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Nothing says "I Love You, Dear" like screaming lower back pain!

Sometimes Wrong but rarely in doubt!

07 November 2011

Politcal Models

No pictures of hot politicians in this post.  Sorry to disappoint.  I've started rereading Tom Kratman's A Desert Called Peace and that generally gets me thinking about politics.  I recall following a thread in the KratSkellar on Baen's Bar. In the course of the thread the Col. Kratman said that Jerry Pournelle's political model based on Cartesian axes was flawed.  I seem to recall that Mr Kratman was a proponent of the standard left/right model.  His reasoning, I believe was that there are regions on Mr Pournelle's political axes that are logically uninhabitable and I think there is some validity to that argument.

Contrarily I don't think that the left-right model quite works either though.  But I think that I've come up with the perfect model for the political spectrum.  Wait for annulus, because anything that comes from the same root word as anus has to be appropriate when talking about politics.

On one side of the anulus is a bulge, the hemorrhoid of sanity.   That is the portion of Pournelle's political axes where the views can be coherent and logical (sane).  As you move clockwise from the hemorrhoid you're driving down the Hershey highway of socialism and communism and conversely  counter-clockwise your rocking the rectal road to becoming reactionary.  Ultimately going too far down either proctological path takes you to the fissure of brutal repression aka totalitarianism.

I hope you've enjoyed my tongue between the cheeks political analysis.


  1. Not just that. The left right model is a better predictor of how people organize and behave.



  2. If you cut the anulus and lay it out flat it's just a left/right model. The post was just meant to be humorous.

    I did think that Dr. Pournelle had some good criticisms of the left/right model. I didn't think his alternative model was any better. I guess them 'n' us works as well as any model of politics.

    Respectfully, you sir are a right bastard for who's on the left and right in Carrera-verse, it was an evil twist, and I quite enjoyed it.


  3. Odd, though, that, unless they were told, just about nobody - left or right - really got what was going on in the politics of the Carrera-verse, that the bad guys are actually old fashioned, aristocratic/oligarchic Tory conservatives (United Earth's Class Ones and the Balboan Oligarchy), while Carrera is not that bad a fit, some ways, with Ho Chi Minh.

    Pournelle's criticism of the L-R model is more or less deeply flawed by contact with / contamination by the intellectual fantasy: "This is the way _I_ think things ought to be and so this is the way they are."

    I've given this lecture more than once, but it's probably easier to type it out than hunt it down. When you take any X-Y political diagram (There are several, all flawed in about the same way) and ask a fair number of people the requisite questions, then plot their positions, you end up with a more or less narrow oval, running lower left to upper right, precisely because of those two corners that are uninhabitable by anyone not either mad or a fool.

    Now rotate the diagram 45 degrees clockwise. What you've got then is just a left-right diagram with some up and down variance. Compare those up-down variances with the really big variance between left and right. _That's_ what people see, that their little up-down disagreements are tiny in comparison to the left-right disagreement. This causes them to self-organize along that left-right spectrum.

    Something that helps them / pushes them to do that are several - ISTR identifying five - optical illusions. One of those illusions is to attribute someone's intensity of feelings to their position on the spectrum. Take, for example, the mythical guy in the middle. Now make him vociferous about it, he detests both extreme left and extreme right. And now picture that as a bar extending _above_ the spectrum. People on the left will add the height of that bar to where the guy really is, pushing their perceptions of him far to the right. People on the right will do the same thing, only in reverse. They both think he's a radical of the opposite stripe, when in fact he's a aggressive moderate. This happens with me, by the way. Oh, I'm conservative, but I'm only about on the right edge of the middle third. But I'm obnoxiously aggressive about it, which tends to make people on the left add the height of my bar to where I really am, poltically. This pushes me over, in _their_perceptions_, into Nazi territory. But, no, I'm just conservative.


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