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A political spectrum is a system of classifying different political positions upon one or more geometric axes that symbolize independent political dimensions. 1799 and referred originally to the seating arrangements in the various legislative bodies of France. As capitalist economies developed, the aristocracy became less relevant and were mostly replaced by capitalist representatives. The size of the working class increased as capitalism expanded and began to find expression partly through trade unionist, socialist, anarchist and communist politics rather than being confined to the capitalist policies expressed by the original “left”. Thus the word “Left” in American political parlance may refer to “liberalism” and be identified with the Democratic Party, whereas in a country such as France these positions would be regarded as relatively more right-wing and “left” is more likely to refer to “socialist” positions rather than “liberal” ones. For almost a century, social scientists have considered the problem of how best to describe political variation. This system was derived empirically, as rather than devising a political model on purely theoretical grounds and testing it, Ferguson’s research was exploratory.
As a result of this method, care must be taken in the interpretation of Ferguson’s three factors, as factor analysis will output an abstract factor whether an objectively real factor exists or not. Shortly afterward, Hans Eysenck began researching political attitudes in Great Britain. Such analysis produces a factor whether or not it corresponds to a real-world phenomenon and so caution must be exercised in its interpretation. Despite the difference in methodology, location and theory, the results attained by Eysenck and Ferguson matched.
Simply rotating Eysenck’s two factors 45 degrees renders the same factors of religionism and humanitarianism identified by Ferguson in America. Eysenck’s dimensions of R and T were found by factor analyses of values in Germany and Sweden, France and Japan. Eysenck’s political views related to his research: Eysenck was an outspoken opponent of what he perceived as the authoritarian abuses of the left and right and accordingly he believed that with this T axis he had found the link between nazism and communism. Eysenck’s conception of tough-mindedness has been criticized for a number of reasons. The theory which Eysenck developed to explain individual variation in the observed dimensions, relating tough-mindedness to extroversion and psychoticism, returned ambiguous research results.
Eysenck’s finding that Nazis and communists were more tough-minded than members of mainstream political movements was criticised on technical grounds by Milton Rokeach. This abstract dimension may or may not correspond to a real material phenomenon and obvious problems arise when it is applied to human psychology. Eysenck’s work, Milton Rokeach developed his own two-axis model of political values in 1973, basing this on the ideas of freedom and equality, which he described in his book, The Nature of Human Values. Milton Rokeach claimed that the defining difference between the left and right was that the left stressed the importance of equality more than the right. Eysenck refined his methodology to include more questions on economic issues. Most research and political theory since this time has replicated the factors shown above. The Nolan chart was created by libertarian David Nolan.
The political compass has two axes. One represents economic issues as right-vs-left. The other represents issues of freedom, or social issues, as authoritarian-vs-libertarian. One can determine their position on the political compass through an online quiz by the same name.
This very distinct two-axis model was created by Jerry Pournelle in 1963 for his doctoral dissertation in political science. From the four main political traditions, Mitchell identifies eight distinct political perspectives diverging from a populist center. Voters are then modeled as voting for the nearest candidates in this ideological space. Most of the other spectra in this article can then be considered projections of this multi-dimensional space onto a smaller number of dimensions. For example, a study of German voters found that at least four dimensions were required to adequately represent all political parties. The Vosem Chart, or Vosem Cube, is based on the Nolan Chart and adds a third axis for government, depicted three dimensionally, with eight discrete categories representing eight different political ideologies. Vosem is the Russian word for “eight.
In 1998, political author Virginia Postrel, in her book The Future and Its Enemies, offered another single-axis spectrum that measures views of the future, contrasting stasists, who allegedly fear the future and wish to control it, and dynamists, who want the future to unfold naturally and without attempts to plan and control. Focus of political concern: communitarianism vs. Responses to conflict: according to the political philosopher Charles Blattberg, those who would respond to conflict with conversation should be considered as on the left, with negotiation as in the centre, and with force as on the right. See his essay “Political Philosophies and Political Ideologies”. Role of the church: clericalism vs. Rural: This axis is significant today in the politics of Europe, Australia and Canada.
Relations with individual states or groups of states may also be vital to party politics. During the early history of the Commonwealth of Australia, this was the major political continuum. Analyzes the fundamental political interaction among people, and between individuals and their environment. Often posits the existence of a moderate system as existing between the two extremes. As shown by Russian political scientist Stepan S. Sulakshin, political spectra can be used as a forecasting tool.
The Stability of the Primary Social Attitudes: I. Religion and humanitarianism: a study of institutional implications”. Primary social attitudes: A comparison of attitude patterns in England, Germany, and Sweden”. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology.
Measuring attitudes across cultures: A factor analysis of the replies of Japanese judges to Eysenck’s inventory of conservative-progressive ideology”. Comparative judicial behavior: cross-cultural studies of political decision-making in the East and West. Personality and Prediction: Principles of Personality Assessment. Multiple factor analysis and personality research. Journal of Experimental Research in Personality 5: 161-170. Freedom and Equality: Two values of political orientation”.