The reason we can’t just all be moderate, middle of the road people is because the middle of the road is defined by the edges of the road. It’s a relative position, not an absolute one.
- The line down the middle only exists in reference to the positions of the parties. It is always defined by their argument. There is no state of perfect conservatism or progressivism. There is no platonic ideal for these. It is always defined by the current cultural and political context. You can’t state a political platform for either lacking that context. But they do have basic predictable roles.
- The Venn overlap is what we pretty much all agree on (except for loonies)
- The white horizontal line is “The middle of the road” the somewhat disputed territory we can talk about with bargains and compromises.
- Between the thick dotted lines and the black lines are areas of pretty fundamental disagreement. Moving outward toward either edge comes a less acceptable AND less accepting range.
- The extreme edges (with the solid black lines) are important because they represent the borders of the field where anything further is “out of bounds”
Approaching the edges, in both directions the beliefs increase in “pressure”, pushing back and becoming more and more unilateral in their thinking until at the the very edge past the black lines we find the small numbers of people who imagine war against the opposition is the only answer.
The progressive/conservative divide is of critical importance for human communities because it allows for mobility of response. For example, communities need to be more accepting or rejecting of outsiders at different times. Also, it allows cultures to define themselves organically around the “comfort zone” generated by the collective individuals.
About the overall idea: Clearly there are a bunch of things I haven’t figured out how to include in this visual, it’s just a work in progress…
If you like this kind of thing check out Conservative vs Progressive: Cultural Homeostasis and The real role of conservative and progressive