For a Kinder, Gentler Society
The Political Spectrum
The Rational Foundations of Liberty and Prosperity
  • Anthony C. Patton
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The Political Spectrum. The Rational Foundations of Liberty and Prosperity
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The Political Spectrum sets out to identify the timeless, universal principles of political philosophy that shape how we live as a society, from democracy in Ancient Greece and the aristocracies of the Enlightenment to the tribal lands of Pakistan and the modern state that is the United States of America. 

Unlike most political philosophies that rest on traditional foundations such as rights, private property, or human nature, The Political Spectrum focuses on the fundamental ideas dividing the left and the right today to identify a rational middle ground. 

Tracing the most insightful ideas from great thinkers in the Western tradition, The Political Spectrum identifies two fundamental institutions that all societies must manage in a rational way in order to survive.

Along the way, the book explores the tension between liberty and the individual’s duty to society and the proper roles of family and state. Basing the analysis on the four pillars of political philosophy—human nature, institutions, wealth, and justice—The Political Spectrum offers a vision for resolving the political divide in a way that promotes liberty and prosperity.


About the Author

Anthony C. Patton has worked with the U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense, and Department of State. He has served in Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Pakistan, Italy, and Greece, gaining insights into the political and social scene and the competing interests of the elites and the common people in developing countries.

He earned an MBA with high honors at Thunderbird - School of Global Management and a BA from Augsburg College with a double major in mathematics and philosophy, magna cum laude.

Patton has also written a novel, Unfaithfully Yours, and The World as Story, a book designed to help writers and story tellers to understand the ideas of story and life.

About the Book
What values do we need to promote for the overall wellbeing of mankind? Is there a "correct" position on the political spectrum that we imagine spanning from the far left to the far right? We all seem to have an intuitive grasp of what "left" and...
What values do we need to promote for the overall wellbeing of mankind? Is there a "correct" position on the political spectrum that we imagine spanning from the far left to the far right? We all seem to have an intuitive grasp of what "left" and "right" or "progressive" and "conservative" mean, but most people would not agree on all the specifics. Can a conservative ever support the right of a woman to have an abortion? Can a liberal ever support the rights of a fetus? This book aims to bring some clarity to the left-right political spectrum, as well as to identify which point along the spectrum is best positioned to promote liberty and sustainable prosperity in a modern state. The author concludes that two essential principles would be a prohibition on deficit spending and upholding the sanctity of monogamous procreation.
Introduction
The inspiration for writing this book was the incessant fighting we see today between Democrats and Republicans in the USA. I am always surprised by how apparently normal people who live similar lives - they put their pants on one leg at a time, go to work, eat food, listen to music, pay the bills, etc. - can have such radically different...
The inspiration for writing this book was the incessant fighting we see today between Democrats and Republicans in the USA. I am always surprised by how apparently normal people who live similar lives - they put their pants on one leg at a time, go to work, eat food, listen to music, pay the bills, etc. - can have such radically different political beliefs. People who otherwise would probably be good neighbors might choke each other during an argument about abortion or guns. Nations go to war, with tens of millions of people killed in the name of communism and fascism during the twentieth century. People brandish terms like left wing and right wing, communist and fascist, or liberal and conservative, Democrat or Republican, often without sufficient clarity to explain the differences. Thus, I set out to better understand how we arrived at this point of political divide by studying political philosophy with the goal of identifying any fundamental, universal principles that would allow us to better assess and correct our current trajectory.

e know what it means to pass a budget or change marginal income tax rates, but does anyone really agree on how to define left or right in politics, aside from vague intuitions? We believe the left-to-right divide implies a continuum of beliefs, with people on the opposite ends of the political spectrum having often contradictory beliefs (regarding the size of government, abortions, guns, and so on), but people talk about being moderate right or moderate left without clarifying what they mean. How do we know where a set of beliefs can be situated along the political spectrum? What are the key markers along the political spectrum to tell us where we are and to define our own beliefs? …

Vague Intuitions

One conclusion I reached about political philosophy from looking back on my own life experiences, watching political battles play out in elections, and living in several foreign countries around the world was that many of our core political beliefs - about taxes, abortion, welfare, military, etc. - especially as a young adult but even well into adulthood, are grounded in emotions and are not the result of a rational thought process. They are the result of a vague, intuitive process that often trembles in the face of scrutiny. For reasons I do not understand and will not attempt to explain in this book, our experiences and thoughts from a young age lead us down one particular path or another that tends to be associated with a portfolio of political beliefs; and once we start down one path, as would be the case with choosing a profession or living in a particular society, it is difficult to change course as the neurons in our brain begin to crystallize and we start looking at the world through one set of lenses to the exclusion of other lenses. We can attribute our political beliefs to our parents, our environment, our food (such as whether we consume enough protein), the media, politics, you name it, but even these variables do not have the power of predicting cause and effect with scientific precision because people in nearly identical environments often end up with conflicting political beliefs as well as different results in terms of political stability and economic growth.

…The goal of studying political philosophy is to carefully uproot these vague intuitions and get a bird’s eye view of the entire political spectrum by observing the world through the lenses of fundamental, universal principles, which should allow us to make informed decisions about which lenses to use for particular situations and where to situate ourselves along the political spectrum. For example, if we want to achieve artistry in photography, we have to use the correct lenses in a correct manner.…

Two Fundamental Institutions

According to Fukuyama, institutions are "persistent rules that shape, limit, and channel human behavior," which is an important point of departure for political philosophy because most political theorists, on the left and the right, agree that strong institutions are the key to good governance, even if they disagree on the specifics. Fukuyama’s analysis focuses on three big institutions: 1. the state, 2. the rule of law, and 3. a mechanism for accountability. First, the institution of the state is defined as a central authority that can exercise a monopoly of legitimate force over its territory to keep peace and enforce the law. A patrimonial state, the earliest form of a state, is based on the idea that the polity is the personal property of the ruler and is an extension of his household. Although this type of state has been common throughout history, even today, and can even be stable, it falls short of the ideal. A modern state is based on the idea that a citizen’s relationship to the ruler does not depend on personal ties but simply on one’s status as a citizen, with recruitment to administrative positions based on impersonal criteria such as merit, education, or technical knowledge.…

Table of Contents
Introduction Part I Two Fundamental Institutions Chapter One: The Institution of Resource Management: The Prohibition of Deficit Spending Chapter Two: The Institution of Procreatio
Introduction
Part I
Two Fundamental Institutions
Chapter One: The Institution of Resource Management: The Prohibition of Deficit Spending
Chapter Two: The Institution of Procreation: The Sanctity of Monogamous Procreation
Part II
The Four Pillars
Chapter Three: Human Nature
Chapter Four: Institutions
Chapter Five: Wealth
Chapter Six: Justice
Part III
Parerga and Paralipomena
Selected Bibliography


Year: 2015
BISAC: POL042020 POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Conservatism & Liberalism
BISAC: POL032000 POLITICAL SCIENCE / Essays
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ISBN: 978-1-62894-168-5
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