The Electric Tea Party Acid Test — by Zombie

Zombie, an anonymous San Francisco blogger and photographer whom I admire, recently wrote an article for Pajamas Media that echoes what I myself have been saying for years: the left/right, republican/democrat, conservative/liberal alternative is a false alternative, and those two ideologies are really just two sides of the same penny: the one espouses (nominal) economic freedom but advocates government intrusion in political issues (the Right), while the other espouses nominal political freedom but advocates complete government intrusion in economic affairs (the Left). This issue is not a marginal issue — and indeed becomes more and more relevant each passing day, as this country creeps closer to outright revolution.

Zombie’s article is worth reading in full, but if you don’t have the time or the inclination, please take a long look at his graph, which he calls the real political spectrum: collectivism-versus-individualism — or, in my words, freedom-versus-statism. It’s not quite the graph I would have made, but it’s pretty good; and if freedom is ever to win the day, it is this distinction that must be understood:

(Note: to see Zombie’s explanation for his categories, click here.)

26 Comments

  • Redomondo

    October 23, 2010

    Very interesting

    Walter Block has a very good lecture on this exact subject from 2006.

    I’ll post the link tomorrow.

    I have said before, libertarians are hippies with guns.

    But hippies can be fairly obnoxious as well, and wassup with those communes???

    The other problem I find with hippies, is that when they choose to fit themselves back into society, they often adopt the most totalitarian of perspectives.
    They vote for the socialist parties, are quite PC, and generally call for statist solutions to problems.
    That is the hippies that got bank jobs after Woodstock that is.
    I went up into a pot smoking parlor on Yonge street here in Toronto, and what did I see? A “Ron Paul Revolution” poster – and when I showed him my mises book, the owner was totally down. 

    And I fully agree with Ray – left/right has very little leaning any more – I would actually like to see a political party that was interested in shrinking the size of government.

    That is the real problem – the oversized bureaucracy that has arisen in our western nations – regardless of the political party that is in power, the bureaucracy remains, and it has it’s own agenda – expansion.

    The inexorable growth of government as they say.

  • Marshep

    October 24, 2010

    There is not a single year in my entire lifetime in which the government did not grow. Too bad I can’t say that about my income. Since the government started it’s recent explosive growth, my income (and its buying power) have shrunk. I bet if we shrink government, my income will increase.

    Oh, that’s right, we have crises and moral obligations to redistribute income, the government can’t afford for me to keep what I earn, so they need to steal my income, devalue the dollar to destroy my savings, meddle in the housing industry so they destroy my equity, and raise my taxes, which obviously they think I can afford, the fucking assholes, so they can invent more crises and spend more and print more and impose more. But, Nick loves all that government, so I guess that makes it ok.

    The Tea Party seems fairly well placed in that chart to me. Ray?

    Will the revolution curtail “the inexorable growth of government”? Will it result in anarchy?

  • David, UK

    October 24, 2010

    I’d have put the UN up there with the Maoists and Stalinists. Still, at least the EU is represented up there. I would also have put the Hippies next to the Bums (or maybe alongside the Greens) rather than down with the Libertarians. It’s all a bit messy (as is the reality) – which makes it closer to the truth than the neat little Left/Right paradigm.

  • Marshep

    October 24, 2010

    Hi Dave. About “The EU”, which is closer to Stalin/Mao than “FDR/Obama Democrats”. Recent trends in France and UK to cut government suggest these two could be reversed. What do you think?
    Also, “Moderate Democrats” vote for Pelosi and trillions in debt, so I wonder if it is imaginary, maybe better called “Unicorns”.
    I agree the spectrum is better than left/right, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this done before.

  • Ray

    October 24, 2010

    Yes, Zombie gives the tea party pretty high placement on his spectrum — higher than I would, just as he does with hippies and hobos.

    Revolutions can go either way. It depends on the philosophical ideology underlying them, and how systematized and clearly codified that ideology is. Right now, the tea party is a haphazard farrago with way to much religion in it and not enough philosophy. Anarchy, in the sense I think you mean it, Marshep, isn’t possible for any length of time, in my opinion. It will inevitably be replaced by the strongest faction to seize control, which faction will then lay down its own version of law and order.

  • Ray

    October 24, 2010

    Thank you for your comment, David UK. I liked it.

    And thank you for dropping by.

  • Anonymous

    October 24, 2010

    SEASON’S GREETINGS
    T’was the night before elections
    And all through the town
    Tempers were flaring
    Emotions all up and down

    I, in my bathrobe
    With a cat in my lap
    Had cut off the TV
    tired of political clap-trap

    When all of a sudden
    There arose such a noise
    I peered out my window
    Saw Obama and his boys

    They had come for my wallet
    They wanted my pay
    To give to the others
    Who had not worked a day!

    He snatched up my money
    And quick as a wink
    Jumped back on his bandwagon
    As I gagged from the stink

    He then rallied his henchmen
    Who were pulling his cart
    I could tell they were out
    To tear my country apart!

    ‘On Fannie, on Freddie,
    On Biden and Ayers!
    On Acorn, On Pelosi’
    He screamed at the pairs!
    They took off for his cause
    And as they flew out of sight
    I heard him laugh at the nation
    Who wouldn’t stand up and fight!

    So I leave you to think
    On this one final note-
    IF YOU DON’T WANT SOCIALISM
    GET OUT AND VOTE !!!!

  • Redomondo

    October 25, 2010

    Socialism and Fascism: A Political-Economic Spectrum Analysis

    Great lecture by Block from the Mises institue.

    I know Ray is a fan of Reisman, so here is a lecture from the same series in 2005.
    Why Nazism Was Socialism and Why Socialism is Totalitarian

    Both very worth watching for the full half hour.

  • EJ

    October 25, 2010

    We make models all the time.

    Mathematical. Digital. Scale. Political.

    Left, Right or the middle. The traditional politics use a one dimensional
    number line. The political establishment (including the media) forces you to
    choose left, right or the middle. and what a muddled middle it is.

    Ban abortion, right vs. abortion on demand, left. We are left to endlessly
    fighting about trimesters and stem cells. An endless debate in my opinion. One
    of a myriad of social issues forever unsolved.

    Corporations are bad and rich people are greedy so share the wealth with us,
    the workers, left vs. What’s mine is mine, poor people are greed so go get your
    own right. One of a myriad of economic issues forever unsolved.

    It is fashionable among the politically astute among us to claim herself to be
    economically conservative and socially liberal. Or a social and economic
    liberal, or a conservative socially and economically. Why might we try to
    differentiate here?

    Yet we continue to squabble about what the middle should be. Our politicians
    skate us into a triple axle spin. We are told that a representative has to have
    some politically defined perfect life. If you have ever spanked your kid, paid
    cash to get your lawn mowed, didn’t file a form, screamed in public, had an
    affair,

    I think we need more pointed debates.

    If you wind up in jail and then court, what one document do you want in your
    posession?

    Is there a better model? Can we define the middle a bit better?

    Yes!

    I propose left right be economical. Up down be social. Thus north becomes freedom for both economic and social issues. South becomes govt. control of both econimic and social outcomes.

    East (right) is economic freedom and west (left) us government control.

    I am going north!
    EJ

  • EJ

    October 25, 2010

    Bottom Line. Instead of a one dimensional model, lets evove to a two dimensional model.

  • EJ

    October 25, 2010

    And then to a 3D model with even more freedom.

  • EJ

    October 25, 2010

    This model is not new. It does need to be discussed.

  • Redomondo

    October 25, 2010

    Ray says

    Anarchy, in the sense I think you mean it, Marshep, isn’t possible for any length of time, in my opinion. It will inevitably be replaced by the strongest faction to seize control, which faction will then lay down its own version of law and order.

    So Ray, as I understand it, the nations of the world are currently in a state of anarchy with regards each other.

    does this mean you are in favour of a word government? a “United Nations” an “International criminal Court”

    or how about an International Court for the Environemnt?

    If anarchy is as bad as you claim.

  • Ray

    October 26, 2010

    Redmond wrote: > So Ray, as I understand it, the nations of the world are currently in a state of anarchy with regards each other.

    No. Anarchy is a society without an organized government.

  • Redomondo

    October 26, 2010

    But there is currently no organised world government

    a theory that regards the absence of all direct or coercive government as a political ideal and that proposes the cooperative and voluntary association of individuals and groups as the principal mode of organized society.

    All of these binding treaties that are enforced by governments begin to resemble a functioning world government of sorts – would you agree with that?
    Interpol,world criminal court, extradition treaties, UN Peacekeepers – etc etc.
    So is there currently a Minarchist World Government?

  • Ray

    October 26, 2010

    “So is there currently a Minarchist World Government?”

    No. There’s an absolutely massive and staggering bureaucratic apparatus in place.

  • anonymous

    October 26, 2010

    As Wichita Falls, so falls Wichita Falls.

  • Redomondo

    October 26, 2010

    No. There’s an absolutely massive and staggering bureaucratic apparatus in place.

    So, is world government here? A New World Order if you will?

    During the 20th century, many statesmen, such as Woodrow Wilson and Winston Churchill, used the term “new world order” to refer to a new period of history evidencing a dramatic change in world political thought and the balance of power after World War I and World War II. They all saw these periods as opportunities to implement idealistic proposals for global governance only in the sense of new collective efforts to address worldwide problems that go beyond the capacity of individual nation-states to solve, while always respecting the right of nations to self-determination. These proposals led to the creation of international organizations, such as the United Nations and NATO, and international regimes, such as the Bretton Woods system and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which were calculated both to maintain a balance of power as well as regularize cooperation between nations, in order to achieve a peaceful phase of capitalism. These creations in particular and liberal internationalism in general, however, would always be criticized and opposed by the American Old Right on isolationist grounds and by the New Right on benevolent imperialist grounds.

    In the aftermath of the two World Wars, progressives welcomed these new international organizations and regimes but argued they suffered from a democratic deficit and therefore were inadequate to not only prevent another global war but also foster global justice. Thus, activists around the globe formed a world federalist movement hoping in vain to create a “real” new world order. In the 1940s, British writer and futurist H. G. Wells would go further than progressives by appropriating and redefining the term “new world order” as a synonym for the establishment of a scientifically-coordinated world state and socialist economy.

    What say you?

    I am assuming you are not a member of the John Birch Society. Is this correct?

  • Ray

    October 27, 2010

    Nations are still obviously sovereign.

    I belong to no fraternity, club, group, gang, church, committee, guild, or grange. And as you will no doubt recall, I’ve addressed the John Birch Society — and your question — before, on my defunctive website, among other places.

  • Redomondo

    October 27, 2010

    Ray says ->

    Nations are still obviously sovereign.

    How about the United States – is Colorado Sovereign?

  • Ray

    October 27, 2010

    The Federal government has for well over 100 years now ultimate power over the states, though many state Constitutions DO express sovereignty.

    Which of course has little to do with a one-world government.

  • Jungle Orchid

    November 20, 2010

    wow. this is a daring but very unthoughtful attempt of putting all of us into boxes. being a libertarian of kinds i refuse to be put into a box. that tea party is coming up all the time and, since we are putting people in boxes here anyway, let’s add a third dimension to this flat representation: knowledge versus ignorance. and where do you think most of the tea party-ists will end up?

  • Micky

    December 10, 2010

    jungle…

    IMO, the Tea Party will eventually be assimilated by the right we see now

  • nvren

    September 13, 2011

    commies should be at lower right, facists at upper right… but maoists don’t count, the orientals have different idealogy

  • Ray

    September 13, 2011

    Thank you for your comment, nvren, but I beg to differ (about the orientals): Mao Zedong was much influenced by Lenin, the Russian Revolution, and Karl Marx.

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