LUMPENPROLETARIAT—The political science concept of the political spectrum must occur to everybody sooner or later, in their thinking about politics, if they think about politics at all. Surely echoing the view of other reliable scholars, Dr. Noam Chomsky has commented that the “general population doesn’t know what’s happening. And it doesn’t know that it doesn’t know.” Dr. Chomsky, of course, co-wrote Manufacturing Consent about how the range and bounds of discourse are framed and constrained by institutional abuse of power even before discourse or debate begins, often without the awareness of the participants or observers.
So, Americans know there is a political right-wing and a political left-wing. Unfortunately, most Americans seem to kmow little else about the range and domain of political spectrums and the economic spectrums, which tend to parallel the political bifurcation into left and right wings. Of course, in American politics, the political bifurcation into “left” and “right” is mostly political theater because both parties overwhelmingly support the same policies on behalf of the same corporations.
Inclusiveness and political diversity in government are signs of a healthy democracy,. Exclusion of political alternatives, especially by a colluding cartel of two political parties, is a sign of a stagnant, unhealthy, and/or dying democracy. It is antidemocratic because it excludes political alternatives and political competition.
The general population is aware that there’s a “left” and a “right” or “liberals” and “conservatives”. But general American understandings of the various philosophies found in the differing positions along a 2-D (single-axis) or 3-D (multi-axis) political spectrum model is often weak. For example, former President Obama was often attacked as being a “socialist”, when Obama instituted a predominantly pro-capitalist agenda. Indeed, Obama is widely recognized by political scientists as being to the right of Reagan on the political spectrum, if we compare their respective policies.
Understanding and modeling diversity of political and economic philosophies can get complicated. But it can actually be fascinating to think about. A better understanding of the various competing political philosophies in our society, not only helps us make more informed political choices, but it better protects our ongoing American experiment for true democracy.
[15 OCT 2020]
[Last modified on 15 OCT 2020 at 23:00]