frustration you may be having describing the political spectrum comes from not having established the actual extremes of the spectrum. That's all. Once you do this, everything would fall into place.

Ask yourself this: What is the purpose of government in relation to the governed? There are two extreme answers to this: 1. Protect the rights and freedoms of all its citizens, or 2. Oppress all freewill, demand compliance and use the bulk of the population as slaves.

The dichotomy for the political spectrum is Freedom vs Enslavement. Freedom on the right, Enslavement on the left. Then, each political system of government,based on its relation to these two extremes, can be positioned on the spectrum, which would look like this: (right to left) republic, democracy, socialism, fascism and communism. There's your basic spectrum, with many shade of each system along the spectrum.

I would like to work with someone to create an whole new article on the political spectrum. I am not familiar with the editing format. But if I could work with someone who is fast and accurate we could get this done pretty fast. Newpoliticalspectrum (talk) 17:01, 15 July 2012 (UTC)

You will not be able to create such an article. The basis of a Wikipedia article is reliable, published sources, not just strenuous argumentation. rspεεr (talk) 18:34, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
Or rather, it could be created elsewhere but not here. —Tamfang (talk) 20:12, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
I notice that your criticism begins with an irrelevant observation: the article does not equate "spectrum" with "axis".
Certainly the contrast between Freedom and Enslavement (as you put it) is an important one in describing political systems. It is not the only one. Nor would everyone agree on the ranking of the systems you've mentioned along that axis.
A political spectrum is useful for classifying not only political systems but also policies within a system. For example, one may reasonably say that Apartheid and compulsory quota-based integration are both incompatible with liberty, but they are also opposed to each other, so where race relations are at issue any useful descriptive scheme must have (at least) one axis other than the one you mention. —Tamfang (talk) 20:12, 15 July 2012 (UTC)

Hi Tamfang, Thank you for responding to my talk. Forgive any offence you may have felt in my communication. I'm a bit passionate about things being understandable.

I not sure how you can say my criticism was irrelevant when the article was changed to correct the point I made. Perhaps it was updated before you looked. I would guess you can find the history of edit.

Here's the problem, until you get the political spectrum correctly stated it isn't useful for anything except confusing people. The existing article confuses. A description of a subject should not start by misdefining it or giving opinions about it. A person should be able to read it and say, "ah, that makes perfect sense. I understand that now." Once the simple, factual spectrum is stated You can get into all the complex angles of the spectrum you want to.

Look at it this way. Say you knew nothing about the spectrum. You've never really cared. Then one day you decided to look it up online. If you were to read this article, you would walk away confused. If that's your goal, its been achieved. But that's not your goal, right? The spectrum I wrote above is the basic political spectrum. From that, you can deduce all the possibilities you want. Newpoliticalspectrum (talk) 22:05, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes, I can click "View history". When was the article changed to respond to your criticism of July 15? All the changes that I can see since June 24 are quibbles of grammar and the like.
If you believe that the present article misdefines its subject, asserts opinion as fact, or creates confusion, please say how. Perhaps you object to the description of the conventional left-right spectrum as opposing communism with fascism; I agree that the opposition is false (an error that most of the two-axis spectra try to remedy), but it would also be false to deny that the error is conventional.
Is it your view that a spectrum ought to classify political systems first and opinions/positions/policies second if at all? Even so, your list is far from complete enough to "deduce all the possibilities you want". Where would I find feudalism or syndicalism, for example?
Your remarks could be read uncharitably as implying that a good article should, above all, avoid contradicting the prejudices of the typical reader. —Tamfang (talk) 00:07, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
Newpoliticalspectrum, the current lead calls the political spectrum a model that places political positions upon one or more axes. Does that address your original concerns? When you said that a spectrum is based simply on two opposing extremes, did you mean only two extremes? That would mean any spectrum model could only have one axis. I have seen many two axes models, and even a few three axis models. I hope that I never have to witness any attempt to explain a four axes model, a physicist would probably think nothing of it, my poor brain would probably shutdown. --Abel (talk) 01:09, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

Hi Abel, yes. A spectrum is a spectrum,not a double axis. As an example, look at the spectrum of energy. And within that spectrum are many smaller spectra, such as light, But they all fit on the same spectrum. The political system is no different if viewed against a dichotomy of Freedom and Enslavement. All governments would fit on this spectrum as they relate to the amount of freedom that their citizens have. At the extreme right, such as in a republic, the individuals rights and freedoms do not come from government decree, but as inalienable rights. Government's purpose is to protect and guarantee these rights. That does not mean that a republic is a static. Their could be many variations of a republic, again, based on the level of freedom guaranteed for all under the law. One of the problems the US had when its republic came into being was slavery. How could anyone say they achieved a real republic when so many were slaves? Eventually, through war, this was resolved somewhat. Communism, Fascism, Socialism, Democracy, Republic. These are the basic conditions, the most well known political systems. This scale could be filled in with more and more minute differences between systems. But each of the above from right to left, reduces the freedoms of the individuals within the society. This is all documented in the book The Political Spectrum: Freedom vs. Enslavement. Newpoliticalspectrum (talk) 03:13, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

You're free to use whatever definitions you like in your book. You're not making any progress in stating your case that Wikipedia shouldn't use definitions accepted by other scholars. The article already mentions scales similar to yours. If you want everything else removed, it ain't gonna happen. If you're not going to respond to any of my questions above, are we done here?
By the way, Spectrum (disambiguation) mentions several concepts that do not fit a linear metaphor. —Tamfang (talk) 06:44, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
People use phrases in ways that are not approved by dictionaries that eventually become part of the language forcing dictionaries to change over time? It is like language is an example of spontaneous order or something. Chaos I tell you, chaos. --Abel (talk) 18:49, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Language is a code used only by codebreakers (I forget who said that), so it's natural that we sometimes get it WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!, er, different. —Tamfang (talk) 19:15, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Hi Tamfang, perhaps we see language a little differently. I see it simply as a way of communicating ideas. I don't find it confusing at all. As you say, there are often various definitions behind a word. If one wishes to be understood, he can define the words he is using in a glossary. I love the ability of Wikipedia and ebooks to embed the definitions of uncommon words. It makes it easy to get your ideas understood.

On a subject like the political spectrum where there are so many opinions and theories, it means there is something wrong with the basic premise, so the subject just becomes a complicated mess. Tell me, do you really feel like you fully understand the fundamentals of the political spectrum? I concluded the fundamentals of the subject had either been purposefully obscured or never discovered.

Know one needs to giver their opinions or argue over the spectrum of light waves, because the fundamentals of that form of energy have been discovered.

The path I took was to discover the fundamentals of the political spectrum and I did. I'm not giving my opinion, really.

There is an exact sequence of decay of political systems. This is a very abbreviated presentation: A Republic decays into a democracy. A democracy decays into socialism, the Right then rises up with one last ditch effort to keep from going into communism and a socialism decays into a Fascism. And with that, communism incites discontent in the "workers" and overthrows the fascists, then it is likely to sink into anarchy, as you saw in Russia.

You can see this exact sequence occurred recently in Greece. Socialism failed and they voted in the Nazi party. People around the world were baffled by this. So was I, until I looked again at this scale and it made perfect sense. They knew their country was heading toward communism and they have put their faith (though misguided) into the Nazis to stop the slide into communism.

When the fundamentals of this spectrum are understood, what also happens is you can now see a path back toward freedom and how one could bring about a resurgence back up toward a republic and keep it there. That is also covered in the book. The spectrum becomes useful. Just as it is for any other spectrum. Newpoliticalspectrum (talk) 03:09, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

I am shocked – shocked! – that you didn't recognize the humor in our last comments.
I understand as much as I care to, both of your theory and of the subjects of the present article.
I don't agree that a diversity of theories means a flawed premise; it may mean a young science, or a competing set of equally valid standards. The political spectrum, whether yours or any of those in the article, is not a natural phenomenon like the electromagnetic spectrum; it is a metaphor used to impose a classification on a collection of phenomena. It is to be expected that numerous classificatory schemes, differing in emphasis and approach, compete for attention.
Your theory of history, however valid or compelling it may be, is not of interest here. This page is for matters related to the presentation or content of the corresponding article, which is a survey of attempts to describe the universe of political opinion using a small number of continuous variables. —Tamfang (talk) 04:55, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

Tamfang, you should re-read what you just wrote. It is the worse indictment of close mindedness one could make. I'm just curious why you are even responding to this. I would have to conclude you consider yourself the expert on opinions about the political spectrum. Or perhaps you have an ulterior motive for making the subject too complex to understand. Do you even want anyone to understand this subject? You obviously are biased to your own conclusions that everyone's opinion matters, except perhaps the research data in my book, which you haven't even read.

The Political spectrum as it relate to Freedom and Enslavement of citizens of a country is vitally important to making politics more then just the circle jerk you are turning it into. You obviously are not the right man for the job here. Is there anyone else who has an interest in getting this article so it is understandable and useful to people? Newpoliticalspectrum (talk) 21:12, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

That describes an academic article explaining your version of how the political spectrum should be understood. Wikipedia is looking for a consensus explanation of what the phrase "political spectrum" currently means. You probably want Political Science Quarterly or Journal of Politics. --Abel (talk) 21:49, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
At least 373 people have touched this article. If you have a specific suggestion about how its (existing) coverage of the individualism-totalitarianism dimension can be improved, perhaps one of them – perhaps even I – will implement it.
By the way, a search for the title of the book you mentioned didn't lead me to the flood of critical acclaim that one would naturally expect, given how it reveals a key truth that everyone else had missed, but I did find a video. The author begins by saying that, less than a year ago, he got curious about the phrase "political spectrum"; assumed (without saying why) that the black-gray-white metaphor must be correct; did a web search for diagrams, didn't understand what he found (handy tip: it usually helps to read the accompanying text), and concluded that the people who made the diagrams must all be confused. This does not impress me as the attitude of a diligent or broad-minded scholar.
Even if the book embodies the most important and original insight since Kepler's orbits, the field of the present article is broader than that of the book. What's narrow-minded about preferring to keep it that way? —Tamfang (talk) 23:14, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

You should actually read the book before you criticize it. What are you afraid of Tamfang? You remind me of the those from inquisition, protecting their sanctimonious belief while attacking other's who have the courage to actually look. I find it particularly ironic that Wikipedia was the first source I went to for data and rejected it as having any value at all. In a way, you could say your article inspired me to find look for real answers. So for that, I thank you. You need not bother responding to this, as I am not interested in any further communication, unless you have something useful to say. Perhaps someday we'll meet and have a good laugh over this. :-) I wish you the best. Newpoliticalspectrum (talk) 12:58, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Please forgive me for assuming that the book is as you describe it. —Tamfang (talk) 19:53, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Every so often I come back here and wonder whether that could have gone better. —Tamfang (talk) 00:29, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

do we need this paragraph?[edit]

So, there were two senators who disagreed on two issues; what's interesting about that? To make sense of the passage, one needs to know that in U.S. party alignments support for one was traditionally associated with opposition to the other. I think it's best not to assume that every reader is acquainted with U.S. politics.

Even so, the passage amounts to: "Jeff Sharlet is another person who has noted that the traditional single political axis is inadequate." How notable is that?

There may be a place for this in the article, but Political-spectrum-based forecasts ain't it. I assume good faith but I'm cutting it. —Tamfang (talk) 07:09, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

As a reader outside of the USA I find the paragraph uninformative. I can't tell if it is legitimate content phrased in a way that I can't make sense of, or not. If there is something to be said here it should be put in more clear and general terms rather than rely on an example that only adds to my confusion as to what the point being made actually is. DanielRigal (talk) 12:17, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
It would appear that Sharlet was so blindly wedded to the single-axis model that when he found a contradiction he panicked and picked the first exotic metaphor that came to mind, never mind that it makes no sense. —Tamfang (talk) 21:53, 8 August 2016 (UTC)

political spectrum chart[edit]

Political_spectrum#Other_proposed_dimensions includes File:Political_Spectrum2.png, but it's not clear why this particular chart merits inclusion in this article. What is it called? Why is it notable? I don't think it adds to the article, so I think it should be removed. Any thoughts, particularly on a more notable/informative replacement image? --Joel7687 (talk) 16:57, 17 November 2015 (UTC)

Multi-dimensional political space[edit]

Is there a name for just putting every issue on its own axis, in a many-dimensional space? (talk) 20:41, 4 September 2016 (UTC)

Yes, self, it's called "The spatial theory of voting". Issue voting#Models of issue voting (talk) 02:20, 7 September 2016 (UTC)