[Vision2020] Political/Economic Ideology Complexity:Christ Church, etc.

Tbertruss at aol.com Tbertruss at aol.com
Sat Mar 19 17:54:48 PST 2005

Kai, LFalen et. al.

LFalen wrote:

"When I took political Science fron Dr. Robert Hosack many moons ago, he 
described the varying shades of political views as a circle. going from the main 
stream to the left is toward more colectivism: to the right is less big 
government. At 180 degrees from main stream is anarchism. this is where left and 
right meet at the extreme of ether side. The main steam has been shifting towards 
the left, which is where some republicans are under your definition of left 

This analysis does not explore what "right wing" means with precision, nor 
does it recognize that the strong meaning of "left wing" or "right wing" is 
often not "anarchism."  Anarchism is a different theory of political and economic 
organization that I do not think should be described as just an extreme 
version of either "left" or "right."  An extreme version of Left Wing can mean total 
control of all economic and personal life by a government.  This is not 
"anarchism," and this simple example reveals that the outline you offered fails to 
account for the obvious possibilities in the political/economic organization 
of a society.

When we consider the extreme versions of "right wing" organization, there are 
times it appears that left and right do meet.  Consider this dictionary 
definition of "right wing:"

right wing

n : those who support political or social or economic conservatism; those who 
believe that things are better left unchanged [syn: right]

Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University  

The form of society advocated by Doug Wilson/Doug Jones and company is "right 
wing" according to the above definition.  Christ Church and their form of 
Presbyterian Trinitarianism advocated is an attempt to return to an earlier 
system of organizing society they feel is the truth.  They oppose many of the 
changes being promoted by the Enlightenment and Progressivism.  This is an almost 
classical form of "conservatism," yet there is a powerful element of 
"collectivism" (left wing?) in how they try to impose their order.  

Odd that Christ Church members who assert they are libertarians, such as Dale 
Courtney, are lending their support to extreme limitations on personal 
liberty, clearly an approach contradicting libertarian philosophy, with its staunch 
insistence on maximizing the liberty of the individual against externally 
imposed authority.  So while Christ Church and Wilson are "conservatives," the 
collectivist impositions they impose on the members of their church are similar 
to what "big government" might enforce, but on a much much smaller scale:    e. 
g. women are denied leadership roles and certain sexual orientations are 
banished: well, at least if they stand up in Christ Church and announce they are 
Gay, with no intention to change, they might be "exiled" from the church.

I think Wilson/Jones's Christ Church can fall under the description of an 
extreme "right wing" ideology, yet they display elements of what an extreme 'left 
wing" government might try to impose to limit its citizens freedoms.  They 
are therefore most definitely not libertarians.

To return to the notion that left and right meet in anarchism, it is clear 
that Christ Church, while being classically extreme "right wing" and 
"conservative," and also "collectivist" in their impositions on personal freedom, they 
are most definitely not "anarchists," again an example where LFalen's suggestion 
that extreme left and right meet in anarchism breaks down.

Given the complexity of possible and existent political/economic 
organization, a rethinking of the labels we employ for differing political/economic 
ideologies is useful.  Consider that modern corporate capitalism features global 
economic entities that have the power of "governments" to impact the lives of 
human beings.  Exxon/Mobil has more power globally than many of the nation states 
of our world today.  So the question is not just more or less "big 

We need to at least ask the question, do you want big government or big 
corporations or neither controlling your life?  It is possible to have a society 
with a weak government that features a small group of very powerful "capitalist 
free market" corporations controlling many of the dominant economic aspects of 
society, imposing their authority on individuals (third world tribal rights 
get trampled) do to their domination of economic options.  This situation is 
not traditionally left wing, not right wing in the sense of "conservatism" 
(modern corporations are actually agents of radical change and reorganization of 
society), not libertarian (modern large scale corporations impose a lot of 
control over individual freedoms), nor anarchist.  How about "multinational 
corporate capitalist collectivism?"  This label, with its blatant contradictions, is 
just an attempt to break away from the stereotypes of political/economic 
ideology that appear to limit the perceptions of what is occurring in fact in our 
current political/economic globalized world.

Given the complexities of political/economic organization perhaps we should 
abandon using "left" and "right" as though all systems fit somewhere inside the 
parameters of these terms.  We could use an x/y grid to outline four 
different political/economic orientations of varying mixtures and extremes, based on 
regulation of economic activity and personal freedom.  You can pick X or Y to 
represent either economic or personal freedom, but as X or Y goes positive 
there is more freedom, as they go negative there is less:

Libertarian: Minimum regulation of economics and personal liberty.  Here we 
see similarity                         
                 to anarchism in some respects, which might connect with 
LFalen's suggestion 
                 that right and left meet in anarchism.  But I think this is 
only true in a very 
                 specially defined understanding of "right" and "left."

Green Or Democratic Socialism:  Much more regulation of economic activity, 
                   maintaining maximum possible personal freedoms, though the 
                   response is that economic activity is a critical aspect of 
                   freedoms, therefore this approach has a fundamental flaw.

Republican:  Less regulation of economic activity, more regulation of 
personal lives and civil 
                   liberties, though the intersection of economic regulation 
and the restrictions  
                   on personal liberty impact the economic sphere 
dramatically.  For example,
                   legal and taxed cannabis would impact economics 
profoundly, yet        
                   government insistence on restricting what many believe to 
be an issue of 
                   personal liberty limits the legal economic options, in 
effect becoming a 
                   dramatic limitation on economic freedom.  Furthermore, 
large scale
                   economic entities in the marketplace can limit the success 
of small
                   scale economic opportunities, e. g. Wal-Mart, which leads 
us to 
                   more theoretical complexity when regulation of economics 
can induce more        
                   freedom for what some would consider positive forms of 
economic entities
                   that offer the individual more freedom of choice for work 
and lifestyle.
                   Government regulation of economics can limit too much 
control by gigantic                
                   economics powers, leading to more freedom in the 
marketplace for some
                   kinds of economic entities, an argument a Green party 
member might make.
Left Wing in the strong sense:  
                    Big government control of economic activity and personal
                    freedom:  the former Soviet Union or China, though China 
now is an odd
                    example of a mixture of Communist one party state control 
                    & unbridled capitalism, a good example to demonstrate
                    political complexity breaking stereotypes.

                                       !   Y: Economic Freedom
                 Modern           !
                 Republican      !    Libertarian
   X: Personal Freedom
---- +
                 Left Wing        !     Green
                 Extreme          !  

No doubt there are many theoretical problems with the above scheme for 
positioning political/economic ideology.  It is probably too simple.  We might need 
to add another axis to accommodate another variable, perhaps, in a 3-D space, 
or pick different variables for the x/y or x/y/z space.

And though we can find governments in our world that somewhat fit (reality 
never fits the procrustean bed of theoretical ideology in politics) left wing 
extreme (N. Korea), Green or Socialist Democracy (Canada), and Modern Republican 
(USA), what nation on earth truly represents Libertarian?

Ted Moffett
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