The diagram above is an attempt to clarify the essential natures of various socio-political systems and the relationships between them based on the following two criteria: the degree of collectivism or individualism (horizontal axis), and the degree of freedom or control (vertical axis).
In Socialism, the collective tends to decide more than the individual on the balance of control and freedom. In pure Communism, only the collective decides on the balance of control and freedom. (Note that the fundamentally democratic notion that the majority rules corresponds particularly to these socio-political systems.)
In Libertarianism, the individual tends to decide more than the collective on the balance of control and freedom. In pure Objectivism, only the individual decides on the balance of control and freedom (emphasis on individual rights).
In Conservatism, both the individual and the collective agree that there should be more control than freedom. In pure Fascism, both the individual and the collective agree that there should be as much control as possible.
In Liberalism, both the individual and the collective agree that there should be more freedom than control. In pure Anarchy, both the individual and the collective agree that there should be as much freedom as possible.
In pure Centrism, both the individual and the collective agree on the balance of control and freedom.
As for the orientation of the socio-political systems suggested in the diagram, Socialism and Communism constitute the Left-leaning socio-political tendency, Libertarianism and Objectivism constitute the Right-leaning socio-political tendency, Liberalism and Anarchy constitute the downwards socio-political tendency, and Conservatism and Fascism constitute the upwards socio-political tendency.
It may be noted that the individualistic side of the diagram generally favors the more intelligent, rational and objective people to the detriment of the less intelligent, rational and objective, while the collectivistic side of the diagram generally favors the less intelligent, rational and objective people to the detriment of the more intelligent, rational and objective, with the central zone tending to treat both the more intelligent, rational and objective and the less intelligent, rational and objective in an equitable manner.
Other socio-political systems and conditions can be added in the diagonal points of the diagram. My suggestions in this regard include the following:
- Authoritarianism (including both Theocracy and Monasticism) between Conservatism and Socialism, and Totalitarianism (including both Feudalism and Absolutism) between Fascism and Communism (upper Left – more control than freedom and more collectivism than individualism);
- Isolationism between Conservatism and Libertarianism, and Reclusion between Fascism and Objectivism (upper Right – more control than freedom and more individualism than collectivism);
- Hedonism between Libertarianism and Liberalism, and Insanity between Objectivism and Anarchy (lower Right – more freedom than control and more individualism than collectivism);
- Tribalism between Socialism and Liberalism, and New Age Spirituality between Communism and Anarchy (lower Left – more freedom than control and more collectivism than individualism).
The following discussion will deal only with those socio-political systems which are on the horizontal and vertical axes of the diagram.
Theoretically, Centrism should be the ideal political system because it is the most balanced and moderate, but it is practically impossible. This is because people in general tend to be irrational, being motivated primarily by emotions, desires and beliefs rather than reason, and are thus generally inclined to Liberalism in the short term, and eventually to Anarchy. Because control invariably represents the suppression of their natural inclinations, the people in general will always clamor for an ever greater degree of freedom and will hardly ever agree voluntarily with any measure of control.
The Roman Republic, with its numerous liberal accommodations for the plebeians as well as its conservative retention of patrician rights and privileges, may have been the closest historical attempt to establish and maintain a Centrist socio-political system. But as the Roman historian Livy constantly indicates, the Roman Republic was always threatened by the incessant demands of the plebeians for an ever greater degree of freedom.
As the diagram indicates, the natural inclinations of the Masses towards Liberalism are a downward tendency. Left unchecked, this downward tendency will invariably move through Liberalism into Anarchy. (A fish that swims with the prevailing current is always carried lower and lower.)
Civilization simply can’t be maintained without a significant degree of order and control. Therefore, in order for civilization to be maintained, the general inclination of the masses towards disorder and anarchy must be effectively counteracted by a rational government that maintains order through the imposition of control. This means that at least a Conservative government would be necessary to ensure the continuation of at least a modest level of civilization.
It may be further noted that the maintenance of a high level of civilization would require nothing short of a Fascist government. The Roman Empire is the very prototype of Fascism, and its advanced civilization is the origin and source of modern Western civilization. This is the reason why modern Western governments have tended increasingly towards Fascistic policies (behind the cover of other political ideologies like Socialism and Liberalism – not to mention “Democracy”).
Looking again at the diagram, it may be seen that Conservatism and Fascism are shown as belonging to an upward tendency. Unlike the downward tendency of the inherently liberal Masses which is a natural, easy and pleasant tendency, an upward tendency requires constant effort and diligence to maintain. Such constant effort and diligence in turn can only be sustained by those few who are genuinely better than the Masses in all respects – a few good men who are able to establish and maintain order. Indeed, it was only by virtue of a few good men that civilization has ever been built, and it can only be by virtue of a few good men that civilization can continue.
The clear link between freedom and a generally downwards tendency, and the necessity of control for a sustained upwards tendency are the reasons why the degree of freedom and control is the criterion of the vertical axis on the diagram.
Objectivism, Communism and Anarchism are all extremes, while Libertarianism, Socialism and Liberalism are merely kinder, gentler versions of these (respectively) – essentially the potential “gateway drugs” to these, in a manner of speaking. (The grey circle in the diagram indicates the boundary between moderate socio-political systems and their extreme versions.)
(Admittedly, Fascism is also an extreme, with Conservatism as its potential “gateway drug”, but the foregoing discussion of these should make it clear that Fascism is actually the least undesirable extreme, and even the necessary extreme for the continuation of an advanced civilization, whereas the other three extremes should be seen as being far more undesirable and not conducive to the continuation of an advanced civilization for various reasons.)
It is clearly obvious that the rational individualism of Objectivism necessarily excludes the vast majority of people who are primarily motivated by emotions, desires and beliefs rather than reason, and who tend to be gregarious and highly social creatures. For this reason, Objectivism can only lead to the formation of small exclusive and elitist enclaves, which is very much what Ayn Rand describes in Atlas Shrugged (the escape of her heroes to “Galt’s Gulch”), and which is not unlike the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21:9-27. (Ayn Rand’s fundamentally elitist views were clearly influenced by her secular Jewish background.) Guillaume Faye’s “Archeofuturism” concept is very much along the same lines.
If Objectivism actually could succeed in establishing itself as the dominant socio-political system, the Masses would inexorably revert to the condition of primitive barbarians. This would necessarily cause a permanent state of conflict between the Objectivist enclaves and the surrounding Masses, which would necessarily result in the total subjection (if not the annihilation) of one or the other sooner or later. Perhaps we should understand that this is the ultimate goal of Objectivism – the establishment of a global elite to subjugate the Masses…?
Objectivism is essentially the individual choosing to maintain a state of war against the collective, and hoping to eventually annihilate the collective altogether.
As for Communism, it has been amply demonstrated through history that the extinction of the individual through extreme collectivism is simply not feasible (at least not yet – think of the Borg in Star Trek: the Next Generation). And the egalitarian leveling of the entire population to a lowest common denominator as theoretically required by Communism can hardly be achieved without utterly destroying the very vitality of human society. Simply put, Communism can never be sustainable…unless human beings are replaced by robotic machines (Transhumanism).
Communism is essentially the collective choosing to maintain a state of war against the individual, and hoping to eventually annihilate the individual altogether.
As for Anarchism, it is obvious that it can only mean the complete and permanent lack of any kind of advanced culture whatsoever. Its only honest objective must necessarily be the return of all human beings to the most backward condition of the most primitive, barbaric peoples (often called euphemistically “a return to Nature”), which necessarily means the total elimination of all forms of science and technology. Of course, achieving this requires the utilization of those two things which have generally opposed science and technology – sentiment and religion.
Anarchism is the desire to bring all human beings down to the lowest possible level and to keep them there forever.
I might offer a brief discussion of the way things really are in the world on the basis of this evaluation of socio-political systems, but that will have to be some other time. For now, let me just say that the only real rivalry is not between the Right and the Left, or between the Upper and the Lower, but between the Upper and the other three (the Lower, the Left and the Right)…