[Paleopsych] Meme 034: The Coming Reorientation of the Principle Left-Right Political Axis

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Mon Oct 18 17:03:43 UTC 2004

Meme 034: The Coming Reorientation of the Principle Left-Right Political 
sent 4.10.18

The principal left-right political axis is going to change from central 
planning vs. free market in the earlier part of the twentieth century and 
equality vs. inequality in the later part to pluralism vs. universalism in 
the current century. There are several minor axes, to wit, secular vs. 
sacred, self-expression vs. self-restraint, change vs. tradition, 
cooperation vs. competition, tender-minded vs. tough-minded, relativism 
vs. absolutism, and many more, some perhaps subsumed by others. (The left 
tends to be less interested in virtue and moral education generally than 
the right, and we should reconceptualize how children should be brought up 
in a world of mass unemployment, how moral education will instill other 
habits besides those of being a productive member of society. Here's 
hoping that his next book will address the matter.)

There is a general clustering, not at the level of any high theory that 
reduces political preferences to a single dimension, but a clustering in 
fact. Left-wingers tend, albeit often quite incompletely, to be on the 
left side of each axis, not always because they have thought out each 
opinion, but because their co-left-wing friends also have them. 
Right-wingers do likewise. For myself, I am a left-wing secularist, 
moderately to the right as far as self-restraint goes, much to the left in 
favoring change, mixed on cooperation, tough-minded more in rhetoric than 
in practice, and fairly much an absolutist (evolution limits the feasible 
*pace of change* quite a bit). For the major axes, I am a 
twentieth-century rightist for both the free market and inequality. What's 
more important is that I am decidedly a *twenty-first* century leftist in 
favor of pluralism. Indeed let us hope that there has been so much 
culture-gene coevolution, even along racial lines, that there will be 
major *internal* resistance to a universal culture, thus keeping the world 
safe for pluralism.

To recapitulate, and I leave it to each one of you to say where you lie 
on the left-right continuum. Again, we badly need a factor analysis study 
to group these dimensions and, better still, a grounding in evolutionary 
psychology, such as Steve Reiss has done with his 16 Basic Desires.

Major Axes

pluralism vs. universalism (emerging)
equality vs. inequality (dying)
central planning vs. free market (dead)

Minor Axes (several others added)

secular vs. sacred
international vs. national (left was nationalistic during the first 
half of the 19th century, though)
self-expression vs. self-restraint
relativists vs. absolutists in morals
tender-minded vs. tough-minded

great vs. small concern over the physical environment (each with its own 
studies to support his view)
state vs. individual
change vs. tradition
centralized state vs. decentralized state
dependence vs. self-reliance

small vs. great concern over character and virtue
small vs. great concern over chastity, divorce, family
outs vs. ins
cooperation vs. competition
regulation vs. freedom

labor vs. capital
populist vs. elitist
rural vs. urban
essentialism vs. nominalism

[I am sending forth these memes, not because I agree wholeheartedly with 
all of them, but to impregnate females of both sexes. Ponder them and
spread them.]

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