Replacing the Ideological Spectrum

From:,  by Bruce Walker,  on Nov 1, 2017

Most of the problems conservatives and other normal people have in understanding the language of modern politics comes from the idea that political beliefs can be defined by an ideological spectrum, a geometrical model that requires all conservatives as somehow clumped together in a narrow region of a flat two-dimensional line.

This means that the atheistic followers of Ayn Rand and devout Baptists hold the same opinions and that Hassidic Jews and religiously serious Catholics have the same catechism and that libertarians and pro-life folks have the same values.  Such analysis is totalitarian because it ignores the reality that anti-totalitarians, conservatives, are all one, just as totalitarians are all one.

Anti-totalitarians do not crowd together along some notional section of an imaginary ideological spectrum.  Rather, they live largely apolitical lives.  Any attempt to confine these people into some place along the dull and meaningless “ideological spectrum” is surreal nonsense, except for those persuaded into accepting this geometrical farce.

We find the same thing in the language used to describe politics – language invented by totalitarians as enemies of liberty.  So “liberal,” meaning freedom, is used by those who oppose liberty, and “progressive” is used by those wedded to the status quo, and “radical” is used by those who are, in fact, reactionary.  Words like “capitalism,” created by Marxists, mean nothing at all.

The farcical “ideological spectrum” is more dangerous than those Orwellian mutilations of language because this linear description of politics has actually been adopted as real by so many anti-totalitarians.  As a consequence, many of these foes of Marxists, Nazis, and other flavors of totalitarianism lack the cognitive tools to resist the rhetoric of the enemies of decency, honesty, freedom, and hope.

In fact, there is no reason at all to believe that ideology can be confined to a narrow line or can be defined by geometrical models.  The “ideological spectrum” is the malignant invention of totalitarians.  Go back to the early days of the American Republic, and this “ideological spectrum” means something only if one accepts the silly arguments of Marxists, and once one accepts Marxist ways of thinking, the power to resist them is dramatically reduced.

But if someone must have geometry to describe ideology, then there is a superior way to do it.  Totalitarians are crowded together by infinite compression into a black hole, a place from which there is no hope of escape.  In that black hole are Marxists, Nazis, and all the other allies against individuality and morality who have so easily changed colors over the years.  This explains why Marxists in and out of Germany so eagerly supported Nazism in the eight years from 1933 to 1941 and why Nazis were so genuinely welcomed into prominent roles in the Warsaw Pact nations after 1945.  It also explains why feminists are so reluctant to condemn radical Islam, another incarnation of totalitarianism, and why these same feminists are so vehement in their condemnation of Christianity, the best ally of women in human history.

I have called all these totalitarians simply “Sinisterists,” all members of 1984‘s Inner Party and all hopelessly addicted to the incoherent prattling of whatever that Inner Party proposes as “history” and “truth” on any particular morning.  These Sinisterists have no life except as cogs in that Inner Party and no values except what that Inner Party commands.

What about normal people who care about truth, decency, and morality?  Consider these people as points scattered in all directions outside the event horizon of the black hole.  They are connected only in their opposition to totalitarianism.  Some belief in the God of Jews and Christians, and some are atheists.  Some value the acquisition of wealth, and some treasure the beauty of nature.  Some love to live in large cities, and some want to live on farms or in small towns.  Some devote their lives to study, and some live largely to play.  There is no description that fits these people at all except that they oppose the horror of Sinisterism.

We can defeat totalitarianism only when we begin to reject the terms and the models created by totalitarians.  If these folks tomorrow began to loudly protest the legitimacy of the ideological spectrum, political arguments would change forever.  If anti-totalitarians continue to use the language and models created by their enemies, then the long descent we have witnessed over the last century into the Hell of totalitarianism will inevitably continue.


I see Mr. Walker’s concept of totalitarians occupying a “black hole” and everyone else scattered around the event horizon outside as a way of thinking about our ideologies that had never occurred to me before, but I think it has merit. I started to use an image depicting a political spectrum along a line with anarchy at the far left and fascism at the far right. Liberalism and conservatism were on the left and right of the center, but that really is an oversimplification and didn’t fit his narrative. In the end, I used Mr. Walker’s book cover image.

Regardless of one’s choice of terminology, I think it boils down to how much governmental control vs. individual responsibility we feel comfortable with.

It’s obvious that liberals and those extending to the left of them are willing to assign more power and control to a government than conservatives who prefer less government intrusion into our private lives and are comfortable accepting the responsibility for their own actions. Conservatives disagree vehemently with the concept of 1984 where the Inner Party held all of the power – that’s totalitarianism. 1984 doesn’t fit with a conservative’s view of an acceptable political world.

This is all part and parcel of the concerted effort by those on the left (moving towards totalitarianism) to redefine the terms that we use to describe political discourse. This is a subject that we here on PT have complained about for eons (figure of speech). We haven’t made a dent so far, but we’re still trying.




Categories: Political


6 replies

  1. I guess most of us here have been educated in the terminology changes as the left takes over words that mean us, the right.

    Are you suggesting that we should go back and use those words, i.e., liberal, to define ourselves; then explain to the liberals or conservatives how leftists always steal words from us that define us to try to BE us?

    I’m chewing on this.


    • As long as the left has the “bully pulpit” of the mass media, we can’t control the political dialogue using their terminology – we’ve got to describe what’s going on in ordinary, laymen’s terms so the normal voters can understand.


  2. Great post and commentary, Garnet.

    The reality of this situation is that we really have no uniform language, where the terms are consistently understood by all, for coherently discussing/debating the various notions people subscribe to when it comes to government and political philosophy. This is by design, because the people who are anti-liberty don’t want coherent debate when they can’t win the debate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’ll never be a standardized language for both sides in this political philosophy ’cause it’s a moving target. As soon as we begin to comprehend their newly-minted terms, they move the goalposts with more new terms so we can’t ever “win” at their game.


  3. I didn’t like his black hole metaphor, as it left everyone not a totalitarian as lacking in shared principles.

    Your own continuum is superior, though I think Fascism is a construct of Totalitarianism, along with Nazism, Communism, etc.

    So the continuum from Anarchy to Totalitarianism is the best gauge in my view.

    The American concept of ordered liberty is what I believe we should continue to aspire to, placing reasonable mutually agreed limits on anarchy. Like a sporting event has boundaries upon which the game is played, sidelines, baselines, out of bounds, etc., so does ordered liberty. Liberty allows the pursuit of happiness including the ownership of property, real and intellectual. Such properties should therefore not be infringed upon. No Totalitarian can tolerate such an idea.


    • Right, the black hole metaphor is a little confusing and doesn’t lend itself to easy mental pictures. I also can’t see a continuum concept wherein eventually totalitarianism eventually meets (and blends with) anarchy – that just doesn’t make sense to me.


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