You're probably familiar with the customary left-right political axis, and you may even be familiar with the Nolan Chart or politicalcompass.org. But a recent book, "Eight Ways to Run the Country" has presented what is, in my opinion, a superior political diagram.
In "Eight Ways", Brian Patrick Mitchell lays out a political archetype system that is slightly askew to previous diagrams and relies more on a person's attitude toward politics, rather than a list of issue stances. His chart has two axes:
Kratos -- (Greek for "force") Measuring the person's perceived need to use force to keep the social system functioning.
Arche -- (Greek for "leader") Measuring the person's attitude toward social hierarchy.
Anyone who tends to oppose the use of force to maintain social cohesion is "akratic," while someone who tends to support it is "kratic." A person who tends to be accepting of existing social hierarchies and traditions is "archic" and someone who tends to dislike those social patterns is "anarchic."
This results in eight positions, which Mitchell associates with common American political labels for convenience:
Theoconservative (Archic with indifference to Kratos) Supports social traditions but their support for government action varies depending on whether a policy supports or opposes the informal structure of society.
Neoconservative (Archic and Kratic) Generally supportive of social heirarchies and believes that strong policy is often necessary to maintain stability and promote growth.
Communitarian (Kratic with indifference to Arche) Supports a strong government to direct activity, but only cares about cultural matters to the extent that they impact the extent to which society can pursue big projects.
Progressive (Kratic and Anarchic) Supports a strong government to direct activity, but is critical of social conventions that may hold people back from their full potential.
Radical (Anarchic with indifference to Kratos) Sharply critical of any social mores that fail to treat people equally, and only cares about government policy to the extent that it reinforces or challenges stale traditions.
Individualist (Anarchic and Akratic) Critical of social mores that fail to treat people equally, and also distrustful of policy that forces people to live a certain way against their will.
Paleolibertarian (Akratic and indifferent to Arche) Deeply distrustful of policy that keeps people from choosing their own way in life, and only cares about morals and traditions to the extent that they become a focus of the legal system.
Paleoconservative (Akratic and Archic) Distrustful of policy that keeps people from choosing their own way in life, but very supportive of the informal rules and traditions that undergird society.
If you're still having trouble figuring out where you stand, consider the following. The Mitchell chart is not a perfect map for the Nolan chart. The arche axis is not the same as "personal liberty on the Nolan Chart. Take the statement:
"For the most part, wealthy people are rich because of their hard work and disproportionate contribution to society."
The Nolan Chart would tend to place agreement with this statement in the "economic liberty" zone. But the Mitchell Chart would see this as acceptance of established social hierarchies and thus the statement is archic. Or how about this:
"A system of mandatory national service would make our society much more unified."
The Nolan Chart would tie this to "personal liberties" (like whether there should be a military draft), and peg this as anti-personal liberty. But on the Mitchell chart, this statement is clearly kratic in sentiment.
For those of you who are used to the Nolan Chart, I have helpfully superimposed on the Mitchell Chart. This isn't a perfect overlay, since the two charts measure different things. However, right now in America, this is basically how the two charts match up. You could probably do a similar overlay with the chart from politicalcompass.org, but you'd have to flip their authority axis upside down.
What's interesting to me about this chart is that the portion of the chart referred to as the "left" or the "right" appears to have shifted in within the last few decades. Prior to the 1960s, one could argue that "left" would be towards the lower left (i.e. towards Progressivism), but these days it seems like "left" refers to towards the actual left side of the chart (i.e. towards Radicalism). Similarly the middle of the "right" wing has shifted from Palecon to Theocon.
I'll probably write a follow-up article to discuss the historical (and future) implications of this chart, but for now, I'm just interested in hearing what people think about the Mitchell Chart. Is it a good model?