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 to right of center. This spectrum is displayed visually in several formats, a circle, a half moon, four quadrants, 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. 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 2016 Presidential candidates? Take the quiz.

Liberals & Conservatives, Yesterday & Today

from The Gray Area:

A recent Wall Street Journal article, The Founding Liberal and the Founding Conservative, by Gordon S. Wood, offers insight into how Thomas Jefferson and John Adams bridged the political divide between them in later years of their lives. Mr. Wood appropriately states how this could be a lesson for us today on how we can reconcile the country's current political divide. Our history is full of political divides, one leading into war, others to divisive political maneuvering or more appropriately, to normal adult debate of the facts. Not sure where our current divide will lead. It could go anywhere from here. So, Mr. Wood's attempt to offer a model for reconciliation is certainly needed. While I support the effort at historical reconciliation models, liberals and conservatives of today are different than liberals and conservatives of our past. Elements of both ideologies permeate today's political divide. And, as the Founders ideologies were impacted by the Enlightenment, today's political divides take input from our founding principles, from our 200+ years of experience and from principles of other political ideologies, i.e., Marxism, that have been introduced over this period since our founding. How these impacts to our founding ideas have morphed over the years in our political parties are another lesson for today's politics. To highlight a few of these areas of liberal and conservative ideological change, below are several quotes taken from Mr. Wood's article with comment about their liberal/conservative position today. In [Jefferson's] attitude toward government, he didn’t resemble a modern liberal. He believed in minimal government, which was the progressive position at the time. Instead of the strong fiscal-military state that Alexander Hamilton and other Federalists wanted, Jefferson sought only “a wise and frugal government,” as he said in his inaugural address as president—one that kept its citizens from injuring one another but otherwise left them “free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement.” Mr. Jefferson espoused then, what is now a 21st century conservative position. In addition, the conservative position has added the "peace through strength" of Mr. Adams. Modern liberal philosophy now includes the Marxist view of a large government, providing equality, basic needs and services for all citizens. "Freedom to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement", however, is no longer the job of the citizen, but is the large government's responsibility. [Jefferson] believed literally in what he wrote in the Declaration of Independence, that all men are created equal (in his case, only all white men) The parenthetical comment here about 'only .. white men' is a tip of the hat to the politically correct culture of today. The true perspective on Jefferson and most of the Founding Fathers is that they took the lead in changing the slavery discussion while living within it. It is so easy to shout for change in a situation that has no impact on your life. It is a much more heroic effort to do this when the change you espouse is also a situation that is going to directly impact you. Setting up the Declaration of Independence and Constitution the way they did, purposely lead to the eventual abolition of slavery in America. Recognizing this, instead of attacking people 242 years ago for living the life of their times, is the more enlightened view of our Founders on this and all our issues today. Like other liberals, Jefferson was optimistic and confident of the future. This is the opposite of liberals today. An optimistic attitude represents the conservative position. America, [Jefferson] said, was “a chosen country” and “the world’s best hope.” Jefferson invented the idea of American exceptionalism. American Exceptionalism is a conservative principle today. Adams was anything but a Ronald Reagan -type conservative. He had a sour and cynical view of human nature. He was pessimistic about the future ... There was, he said, no special providence for the United States. This cynical, pessimistic view characterizes today's liberals. And, the statement that people in other countries probably think they are exceptional too, is a foundational principle of liberals today. Adams was the ultimate realist. Realism, reason and truth are all up for debate today. The first step to our reconciliation will be a joint acceptance of truth and reality over desire and ideology. In contrast to Jefferson, Adams didn’t disparage big government, but he did fear the unrestrained power of government. ... He thought that sooner or later America’s elections would become so partisan and so corrupt that we would have to turn to having officeholders serve for life. Eventually, Adams said, we would have to make the president and the Senate hereditary. Fortunately, neither party has publicly pushed this position. After Franklin Roosevelt (D) ignored George Washington's precedent of only two terms as President, Congress made it law. Conservatives today want term limits for all politicians. Liberals, want censure and in some cases criminal penalties for views that are in opposition to theirs. Mr. Wood sums up this history lesson well for us. Although James Madison could never understand what his closest friend Jefferson saw in Adams, Jefferson realized that Adams was a man of “rigorous honesty” and realistic judgment. Jefferson claimed that under Adams’s crusty surface, the irascible Yankee was as warm and amiable as a person could be. Jefferson tolerated better than most Adams’s facetious and teasing manner. They knew that their combination of idealism and realism had helped create the country, and that realization was enough to sustain the revival of their friendship. It is a good lesson for our constitutional government, in any age.

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