Fascism v communism,


The URL does not go where you intended it. Could you email the essay? Thanks.

Best, Michael

August 07, 2005

The Political Spectrum Con
by Nelson Hultberg
Political economy is all of one piece and cannot be separated into
specific sectors of politics and economics as modern intellectuals are
trying to do. Therefore it is of paramount importance that all men and
women possess at least a rudimentary understanding of political
philosophy so as to better understand the world of economics and the
direction our economy is going to take in the upcoming years.

Our lives and our savings are going to be thrust under ever-increasing
regimentation by the modern mega-state. So we need to know far more
than just the fundamentals and technical analyses of stocks, bonds and
gold if we are to preserve (and expand) the financial stature of our
lives. We need to understand the ideology of tyranny that is being
piped into our society via the schools and the media. Tyranny cannot
take over a society until its citizens have been "intellectually
prepared" by those who seek power and usurpation.

One of the ways this intellectual preparation takes place today
entails a pernicious fallacy being implanted in our minds in order to
justify the massive centralization of modern government. It is our
academic worlds' warping of the political spectrum. What the American
people are being taught as the political left, center, and right is a
severe distortion of the facts of reality. Unfortunately such a
distorted view is widely prevalent because most Americans have been
educated in our government controlled school system.

Crypto-authoritarians have now cloned themselves throughout our
universities. And one of their nefarious weapons is what I term the
"political spectrum con." The tragic result of their ideological
warping is that droves of bright college graduates are being sent out
into the world every year with a poisoned view as to the requisites of
Jeffersonian freedom and prosperity. They are thus driven to approve
ever-increasing taxation and regimentation so as to relentlessly
expand government power.

What Is the Political Spectrum?

The idea of a political spectrum is one of the first concepts taught
and analyzed in poly-sci and economics courses in college. It is a
listing of the world's various political-economic systems on a chart,
placing each system on the chart toward the left, middle or right,
according to the basic type of government that system upholds. It is a
natural way to provide the overall perspective needed in judging the
different political and economic forms that exist, and thus a very
important tool in teaching what the political world is all about.

To understand why the political spectrum that is taught today is so
perniciously false, we must first delve into a bit of Aristotelian
philosophy. The notion of a political spectrum with three poles of
left, right and center has come to us as a legacy from Aristotle's
idea that virtue consists of the "rational course" that lies between
two opposite and natural extremes. This rational course he called the
Golden Mean. For example, as Aristotle tells us in his Ethics, if a
man is confronted with danger, he meets it in one of three ways. He
succumbs to the extreme of cowardice, or to the opposite extreme of
rashness; or he chooses the middle course of courage, which is
contrary to both. In like fashion, a man can choose liberality, which
is midway between the opposite extremes of stinginess and
extravagance, self-control between the extremes of abstemiousness and
drunkenness, and ambition between sloth and greed. [1]

Aristotle's theory was based upon the fact that in most human action,
there is a wide range of intensity, all the way from too little
(defect), to too much (excess). In between such defect and excess,
there lies an appropriate mean which would be virtue, with the two
opposites of defect and excess being vices. In other words, good is
the wisdom of balance, and evil is when you stray away from the Golden
Mean toward one of the two extremes.

There are, of course, many values of life (other than the ones
Aristotle put forth) that can also be placed upon a spectrum to
determine a Golden Mean. Human life entails a wide array of desires,
actions, traits, conditions and needs, numerous of which can be
portrayed in terms of a vice-virtue-vice relationship. Listed below
are a few examples that I have put together:

Thus, midway between the defect of apathy and the excess of zealotry,
there lies the rational balance of concern. Between vulgarity and
prudery, there is the mean of decency. Between chaos and
regimentation, there is order. And between the extremes of slavery and
anarchy lies freedom.

I am quite aware of the reservations held by some scholars as to the
usefulness of Aristotle's doctrine of the mean to meaningfully analyze
life's various phenomena. It is said that such a concept is
"relative;" it is a form of "circular reasoning;" and it avoids
adherence to principle in favor of the "middle-of-the-road." On the
contrary, every one of these claims is demonstrably false and I have
written a book, Reality's Golden Mean, that shows why. What I show in
the book is that the doctrine of the mean is fundamentally
misunderstood by its antagonists, which has led to its distortion in
our colleges, which has led to a warped and incongruous philosophy
among those who are attempting to defend the ramparts of freedom. But
the scope of this essay must be limited to a generic analysis of the
Aristotelian mean. Sometime next year, Reality's Golden Mean should be
out; and it will fully corroborate the efficacy of Aristotle's
doctrine in determining much of what is good and bad about human life.

It is the Aristotelian way of thinking then that has led to the
concept of a political spectrum. By listing the various ideological
systems on a left to right chart, one can find the two opposite
extremes and then determine a "mean" which would be the rational
course that lies between them. Here is where the danger arises,
however. The political spectrum chart has been distorted over the
years by most intellectuals throughout Europe and America in order to
make their political bias toward a massive centralized welfare state
look proper and virtuous. Such a distortion has taken several
different forms, but is usually accomplished by portraying fascism as
a "dictatorship of the right" and communism as a "dictatorship of the
left," and then establishing a false choice between them.

What follows below is an example of the way in which the
political-economic spectrum is conceived to be by the great majority
of Americans today:

With this picture, students have gotten the idea that both ends of the
spectrum are dictatorships (communism on the left and fascism on the
right), and that the democratic welfare state of contemporary America
is the only possible good, for it is the Golden Mean between two
opposite vices. In order to point out the fallacies involved here, we
must first define the terms being used. Webster's New Collegiate
Dictionary says the following (to which I have added clarifying
remarks in parentheses):

Communism -- a totalitarian system of government in which a single
authoritarian party controls state owned means of production with the
professed aim of establishing a stateless society; a theory advocating
the elimination of private property. (The state holds power not only
over property, but over every aspect of life. In practice, communism
eventually requires control over all human activities, for all of life
is interrelated. If the state is to control one aspect of life, then
it must control all aspects to be effective.)

Socialism -- a system or condition of society in which the means of
production are owned and controlled by the state; a system of society
or group living in which there is no private property. (There are no
differences between socialism and communism, other than superficial
ones that are concocted theoretically. In practice, socialism means
state ownership and operation of the factors of production, which
means rigid control of human beings and all their activities in order
to be effective. Socialism and communism are one and the same.)

Welfarism -- a social system based upon the assumption by a political
state of primary responsibility for the individual and social welfare
of its citizens. (Rather than owning and operating the factors of
production, the state merely regulates them and redistributes the
results of their productivity according to what is democratically
desired. It is a halfway house between communism which is state
ownership, and capitalism which is private ownership.)

Capitalism -- an economic system characterized by private or corporate
ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by
private decision rather than by state control. (The state is
restricted to preserving a free domestic order by punishing force and
fraud. It is neither to own nor operate the factors of production, nor
to interfere in the peaceful decisions of the marketplace, leaving it
to be controlled by the natural laws such as supply and demand that
operate within it.)

Fascism -- a political philosophy, movement or regime that exalts
nation and race above the individual, and that stands for a
centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader,
severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of
opposition. (The state has power over every aspect of the economy to
plan and regulate its workings. Property is owned privately, but
controlled by the governing authorities as to what it is to produce,
how and when it is to be disposed of, etc.)

The Fallacies in Today's Teachings

With these definitions in mind, let's now examine the fallacies and
distortions involved in the above political spectrum.

Fallacy #1 -- Communism, socialism, and fascism are different
fundamental systems deserving separate places on the spectrum. They
obviously are not. They are all variants of the same dictatorial
philosophy (which is collectivism) and belong together on the same
side of the spectrum. Each one advocates total state control and/or
ownership of all property through a centralized government and severe
economic and social regimentation. None of them recognize the concept
of individual rights. And they all declare that man exists to serve
the state.

The excuse for terming communism and fascism as opposite systems is
that under communism all property is owned by the state, where under
fascism the ownership of property is left nominally in the hands of
individuals, but ruthlessly controlled by the state, which reserves
the right to expropriate the property at any time the owner doesn't
abide by state dictates. Since individual ownership without individual
control is a farce, fascism is in essence no different from communism
(or socialism). All three are systems whereby the individual and his
property are subjected to the absolute power of the state.

Fallacy #2 -- Anarchy needs no mention. Observe that there is no
representation in the above spectrum for anarchy. There is a place for
total government (communism), but no place for the absence of
government (anarchy). Is not the absence of government the correct
opposite of total government? Would it not be a truer picture with
"total government" on one side and "no government" on the other side?
If we are trying to depict what the opposite extremes of vice are, and
the virtue that lies in between, then it's impossible to get any more
opposite or any more extreme than total government and no government.
You can't go any further left than communism, or any further right
than anarchy.

Fallacy #3 -- Socialism is good so long as it is democratic.
Democratic socialism is just another form of dictatorship. It is
absolute rule by the "majority will" instead of by one man or by
several men on a planning board. The individual has no clear cut
rights, only conditional privileges, which are granted and withdrawn
according to the arbitrary dictates of the collective. The majority
may vote away as much of anyone's wealth as it deems necessary or
desirable. Property does not belong to the individual. It belongs to
society and is to be democratically apportioned in whatever way the
majority wishes. Since the collective is the owner of all property,
the collective naturally becomes the sole employer, landlord, manager,
banker, and teacher of the individual. There can be no genuine freedom
of choice, or action, or thought, or desire under such a system.

Other Forms of Fallacy

The above distortion of the political spectrum is not the only form
used. There are others that are equally as crude in their confusion of
the truth, and thus just as damaging to capitalism and the concept of
freedom. In all the distortions, however, there invariably is one
common characteristic. They all endeavor to make welfarism (or some
variant of socialism) the middle ground, and capitalism one of the
extreme vices.

For example, in The Evolution of Economic Society: An Introduction To
Economics, by Martin Gerhard Giesbrecht, the political-economic
spectrum is presented as follows: [2]

This is a slightly altered picture of the more commonly held version
just discussed, for there is a gap in the middle. But that ol' devil
fascism is again portrayed on the far right, with capitalism adjacent
to it so as to convey its "potential evil" to an unsuspecting
populace. What possible conclusion could a young student draw from
this other than that all those on the political right are at best
borderline fascists, and that the only sane policy is to steer a
middle course of compromise between socialism and capitalism -- i.e.,
welfare statism?

To declare fascism to be a market economy and place it on the
political right is a severe perversion of logic. As Bruntz and
Edgerton tell us in Understanding Our Government:

"Under Fascism and Communism, the individual counts as nothing except
as he furthers the interests of the State. Freedom to move from place
to place, to choose a job, or conduct a business are restricted or do
not exist. Every phase of political, economic, and personal activity
is regulated by the government. That is why it is called totalitarian.

"Fascists allow private enterprise because it is the most effective
system in the production of wealth in the interests of the nation. But
it is not FREE enterprise, for capital and labor alike are completely
controlled by the state." [3]

Fascism is a command economy, and belongs on the political left where
massive centralized government resides. Adolph Hitler repeatedly
termed his system of government "national socialism" or the shortened
term of "Nazism," knowing full well that it was every bit as
collectivist as communism. And Webster's Dictionary defines Nazi as: a
member of a German fascist party controlling Germany from 1933 to 1945
under Adolf Hitler. Thus, fascism and socialism are merely variants of
the same system, which is collectivism. Declaring them to be opposites
is inexcusable.

Sadly, however, this is the type of falsification that we have to
endure in today's school system. Whenever the facts of reality are
being distorted by authorities in charge of conveying truth to young
people, one needs to ask, "Cui bono?" Who benefits? In this case, the
beneficiaries are those who seek the regimentation of Americans under
a massive centralized government in Washington.

If one is tempted to ask why "rational academics" would create such
distortions, the answer is that they do it subconsciously. Very few
openly identify such evasions to themselves. Their need is naturally
to smear the concept of capitalism (which means smearing the concept
of freedom) in the minds of the young in order to make their own
collectivist desires appear as proper, or as Aristotle would put it --
the mean. In this way, they hope to establish the validity of a
massive welfare state as the true system for man. It is just one of
the many examples of self-deception in which men of the mind partake
when attempting to promote a certain ideology they have come to

Add to this the steady stream of misinterpretations, evasions, and
lies that have been handed down over the past 80 years concerning the
nature of capitalism and what took place during the 19th century, and
one begins to see quite clearly why the great bulk of intellectuals in
our academic community continue to push the massive welfare state upon
our youth as the ideal.

The entire distortion is a subtle attempt to make advocates of
individualism and capitalism appear as extremists or fascists and
convince everyone that the ideal system is our present centralized
welfare state. This is certainly not a correct picture. The true
political spectrum that properly portrays reality according to
Aristotle's doctrine of the mean would be as follows:

The far left of the spectrum is the vice of total government (whether
it calls itself communism, socialism or fascism). The far right is its
exact opposite, the vice of no government. The middle is the virtue of
limited government (and its economic corollary of capitalism), with
welfarism a semi-capitalist, semi-socialist mixture, and the
anarcho-capitalism of the radical libertarians a semi-capitalist,
semi-anarchist mixture.

This then is the total political-economic spectrum. As stated, there
are numerous other variations of it being presented today, some
totally reversed to this, and some even in circles -- all of them
though very much in error. The whole notion of a political-economic
spectrum is senseless unless it is presented precisely along the lines
of Aristotle's Golden Mean idea. There have to be two opposite poles
beyond which one cannot go and then a virtuous middle, or it's simply
not a spectrum. It's then just an arbitrary display of various
political-economic systems with no rhyme or reason to it, and no
capacity to judge any of the systems as right or wrong, workable or

A great deal of today's confusion on this issue can be attributed to
the political origin of the terms right and left. Historian Crane
Brinton tells us: "These terms grew up out of French parliamentary
practice early in the [19th] century, when the conservatives or
monarchists took to sitting in a group to the right of the presiding
officer, and the constitutionalists and radical reformers grouped
themselves on his left." [4]

If our present day views of the political spectrum did to some degree
evolve from the early 19th century custom in France of the
conservatives sitting to the right of the presiding officer in
parliament and the radicals aligning themselves to the left, then it
is time we revised our views. Such a conception is wholly arbitrary,
for the two positions can easily be reversed or reassembled to fit any
whim. By using this conception, we divest the terms right and left of
any real significance. Is it not more rational to conceive of the
terms as they have naturally evolved in America where, throughout the
20th century, the political left has advocated a larger and more
interventionist government, while the political right has advocated a
smaller and less intrusive government? Is not Aristotle closer to the
truth than "parliamentary seating arrangements" of the 19th century?

The True Political Spectrum

Thus, there is no such thing as a "dictatorship of the right" as so
frequently declared by our intellectuals in the universities and the
media. ALL DICTATORSHIPS ARE OF THE LEFT! The farther we go to the
right on the spectrum, the less government we will have, not more. The
usage of such philosophically fraudulent terminology as a
"totalitarianism of the right" can only further confuse this already
snarled issue, by creating a phony association of capitalism and
fascism in the people's minds and causing them to fear all attempts to
move to the right on the political spectrum toward less government and
more freedom.

The fact that such confusions are created so frequently by those of
academic prowess is indicative of one of two factors: 1) the
affliction of intellectual error on their part, or 2) the perpetration
of intellectual deceit on their part. A much clearer and more
realistic picture of the spectrum would be its division into the
following five basic political philosophies:

1) Totalitarianism. This form of government is totally dictatorial,
whether it calls itself communist, fascist or socialist. The state
either controls or has the power to control every avenue of life
(political, economic, sociological and personal).

2) Welfare Statism. This is the form of government utilized in all the
Western democracies today where the state arbitrarily controls the
economy, attempting to assume the responsibility for the people's
welfare through expropriation and redistribution of personal wealth
and regulation of their business activities. Such a political system
is supposed to be the great middle way, or the "vital center." But as
we have seen, it is not really the true middle ground (or Golden Mean)
at all. It is an attempt to move closer to totalitarianism on the far
left, and partially utilize the milder tenets of socialism and fascism
so as to somehow form a caretaker state of half government controls
and half personal freedom. Since there are no specific constitutional
limits placed upon how much government intervention there is to be,
however, the caretaker state continues to move further leftward and
grow larger and larger each decade.

3) Constitutional Republicanism. This is the political-economic system
of strictly limited government and a free marketplace. It does not
leave the role of government up to the whims of the majority will as
our present day welfare state does. It declares in a written
Constitution what basic areas the government is going to be allowed to
function in, and then leaves all the rest up to the individual through
voluntary interaction and initiative.

Its primary underlying principles are: The individual is to rule and
sustain his own life. Any government laws and services that need to be
enacted must always be implemented within the constraints of
federalism, which means first on the local level, then on the state
level, and then on the federal level. And all such laws must be

In other words, the law must be close to the people that it concerns,
and it must not be used as a provider of special privileges -- e.g.,
corporation subsidies, price controls, monopolistic protection for
unions, welfare services, affirmative action programs, non-uniform tax
rates, etc. Government is to be limited in its scope to the three
basic functions necessary for the preservation of domestic order
(military defense, police forces and courts of law) and the
performance of those few public services that cannot be functionally
handled through the marketplace (such as city streets, fire
departments, communicable disease control, etc.).

Anything that can be handled privately should be handled privately. No
government has the right to coerce people into producing services that
they could perform on their own, but choose not to. In this way
freedom of choice is preserved, efficiency is maintained, men remain
their own rulers, and pay for the values of life in direct proportion
to their usage of them. This is the standard defining principle of
government that guided Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and the rest of the
Founding Fathers in their formation of the Republic. It has remained
down to the modern day the undergirding support for all champions of
liberty and domestic order.

For example, most of today's constitutionalists and free-market
advocates would feel comfortable with the following Statement of
Principles by the American Conservative Union in 1964: "We remark the
inherent tendency of government to tyranny. The prudent commonwealth
will therefore labor tirelessly, by means agreeable to its peculiar
genius and traditions, to limit and disperse the power of government.
No task should be confided to a higher authority that can be performed
at a subsidiary level; and whatever the people can do for themselves
should not be confided to government at all." [5]

4) Anarcho-Capitalism. This is the political system advocated by the
followers of Murray N. Rothbard (For a New Liberty) and Bruce L.
Benson (The Enterprise of Law: Justice Without the State). It declares
the Constitution to be invalid, and all organized state functions to
be immoral. According to these theorists, all functions of the state
should be abolished -- not only the tyrannical functions such as
redistribution of income and social engineering, but also the
protective functions such as the military, police and courts of law.
They insist that everything should be privatized and provided by the
marketplace. Thus, anarcho-capitalists do not really want to eliminate
the "protective" government functions; they just want to change them
from state provided to privately provided institutions.

They purposely term themselves "anarcho-capitalists" so as to
distinguish themselves from total anarchy. The basic premise of the
Rothbardians is that if left alone in the absence of a mandatory state
apparatus, men would form their own necessary armies and police forces
privately via the profit motive, and by so doing, would avoid the
chaotic Hobbesian war of all against all that pure anarchy would be.

Rothbardians will dispute it, but in an anarcho-capitalist society,
all mega-corporations would have their own armies and police forces.
So also would the AFL-CIO, the Mafia, the NAACP, the Catholic Church,
and Donald Trump. Any person, group, business, labor union, or
religious sect could and would form their own private defense agencies
to protect their interests and their constituents, all according to
their concept of what is right.

I think it is fair to say that less government is certainly needed in
the modern world, but the anarchist libertarians go far beyond the
pale. In trying to link capitalism to a privatized military, police,
and court system, they diminish the credibility of free enterprise in
the eyes of all rational intellects. Unthinkingly they lend strength
to the collectivist claim that capitalism is the "rule of the jungle."
This is no way to launch a freedom movement to challenge the tyranny
of modern statism.

This writer sees in such a political philosophy the same impossible
utopianism that devoured the far left socialists of the early 20th
century. At that time, the collectivist theme was: "As soon as the
Utopia is realized, the State will wither away." Today,
anarcho-capitalists sing the opposite tune: "As soon as the State
withers away, the Utopia will be realized." Both proclamations fail to
grasp the true nature of human beings and the necessary essentials for
a society of law. Both are attempts to convert an evil into a workable
ideal through the evasion of reality.

5) Anarchism. This is a pre-civilizational "anti-social system" where
there are no organized state institutions (voluntary or otherwise), no
legal framework, no army for defense, no police forces, and no courts
of law -- just the rule of the jungle in the nomadic manner of our
Cro-Magnon period of history. In such a society, anything would go if
you were strong enough or brutal enough, or if you had a large enough
clan of marauders and were willing to live outside the communal bonds
that motivate most human beings.

Where Rothbard's Anarcho-Capitalists Go Wrong

One of the important reasons for the basic libertarian antagonism
towards the welfare state lies in the fact that welfarism is an
attempt to philosophically compromise freedom with totalitarianism
(i.e., merge what is politically "the good" with what is politically
"the evil"). It is an attempt to combine legal and illegal methods in
the same society, which is not only immoral but also impractical, for
such a compromise system will eventually evolve into some variant of
the very evil with which it is trying to compromise. As Ayn Rand
declared throughout her works, there can be no middle ground between
the two fundamental philosophical opposites of slavery and freedom.
This is her famous "either-or principle." Either we are a free
society, or a slave society, but we can't be both.

This all libertarians agree upon, or they're not libertarians. But
such a basic premise works the other way also. Just as it is
impossible to compromise the FREEDOM of a Constitutional Republic with
the slavery of socialism on the far left, to establish a workable
welfare statism, so it is also impossible to compromise the ORDER of a
Constitutional Republic with the chaos of anarchy on the far right, to
establish a workable non-government society.

For example, of all the various life values that I outlined
previously, there are four that when placed on the spectrum show
distinctly the desirability of a strictly limited government system,
as compared to the two extremes of "total government" and "no
government." Each of the three primary forms of government
organization lead to the specific values listed below:

If Aristotle were alive today, he would be telling Murray Rothbard's
anarcho-capitalists that in all four of the above triads of value, the
mean will always evolve under limited government, while either a
"defect" or an "excess" will evolve under the two opposite extremes of
total government and no government. That is to say, a no government
society will ultimately produce an excess of freedom and
individuality, and a defect of order and growth. This is the way much
of human life is constructed -- on a spectrum between opposite vices.

In any attempted compromise between virtue and vice, all you end up
doing is eventually establishing the vice you are trying to compromise
with -- total regimentation and uniformity if it's a leftward
compromise, and total chaos and perversity if it's a rightward
compromise. The anarcho-capitalists fail to see this, that they are
just as distinctly a threat to the ideal of individual freedom as the
welfare statists, only from the opposite side of the spectrum. The
welfare statists threaten individual freedom from the left with too
much government, while anarcho-capitalists threaten from the right
with not enough government. Both experiments will end in tyranny and
disillusionment, one from stifling bureaucracy and the other from the
unchecked terror of brute mentalities.

Misapplying the "Either-Or Principle"

Rothbardians, thus, fail to fully apply the "either-or principle,"
i.e., to the political right as well as to the political left; and as
a result they attempt a compromise between opposite values of good and
evil. But this is not their only error. They misconstrue the either-or
principle in another more serious way.

The either-or principle has made anarchist libertarians think in terms
of good and evil being a TWO-POLED spectrum, and that one must then
choose between one of the two extremes. With such a conception of good
and evil, one must inevitably choose anarchy in order to remain
logically consistent, for anarchy is the opposite extreme to
totalitarianism. Since totalitarianism is obviously an evil, anarchy
must be the good. Thus, anarcho-capitalists maintain that striking a
mean between the two is an indefensible compromise, i.e., trying to
play the middle-of-the-road.

The error in such thinking is that the concept of good and evil is
seldom a two-poled spectrum. It is more often a three-poled spectrum,
as Aristotle demonstrated twenty-four hundred years ago. The ideal (or
good) lies in the middle of the spectrum, with the evil being the two
opposite extremes beyond which one cannot go.

What the anarchist theoreticians miss is that such a three-poled
concept of good and evil does not invalidate the "either-or principle"
on fundamental values. Remember it states that there can be no
compromise between two OPPOSITE fundamental values, i.e., between good
and evil values. This means there can be no compromise between the
Golden Mean (which is the good) and either of the extremes (which are
the evils). Thus, there can be no compromise between a limited
government and totalitarianism, and there can be no compromise between
a limited government and anarchism. To strike a mean between
totalitarianism and anarchism, is not compromising between good and
evil because both of these extremes are evils.

One must always keep in mind the difference between the "mean" and the
"middle-of-the-road." The former is the establishment of the good; the
latter is an attempt to establish a halfway point between the good and
one of the extremes. Welfarism is a middle-of-the-road position on the
spectrum and so is anarcho-capitalism, for they attempt to combine
aspects of both the mean and the extreme (i.e., compromise the good
with the evil). So anarcho-capitalists are making a very profound
error when they claim that to espouse the doctrine of the mean is to
abandon adherence to principle in favor of the "middle-or-the-road."
On the contrary, it is they, the anarcho-capitalists, who have assumed
a middle-of-the-road position -- i.e., a compromise between the
political good and the political evil.

Murray Rothbard did not understand Aristotle's doctrine of the mean
and its profound implications for a free society. The Founding Fathers
did understand it, at least implicitly, and as a consequence, they
established a limited constitutional government as the ideal for free
men. They understood that the extremes were evil, and thus must be
avoided. Rothbard's failure to grasp this has led his followers into a
futile attempt to enshrine a modified anarchism as some sort of ideal
society. The pied piper has led the children off into the forest, and
they are now lost. Sadly the libertarian movement is lost too until it
can come to understand Aristotelian wisdom again.

There are several other errors that anarchists make (e.g., they
subscribe to Rand's flawed "non-aggression principle"), but such
errors are beyond the scope of this essay. My forthcoming book,
Reality's Golden Mean, contains a 57-page chapter with a much deeper
analysis of the anarcho-libertarian approach that exposes all the
fundamental flaws upon which Murray Rothbard and Bruce Benson have
erected their radical thesis. (To read a review of the book, click

What I demonstrate in the book is that the doctrine of the mean is a
natural law instilled into reality that can be used theoretically to
establish what the "universal political good" is for man. The law of
the mean is to the intellectual realm what the law of gravity is to
the physical realm. It is a fixed, philosophical North Star that can
be used to direct our lives and our societies toward the ideal. Our
modern academics and media pundits are totally confused as to the
mean's applicability and universality in our lives. When properly
understood, the doctrine of the mean demonstrates convincingly that
the true political ideal is what the Founding Fathers attempted to
establish -- a system of limited government based upon OBJECTIVE LAW,
i.e., equal rights under the law.

It is only at the center of the spectrum (the mean) that objective law
can be found, and it is only a limited Constitutional Republic that
can achieve this mean. All other systems to the authoritarian left or
to the anarchistic right are based, to some degree or another, on
ARBITRARY LAW out of which come eventually tyranny and chaos. The
fundamental values of civilization -- freedom, order, and justice --
cannot exist without a system of objective law; and objective law
cannot exist if a country strays away from the "vital center" of the
spectrum, i.e., the Golden Mean.

Ignoring Half of Reality

To understand how thoroughly corrupt and irrational our modern day
academics and media pundits are on this issue of the political
spectrum, we now need to investigate how they "ignore the right half
of reality." Below is another view of the correct spectrum whereby the
mean is republicanism midway between the opposite extremes of statism
and anarchism.

On the statist left, there are two categories -- the extreme of
totalitarianism and its modified version of authoritarianism (i.e.,
the welfare state), which is what all the Western political systems of
the world have become. On the anarchist right, there are two
categories -- the extreme of total anarchy and its modified version of
anarcho-capitalism, which is what many of today's libertarians
espouse. In the center lies the mean of a Constitutional Republic,
which the Founding Fathers espoused. These fundamental categories
represent the entirety of political reality.

Observe, however, how the above depiction of political reality is
distorted to serve the advocates of statism and their goals. The
primary categories of republicanism and anarchism are basically
ignored in all orthodox portrayals of the political spectrum. Our
professors in the colleges and our talking heads in the media promote
a spectrum that entails only positions within the category of statism
on the left. The entire right side of the spectrum, one-half to
two-thirds of reality, is simply ignored.

For example, we are presented over and over again on all the TV talk
shows with representatives supposedly from the "left" and from the
"right," and often from someone who attempts to carve out a "middle
ground." This makes it appear as if the presenter is unbiased,
attempting to present all sides, searching for the truth. But all
three of these representatives (let's say for example, Ted Kennedy for
the left, Rudy Giuliani for the middle ground, and Newt Gingrich for
the right) subscribe to the concept of a highly centralized mega-state
running the lives of Americans from Washington. All three advocate the
violation of individual rights in order to convey group privileges.
All three shy away from any allegiance to the original vision of
America as a Republic of States -- instead maintaining that America is
a "mass democracy." All three support a progressive income tax and
substantial redistribution of wealth. All three are philosophical
statists despite their harmonious paeans to the Constitution and the
Founding Fathers.

Observe also that all strict constitutionalists and libertarians are
omitted from debates in the media with their ideas either suppressed
or caricatured in academic circles. (Unfortunately Rothbard's
utopianism lends credence to the statist caricature of
libertarianism.) As a result, the media and our schools are able to
present a totally false picture of political reality because their
left-center-right portrayal of politics is nothing but a division of
the category of statism into meaningless sub-categories of liberals,
moderates, and conservatives. The category of anarchism is totally
ignored, while the category of republicanism is seldom acknowledged,
and then only to smear it as "out there in the fever swamps of
right-wing extremism" where fascists, terrorists, wacko militia
groups, and the KKK reside.

In this way, the statist establishment can convey to an unsuspecting
populace that our only basic choice is between three different
versions of statism rather than between statism, republicanism, and
anarchism. Who wins in this kind of contest? Only the statist
mentalities who wish for larger and larger government. If the reader
has ever wondered why government grows relentlessly more mastodonic
every decade, it is because the American people during the past 80
years have been taught that such largesse is our only choice.

We have shrunk our view of political reality down to one category --
STATISM -- and have declared the political spectrum to be solely
within its parameters. We should, therefore, not be surprised when the
citizens of America vote in lockstep for more and more government
programs every year, or when our young people usher forth from their
educational years ignorant of the great philosophical issues that
ignited the American Revolution.

It is a horrifying indictment upon the distortion of our times and our
minds when we condemn those who are preaching ideological adherence to
the Golden Mean as "fanatical" and "extreme." But that is precisely
what the welfare state authoritarians of today are doing when they
proclaim all those on the "far political right" to be wild eyed
extremists. Actually it is the welfare state authoritarians who are
the extremists. It is they who are relentlessly pushing America out
toward the left end of the spectrum and the "regimentation" of total
government. And in like manner, Rothbard's anarchist libertarians are
trying to push America out toward the right end of the spectrum and
the "chaos" of no government. It is we, the laissez-faire capitalists,
the advocates of a strict constitutional government, who are solidly
rooted in the center of reality firmly fixed upon truth and the ideal.

In conclusion, a Constitutional Republic (and its economic corollary
of capitalism), operating within the constraints of federalism, is the
true VITAL CENTER if the "entirety of reality" is taken into
consideration. The fact that our establishment intellectuals and media
pundits today choose to blot out a great chunk of reality in their
explanations is indicative of a society that has lost its crucial
philosophical moorings. In such a society, freedom and sanity are
headed for extinction.


1. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Translated by Martin Ostwald (New
York: Liberal Arts Press, Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1962), Book II, Chapters
7 & 8.

2. Martin Gerhard Giesbrecht, The Evolution of Economic Society: An
Introduction ToEconomics (San Francisco: W.H. Freeman & Co., 1972), p.

3. George G. Bruntz and Ronald B. Edgerton, Understanding Our
Government (Boston: Ginn and Company, 1971), p. 17.

4. Crane Brinton, Ideas and Men: The Story of Western Thought
(Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1963), p. 354.

5. Cited by Frank S. Meyer in Left, Right and Center: Essays on
Liberalism and Conservatism in the United States, Robert A. Goldwin,
ed. (Chicago: Rand McNally& Co., 1965), p. 9. Emphasis added.

Nelson Hultberg
Americans for a Free Republic

Mike, Derek reposted it in full text above and I reposted the link
just before you asked, let me knoe if thats OK. I think you may have
issues with some of what he says. Phil


  This article is a good analysis of a one-dimensional political spectrum that arranges political philosophies from left to right. But we have already gone beyond that to the Nolan or Advocates Chart ( http://www.self-gov.org ), which provides a much better model, in my opinion. It seems probable that someone like Hultberg writing a long article on the topic of the political spectrum would have heard of the Nolan Chart -- the question is then, why does he give it no mention? My guess is because it would disrupt his simple and orderly thesis in which the left is equated with tyranny and the right with freedom.

Yours in liberty,
        <<< Starchild >>>


I was just reposting the article per Michael's request of Phil. I
agree with what you say below.


Starchild, I like the smallwst political quiz, but it does not take on
the right left, blue red war directly. The conventional right and left
are in a dance together to the abyss. To refuse to join the dance is
to be considered weird. This ecplains perfectly why the rigth left
dichotomy is false. The situation reminds of the old joke, a Jew walks
into a bar in Ireland. The bartender asks him, are you catholic or
Protestant, I need to know because we don't like them kind here.The
guy responds, I'm Jewish. the bartender atops for a minute then asks,
well, are you a Protestant Jew, or a Catholic Jew...bada bads bump...

So I like a scale of Regimentation on the left, freedom in the middle
and chaos on the rightt.

If you choose, you can put voluntary socialism right ther in the
middle with market capitalism. But every one of the people I know who
joined communes and I know quite a few through my x bf, ultimately had
trouble with the regimentation of the voluntary commune and left.

I would add a Y axis, nased on the men are from mars and women are
from venus hypothesis. On the ground, it makes little difference if
you are in fachist concentration camp or a communist gulag. The
differnces are based on the romance that you crossed to become an
outsider and thus a prisoner to be punished. The romance is no more
real than the differce betweenwarring religions. The commies have a
venus romance, more female,we can all get along, as long as you give
up your selfinsh individuality and give yourself completely to the
group. This way we can all be happy. The fashists or national
socialists, have more of a masculine, daddy, nationalistic, approach.
Same concentration camp, but here the goal is more to futther a dream
of conquest and triumph for the group. the concentration camp is
because, you either with us or agin us. My x bf's mon, an old hippie,
and conscientios objector in WWII used to asways say, the far right
and far left meet at the back door.