The US has never been so divided. As the armies of California march through Utah burning everything in their path, one cannot help but wonder how we got here. Wait, no, there is no civil war, just twitter arguments about muh Social Justiz. Carry on. But in that scenario, would Utah put up a good fight? Is the terrain suited for guerilla warfare? What is the difference between military equipment stationed in Utah versus California? Will parts of California join Utah against the rest? These are all questions.
The world is similarly split. What can we do about it (get drunk and say fuck it)? Can we understand it (nope… now where is that bottle of scotch)? Maybe if we have a political test or a sociological study (ice? What am I a savage? Where is my Glencairn glass). If we analyze what divides us maybe we can heal (right… good luck with that… ahhh peat smoke)
While annoying and right down aggravating, there is some fascination on how some otherwise competent people can so differ on the issues. It is amazing how they simply cease to use the reason and methods they do in other aspects of life, like a switch flips. If you take a group of good plumbers or programmers or whatever, they tend to be good in relatively the same way, they often reach similar conclusions on how to do their job. These same people can have wildly different views on politics. Some ore stupid leftists, some are ignorant right-wingers, some are evil libertarians.
Among the actions taken by the current crop of political philosophers (there’s a bunch with useful skills in the post-apocalypse) is to analyze these orientation by means of political tests or compasses which get more and more complex, but remain equally worthless beyond having something to share on Facebook on a slow night when the cats are nowhere to be seen.
The classic left-right divide is thoroughly meaningless by now – if it ever was truly meaningful – though it still causes most divisions and even the wise Pie often uses words like left-winger and right-winger. The first wave of more advanced compasses have the already classic two dimensions economic and social, as if there truly is a distinction between the two. People are trying to innovate and add even further dimensions, although what use this has is beyond me. What point can it have to say well this on economy, this on social issues, and this in nationalism and this on the concept of colonizing Jupiter etc. It may become a way to split into finer grained groups, but brings not much insight or not much of a solution for what ails the world.
For libertarians, it can be a little more straight forward. In the words of Bobby H:
“Political tags—such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal conservative, and so forth—are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbours than the other sort.”
The conclusion of this being, I don’t really care if someone who wants to impose his shit on me is doing it on the social or economic axis, often both. I would rather they just stop, please and thank you.
I can myself split people into various groups: those who understand the difference between what they want and what is possible, and those that do not. The difference between the thought that they want something and the thought that they somehow should get to force that something on others. The difference between seeing a problem and knowing a solution. The difference between what is seen and what is unseen when applying a certain policy. Believing you know better than others what is good for them and realizing you, in fact, do not know better. Utopians versus sane people. All these dimensions, in a way, divide us. But probably a lot of them are rendered moot by the Heinlein principle.
I will, as usual, randomly drop this quote right here cause it is one of my favorites.
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
— C. S. Lewis
So what is your favorite compass? What questions would you add? Maybe we should make the Glib political compass.
I will start with a rough draft of Pie’s political compass, which can be left at just one question or expanded, but overall I think it may be self-sufficient, like the proud libertarians.
Pie will leave you be. Will you leave Pie be?
- I don’t know
- Fuck off slaver
- That is literally hate speech
- As long as you don’t sin
- We live in a society you know, we’re all in this together
- But what about the children?
- I am Emily Ratajkowski (or equivalent) and I want to have sex with Pie
- STEVE SMITH LEAVE PIE BE AND BY THAT MEAN…
- Gravity is oppressive
- Other (you bunch of dirty otherers)
- All of the above.