I wrote a super non-timely blog post on political alignments: (link:… – somehow I feel bad writing about politics, but no current events are mentioned!

@ianbicking Oooh, heresy!

If you are lucky, you are going to be scolded for being a vile centrist. If you aren't, well, I will pray for you. 🙃

(Have you read "The Righteous Mind"?)

@ianbicking another common example: conservatives generally use "elites" to mean "people with education and/or culture", whereas liberals use the same word to mean "people with money and/or power". Surprising how many people (including people who supposedly understand these things for a living) are confused by this.

@ianbicking I think your theory collapses when you account for all the different political leanings out there:
- socialism (oppressor vs. oppressed)
- fascism/alt-right (glory vs. weakness?)
- left-libertarianism (freedom vs. coercion but also oppressor vs. oppressed)
- neoliberalism (efficiency vs. inefficiency)

@ianbicking Also, how do you define "progress"? Libertarians would define progress as "more liberty," communists would define progress as "more equality," neolibs would define progress as "higher GDP," etc.

@jwinnie Well this part is easy! This isn't about a rational value system, this is about the emotional cues that resonate.

What is progress? It matters a lot to me, because if you convince me that something is progress then I'll get excited about it.

And maybe that's something important: we're open to arguments about how we should apply our values. But if (for instance) you try to convince me that a particular group is the oppressed or the oppressor, I can agree and yet am unmoved.

@jwinnie Is there anything wrong with having a lot of them? Except that you need some critical mass that is able to construct and reinforce these ideas among themselves.

I suspect people have a dominant perspective, and the secondary perspective is much much weaker. So you only get as many dichotomies as there are distinct intellectual and cultural political groups.

@ianbicking So you think all of these ideas are subdivisions of "liberal," "conservative," "libertarian," and "technocratic"?

@jwinnie Not at all – the point is that there's no universal spectrum that applies to all these political identities. If you can convince enough people of a value system you can create a new political identity from scratch.

The outcomes of that value system might align with another value system. For instance, I think technocratic and liberal are closely aligned, with "progressive" maybe being the loose term to encompass both. But the reasons and emotional resonances are still distinct.

@ianbicking I understand your point now. This is a very interesting idea.

But I would change the terminology a bit. To me, "Liberal" is "progress vs. superstition" and "Leftist" is "oppressor vs. oppressed."

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