The Political Spectrum
What’s "Left" and What's "Right"
While some call the media "liberal" as an extremist pejorative, the media is not liberal and liberals are far from extremist. Liberals appear to be on the "left" because there is no true voice of the left in the media. Examining the full political economic spectrum shows that liberals, or progressives, are centrist or even slightly to the right of center. This tilt to the "right" illustrates the need for independent, alternative media that is truly balanced. See also: Hannity Insanity.
The political spectrum
Conservatives paint liberals as on the far left because they lack appreciation of the true extremes of the political spectrum, which are:
- The "far left" that advocates nationalizing all industry
- The "far right" that advocates privatizing virtually all government functions (even military functions).
This spectrum illustrates that liberals are not on the far "left" because no one hears liberals calling for nationalizing all industry ... not Democrats, the New York Times, Paul Krugman, or even the Greens. Liberals are actually centrist; they just appear to be because they're to the left of the "far right."
|The Political Spectrum|
Second, this spectrum illustrates that the media is somewhere between liberal and conservative, that is, it’s tilted to the "right" and not "leftist."
Conservatives paint liberals as on the far left because they lack appreciation of the true extremes, because they have a fixation on "either-or" thinking (someone must either believe in an unfettered "free market" or be a socialist), and they have an inability to tolerate "both-and" thinking (the free market is best for some things, government-regulated markets for others, and government-run for others).
M. Scott Peck on communism and capitalism
(from The Road Less Traveled, 1978, p. 166)
"Pure communism … expresses a philosophy that the purpose and function of the individual is to serve the relationship, the group, the collective, the society.
"Pure capitalism … espouses the destiny of the individual even when it is at the expense of the relationship, the group, the collective, the society. Widows and orphans may starve, but this should not prevent the individual entrepreneur from enjoying all the fruits of his or her individual initiative.
"It should be obvious to any discerning mind that neither of these pure solutions … will be successful.
The individuals health depends upon the health of society; the health of the society depends upon the health of its individuals."
The diagram at right from the Political Compass site (Political Compass page) shows the positions of U.S. candidates for president along the political spectrum. All the major candidates are on the authoritarian and economic right with George W. Bush shown as the most extreme. Even Kucinich, who conservatives paint as an extremist, is only slightly to the left. A "balanced" position between these candidates is tilted to the right and is not "balanced" along the political spectrum.
|Candidates & the Political Spectrum|
A balanced position between the right and left recognizes that the free market works for most products and services, but also recognizes those for which it does not.
If the "far left" were to have a significant voice in the media comparable to the far right, it would be clear how moderate and centrist liberals really are.
It's for this reason that an independent, alternative media, free of corporate control, is needed for balance.
|© 2003 Continuous Improvement Associates