Political Spectrum
As Wikipedia defines it, "a political spectrum is a way of modeling different political positions by placing them upon one or more geometric axes symbolizing independent political dimensions". The range of political positions in this country are universally understood to be encompassed by a spectrum from left of center to right of center. In the USA we typically consider the spectrum running left to right with Socialists, Democrats, Libertarians Republicans, and Conservatives. This spectrum is displayed visually in several formats, a circle, a half moon, four quadrants, compass chart, and two others we will explain below, a square box, and a straight line, etc. The most usual and easiest to handle is the straight line. (This particular reference is just a sample. The plotting of particular people and beliefs is inaccurate.) Center being the true north of rational views on any issue. Left of center representing the more liberal or free thinking, unrestrained viewpoints. The right of center representing more conservative, traditional and responsible viewpoints. The square box is based on the Nolan Chart created by libertarian David Nolan. There are variants of this model such as the Pournelle chart developed by Jerry Pournelle in 1963, a two dimensional box chart but with different axis. Another variant is the "world's smallest political quiz" which rotates the Nolan chart to a diamond shape. The ADVOCATES for self government administers this quiz to help anyone quickly determine where they reside on the political spectrum. Take the "world's smallest political quiz" to find out where your views reside on the spectrum. Another quiz is available from Dr. Tim Groseclose, a 40-question quiz that allows you to calculate your "Political Quotient". At the end of the quiz, Dr. Groseclose also lists politicians who have PQs similar to yours. Or, take the "TIME Magazine quiz" to predict your political perspective. In the 3 columns below you will find updated stories on the political views (spectrum) of candidates and issues as they apply to us today. How do your beliefs align with the poliical debates of today? Take the quiz.

America’s Cold Civil War

12/6/18
by Charles R. Kesler,
from Imprimus,
9/27/18:

Six years ago I wrote a book about Barack Obama in which I predicted that modern American liberalism, under pressures both fiscal and philosophical, would either go out of business or be forced to radicalize. If it chose the latter, I predicted, it could radicalize along two lines: towards socialism or towards an increasingly post-modern form of leadership. Today it is doing both.

As we saw in Bernie Sanders’ campaign, the youngest generation of liberals is embracing socialism openly—something that would have been unheard of during the Cold War. At the same time, identity politics is on the ascendant, with its quasi-Nietzschean faith in race, sex, and power as the keys to being and meaning. In the #MeToo movement, for example—as we saw recently in Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation battle—the credo is, “Believe the woman.” In other words, truth will emerge not from an adversarial process weighing evidence and testimony before the bar of reason, but from yielding to the will of the more politically correct. “Her truth” is stronger than any objective or disinterested truth.

In the Claremont Review of Books, we have described our current political scene as a cold civil war. A cold civil war is better than a hot civil war, but it is not a good situation for a country to be in. Underlying our cold civil war is the fact that America is torn increasingly between two rival constitutions, two cultures, two ways of life.

I fear America may be leaving the world of normal politics and entering the dangerous world of regime politics—a politics in which our political loyalties diverge more and more, as they did in the 1850s, between two contrary visions of the country.

One vision is based on the original Constitution as amended.

The other vision is based on what Progressives and liberals, for 100 years now, have called “the living Constitution.” This term implies that the original Constitution is dead—or at least on life support—and that in order to remain relevant to our national life, the original Constitution must be infused with new meaning and new ends and therefore with new duties, rights, and powers.

If one thinks about how America’s cold civil war could be resolved, there seem to be only five possibilities. One would be to change the political subject. ... if some jarring event intervenes—a major war or a huge natural calamity—it might reset our politics.

A second possibility, if we can’t change the subject, is that we could change our minds. Only two presidents in the twentieth century were able to effect enduring changes in American public opinion and voting patterns—Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan.

So if we won’t change our minds, and if we can’t change the subject, we are left with only three other ways out of the cold civil war. The happiest of the three would be a vastly reinvigorated federalism. If we had a re-flowering of federalism, some of the differences between blue states and red states could be handled discreetly by the states themselves. The most disruptive issues could be denationalized.

That leaves two possibilities.

One, alas, is secession, which is a danger to any federal system—something about which James Madison wrote at great length in The Federalist Papers. And George Washington’s admonitions to preserve the Union, I think, still miraculously somehow linger in our ears.

So secession would be extremely difficult for many reasons, not the least of which is that it could lead, as we Americans know from experience, to the fifth and worst possibility: hot civil war. Under present circumstances, the American constitutional future seems to be approaching some kind of crisis—a crisis of the two Constitutions. Let us pray that we and our countrymen will find a way to reason together and to compromise, allowing us to avoid the worst of these dire scenarios—that we will find, that is, the better angels of our nature.

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