Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Political Theory

I have a new-to-me political theory. In pencil and paper role playing games (like dungeons and dragons) characters are classified using two different scales: order and morality. There are 3 classifications on each scale, resulting in nine different possible combinations. The order scale goes from chaos to lawful, and the morality scales from evil to good. Applying one scale only tells half the story -- for example, an ruthless dictator who nevertheless rules with order and regulations would be evil, but not lawless. An independent man who is a free spirit would be a good man but not lawful. And so forth.

I think describing people as liberals or conservatives is short sighted. We really need two scales: ideology and elitism. In this way, we can successfully categorize people like George W. Bush without feeling betrayed. He is a somewhat conservative elitist. On this scale his similarities with Ted Kennedy is revealed, because Kennedy is a liberal elitist. Reagan was, on some level, an elitist. Diane Feinstein is an elitist of the worst order.

Elitists don't believe that the "common" folk are able to run the country, to think, or to reason. They believe that the proletariat of society need to be taken care of. This is demonstrated in various means. Socialists do it through economic means; conservatives do it through legislative action such as the current amnesty bill.

I'm going to tag the opposite of Elitism as Pluralism. This should not be confused with the pluralist theory of power in a democracy. Instead, pluralists truly believe in democracy, or rule by the people of the people. Pluralists as politicians do not suppose to know what is best for their constituents, and exist to serve their constituents.

I think the vast majority of Americans are pluralists. Tthe ideals of the Minutemen and the American pioneers embody pluralism. "Can Do" is their motto.

So next time you disagree with a politician, analyze it. Are you upset with their political philosophy, or their relative elitism?