You don’t know where you are on the political spectrum
The people who raise us like children and remember our first moments are also the ones who first influence our beliefs. As a child, I assumed my parents were always right.
Were your parents big conservatives? Were they compassionate liberals? What if I said anyway, they were wrong.
Just because the beliefs they had and taught you were wrong. This is because our parents’ generation sees political ideology as a ladder, right and left.
This way of thinking is compelling to have a reasonable political discussion because seeing politics simply through the left and right simplifies the problems. When they watch mainstream cable media, no matter which side of the aisle they serve, they spoon-feed viewers a story that confirms their biases. If the facts don’t support the bias, then they will turn it around.
Every individual’s political ideology exists on a spectrum, and it’s hard to understand this when you’ve been conditioned to believe that there are only two sides to every problem. To assess where your own biases lie, you must first understand the political compass.
As illustrated, the political compass is an XY axis that attempts to better map a person’s values. Most of the time when people talk about right and left, they are pushing the whole political spectrum onto the X line. What the line actually measures is a person’s economic position, two extremes of this line being the very left-wing people who see society as a collective, and the right-wing people who want an unregulated absolute free market.
The Y line, or the social scale, is perhaps the most important aspect of the spectrum, but it is also the one that is less talked about. It measures the balance between libertarian politics below and authoritarian above. The two extremes are defined as anarchism and fascism. We all fall somewhere between these extremes with our own beliefs and values.
It is a test that everyone should take. You not only need to find where you stand on the political compass, but you also need to go to isidewith.com and find out what your views look like in relation to upcoming candidates. None of these tests are perfect, but together they give you a more complete perspective on where you are.
The most important thing to understand about this specter is that no matter how far left or right a leader is, either one can be a fascist. It doesn’t matter how far you are left or right. If you believe in authoritarianism, you could support or become a fascist.
Americans generally don’t understand this, and we confuse authoritarianism with the radical left, especially in a conservative state like Idaho. Although many conservatives call “the media” a bias on the left, I would say they are much more biased against the ideas of the radical left.
If you call yourself conservative, listen to me before you stop reading. Compared to other developed countries, the United States is a country on the right. We are much more religious than the rest of Europe and even our most radical left politicians are said to be moderates in other developed countries. People call Bernie Sanders a communist, when in reality he is about as moderate as a socialist can be.
But I understand where this opinion comes from. I once believed the Democrats were secret Communists and wanted to deprive us of our American way of life. Now I shake my heads at people who confuse Marxism with authoritarian communism.
The reality is that Karl Marx actually believed the opposite. He believed in a classless, stateless company. Marx would have rolled in his grave if he had seen where Vladimir Lenin and then Joseph Stalin took the Communist dream.
I spent middle and high school listening to conservative talk radio, where I was exposed to conspiracy theories about how President Obama planned to take our freedom, like taking our guns or our religious freedom. I don’t remember hosts like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity ever specifically calling him a Communist, but they didn’t have to. They fed me half-truths, accused him of being a socialist, and my brain took the leap. It was their goal.
In the interest of being honest, I have included my own political compass test results.
If you compare my position to that of prominent politicians, I sound incredibly radical. I might be radical, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I refuse to commit to a specific political ideology so early in my life because I know my views will evolve and change.
If you are attached to either part of the American duopoly, then I want you to stop and ask yourself: is there any chance that I am wrong? Could I view the issues for a limited point of view? Would I have the same values if I looked at the media apart from my personal prejudices?
If more people learned to ask these questions, maybe we could see two bad choices on the outside.