It started like this (with a comment from a guy called Mark):
You are right in claiming that communism and fascism have much in common. Sibling rivalry is an excellent description. I find it more accurate to think of political ideologies located somewhere on a circle rather than a straight line, with moderates at the top and totalitarianism (fascism and communism) at the bottom. Fascism and communism arrive at the almost the same place but from different directions.Then this guy (called Richard) wrote:
Mark said: "I find it more accurate to think of political ideologies located somewhere on a circle rather than a straight line, with moderates at the top and totalitarianism (fascism and communism) at the bottom. Fascism and communism arrive at the almost the same place but from different directions." Thanks, Mark - this is precisely the currently accepted model. As an Economics Professor of mine once said, find an exception to a model (even one), and your model fails; start again. So, try and fit Anarchy in the model you have just described. . .Then a fella' called Mike responded to that:
Andrew - Richard M seeks to demolish Mark's concept of political ideologies ranging in a circular, or clocklike fashion, whereby the otherwise 'opposites' of fascism and communism are joined by their common means of implementation - totalitarianism. I agree with Mark, and have often seen the ideological spectrum set out in just the manner he describes, rather than in a linear form ranging from the right to left. Richard M, in seeking to disprove Mark's concept, introduces anarchy into the equation, and challenges Mark to place anarchy into his circular spectrum.Then this appeared (from someone called Werner - I’m still scratching my head):
This is where Richard M is in error. Mark was writing of a circular arrangement of ideologies - and anarchism is NOT an ideology, but merely the state which exists in the ABSENCE of an ideology, and, consequently has no place amongst a range of ideologies.
Then the Richard guy responded:
Andrew, it was disappointing to see you dismiss John Kriesfeld's comments about global theories of political ideologies so flippantly. There is much that you could take from this theory and incorporate into your own writings, given they draw from, and interact with, socio-political thought and policy in Victoria and Australia so heavily. With ideologies fanning between poles of the global (and spherical) political spectrum and your writings spanning the arcs between the traditional "right" and "left" there is an obvious convergence that you must better harness if you are to take your ideas and theories and make them truly palatable to the whole community. However, with convergence occurring in a curved environment it is much harder to plot than if it occurred on a plane.
One last word of advice, Andrew. As John was trying to warn you (if only you would see...) beware the Moon of Anarchy, with its power to warp the political fabric of the global ideological environment. You must carefully consider the stage of the Anarchy tide with each utterance and success in this area would certainly allow wider acceptance of your transcendental views.
Andrew replies: Werner, let me respond to those parts of your post I understand. First, it is impossible to make any political or ideological idea, let alone my own, "palatable to the whole community", and you'd have to be megalomaniacal to even attempt it. Second, there is no arc between Left and Right - the extremes of both tend to huddle together at the collectivist end of a line that has anarchy at the other. I'm somewhere in the middle, moderate as always, trying to balance the claims of individuality and freedom with the ballast of the collective.
Mike (17/11), I wasn't trying to 'demolish' Mark's concept, nor was I being facetious when I thanked him. I was grateful he'd raised it; it's a conversation I rather enjoy. You said: 'I agree with Mark, and have often seen the ideological spectrum set out in just the manner he describes.' I reply: indeed you have, and it's wrong. A spectrum, by definition, is a presentation of a range of component parts. You said: 'Mark was writing of a circular arrangement of ideologies'. I reply: sure, and it does not represent the full range of those parts. You said: '. . .anarchism is NOT an ideology.' My reply: try telling that to an Anarchist. An ideology is a principle, Mike, a thought, belief or creed. One who actually believes in having little government (for example) as the theme central to their 'polity' holds these by definition. This is an ideology.Then the Mike guy shoots back:
I think you miss my point, though. Look at it this way: just how well is the ideological spectrum (as such) served by the `circular? model? For example, where does someone who believes in even greater laissez faire/minarchism (for example) than the currently accepted moderate 'midpoint' suggests (that vague'mix' of moderate 'left/right' that the 'circular' model has us currently inhabiting; the opposite 'extreme' to the meeting of Communism/Nazism) actually fit? They don't. The 'circular' model fails.
To Richard M - I do get your point, but disagree with it still. You said that the circular diagram of political philosophies fails because Anarchism cannot be placed in it. OK, where would you place Anarchism in a linear scale ranging from right to left, then? To the left of the Left? Or to the right of the Right? In the middle somewhere? Doesn't fit, does it? Not on a linear scale nor a circular one. You were off target, even in your own terms, in introducing Anarchy as an essential component in a scale of political philosophies, when anarchy is not a political philosophy, but the state which results from the practical absence of any political philosophy.Then the last word from the Richard character that Mike is finding so annoying:
What the extremes of Left and Right share resides in their common mode of implementation - Totalitarianism. Totalitarianism, like Anarchy, is not a political philosophy, but refers to government by oppression. I, pardon the pun, am not going to talk this round in circles any more. The error of your comment is obvious enough. Have the last word if you wish. Mike Hodgson.
Andrew replies: I think if you think of the scale going from total control of the individual to not the slightest, even by the claims of family, tradition or morality, you end up with a scale that goes from totalitarianism of both the Left and Right, to perfect anarchy. The trick is to find exactly where in the middle is best.
'Into the valley of death. . .' Dear Mike, Andrew has pretty much nailed it, but I will answer your question (at grave risk of boring Andrew senseless, I fear). 'Where would I place Anarchism in a linear scale ranging from right to left, then?' First, we need to accept that a part of the 'circular' paradigm is quite correct: Nazism and Communism, and their collectivist totalitarianism, are actually expressions of the same thing. In that much, the 'model' is indeed right (forgive the pun). Then, however, we need to entertain the difficult notion that Nazism was never an ultimate expression of the 'right' (so-called), as is the accepted premise. I mentioned laissez faire and minarchism quite deliberately, as examples of political philosophies that entertain what the further extremes of the 'right' are actually all about, and represent an antithesis to what the Nazis (and Communists) were all about.Here's the really fun bit, though. Andrew Bolt then came out with a column on Friday (25/11): Fascism puts Left foot forward, where he said (among other good stuff) this:
If we must use the left/right analogy, then let's: Nazism was and is, albeit an extreme, expression of the 'left' (along with the various other '`leftist' political philosophies that, in brief, pursue the collective and its control). The ultimate expression of the 'right' is its opposite (call that what you will, though Anarchism does me fine). Voila - working model. . .
Fascism is in fact an ideology of the Left, as Hitler (the Nazi Socialist) and Mussolini (the former editor of Italy's official Socialist newspaper Avanti) showed.Apart from the fun that will be the usual crew of seething Leftist nutjobs who inhabit Bolt’s forum going stark raving bananas over this one, I’m expecting a really interesting forum response. Keep an eye on it.
Should be entertaining. . .