The Two-dimensional Political Map
- Here is a post I made to this discussion on the Joel on Software forum
regarding Paul Graham's new essay "Inequality and Risk":
I've usually found value in Paul Graham's essays, even when I don't agree with
him. However, his latest simply parrots the standard right-wing economic
>>>>I found two problems with this statement. The first one is called "labeling".
You've labeled Paul Graham as parroting right-wing economic arguments, and
expected us to agree with you that it was thus wrong. Yet, you gave no
arguments for why the article was wrong. A person who tries to convince
others of something needs to reason his arguments from more basic, commonly
agreed facts. Saying it is wrong because it's "Socialiastic", "Fascistic", or
whatever is not enough.
The other and more serious problem is that you believe what Graham says is
right-winged. While right-wing people often make such arguments, they are not
the only ones. Libertarians, Objectivists, etc. also believe in Economic
freedom, and yet they are by no means right-winged.
In fact, there are two axis to the political map: individual freedom and
economical freedom. The Left seems to uphold individual freedom while
supporting economical restrictions. The Right supports economical freedom
while believing that individual freedom is not that important. Libertarians
believe that both economical and individual freedom are important. There are
also authoritarians who think that none are important.
Refer to this site for more information:
It is true that once upon a time there was a single dimensional political map
until the Liberals diverged into Libertarians and the current Left which
believes in economical restrictions. But now we have a two-dimensional
You are not the only person who makes this mistake. Richard M. Stallman says
in a Eurohacker interview with him
("http://eurohacker.mine.nu/issue2/a05.html") that Eric S. Raymond "is a
right-wing anarchist", despite the fact Raymond is a self-proclaimed
libertarian who rejects both the Left and the Right. In an IRC conversation I
had on Freenode someone said that Objectivists are ultra-right-wing, despite
the fact they are fanatical about individual rights.
I read that article by Paul Graham you linked to, and agreed with it
completely. Graham has a point. One thing he missed I think was stating the
fact that societies can become prosperous enough so even the poor will be
relatively rich. For example, in some countries many poor people starve or
used to starve to death. On the other hand, in First-world countries, there
is an abundant food supply and as a result even the poor are well-fed. In the
States and other countries, many Middle-Class people can afford to frequently
travel by airplanes. Once computers were extremely costy and could only be
afforded by large organizations. Nowadays much more powerful, compact and
otherwise superior computers are common in almost every household.
These are all examples that while the economical imbalance is preserved, the
economical well-being of everybody - poor and rich - grows.
Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
95% of the programmers consider 95% of the code they did not write, in the