The Academic Agent advises us to reject the “fake left-right spectrum” you see on television.
But for what reason and motive, and for whom? I have become increasingly skeptical of the motives behind thinkers who seek this. They just state the issue and put it out there. He assumes, e.g., that Enoch Powell was right, a preference for the Conservatives. The whole fight in the U.S. between Conservatives is who and what is real Conservatism. In 1921, the Mussolini and his Fascists began to align themselves to the Right, and with the then mainstream conservatives, which increased their membership exponentially. There, we have a Fascist, a Third Positionist, supposedly portraying an ideal “Beyond Left and Right,” and yet aligns with the Right only? And no one in that comment section thinks otherwise. Only “the (historical) Left” is the problem? The Academic Agent comes off in this, to me, as disingenuous.
What he and the comments are talking about is something entirely different from the The Atlantic.
THE ACADEMIC AGENT ON THE SPECTRUM
“I have always said there is no such thing as Right-wing, beyond opposition to the Left. But now I think the entire Left-Right spectrum is a mechanism entirely designed to secure the Left forever.”THE ACADEMIC AGENT, STRAY THOUGHTS #6: THE SPECTRUM
“Americans are more divided than ever by political ideology, as a recent Pew Research Center study makes clear. About a third of people on each side say of the other that its proponents “are so misguided that they threaten the nation’s well-being.” They’re both right about that.
My prescription isn’t civility or dialogue, which though admirable are boring and in this case evidently impossible. Rather, my approach is “philosophical”: to try to confront both sides with the fact that their positions are incoherent. The left-right divide might be a division between social identities based on class or region or race or gender, but it is certainly not a clash between different political ideas.
The arrangement of positions along the left-right axis—progressive to reactionary, or conservative to liberal, communist to fascist, socialist to capitalist, or Democrat to Republican—is conceptually confused, ideologically tendentious, and historically contingent. And any position anywhere along it is infested by contradictions.
Transcending partisanship is going to require what seems beyond the capacities of either side: thinking about the left-right spectrum rather than from it. The terminology arose in revolutionary France in 1789, where it referred to the seating of royalists and anti-royalists in the Assembly. It is plausible to think of the concept (if not the vocabulary) as emerging in pre-revolutionary figures such as Rousseau and Burke. The Oxford English Dictionary’s first citation of “left” and “right” used in the political sense in English is in Thomas Carlyle’s French Revolution in 1837, but the idea only crystallized fully with the emergence and under the aegis of Marxism, in the middle of the 19th century. It was not fully current in English-speaking countries until early in the 20th.” (The Left-Right Political Spectrum is Bogus – The Atlantic)
This then again, like The Academic Agent, gives us no solution. So the Identitarians, Third Positionism and Fourth Political Theory pick up the slack. Liberalism and the Liberal order, however has no answers, and in ways even tries to prevent us from thinking of any. It is the limitations of the order itself, perhaps? How are we going to think beyond Left and Right, when one side is given preferential treatment by our institutions. This has made people curious to drift to the Far-Right. Where else are they told to go, but further Left?
Far-Right individuals and groups might try to portray themselves as beyond the spectrum, but this is a ploy. The individual may come from the Left, then drift to the Right more and more, drunk on right-wing propaganda instead of being able to see through it, and religiously anti-Leftist, going on saying, they are above the Left-Right spectrum! What.
Just the other day, I discovered some “Propertarian,” of the Groyper strain, scheming plans for the American Right to take over American Politics to such extent, he says, so the Leftists, non-whites and women could never gain political influence, or reverse the policies again. Asking people to think outside of the spectrum, when no one seems to know how to, has already become problematic.
There is also this reason to be critical of neuropolitical studies and the stereotypes we creates about liberals and conservatives.