A model is a way of organizing otherwise complex information. The Spherical Model is an alternative to the left wing/right wing model, to better organize political ideas, as well as economic and social ideas and their interrelationships. A detailed description of the Spherical Model is on the website by that name—about 50 or so pages worth of information divided into the three categories (political, economic, and social). I link to this info pretty regularly in the blog—and the purpose of the blog is to apply the Spherical Model ideas to what’s happening in our country and our world.
While I believe the Spherical Model is a valuable improvement over the right/left paradigm, I am not unrealistic enough to assume the world will stop using that entrenched model and suddenly start using mine. But I hope that this will be a tool to bring greater understanding to anyone who learns about it. And I hope readers will also benefit from the commentary, which comes from a worldview that seeks freedom, free enterprise, and civilization.
Here’s the introduction from the website:
The model came about in early 2004. I was looking for a way to describe the political spectrum to my homeschooled children. For reasons that show up in the article called “The Political World Is Round,” the model became three-dimensional. And from there many things fit into place. When I applied the spherical model to social/moral/civilization ideas, it fit there remarkably well. So I overlaid it on economic ideas, and it made sense there as well. In fact, it makes more sense when you see the political, economic, and social layers together. The eventual result is this website, to share the model.
The sphere, like a globe, has poles and hemispheres. So I use terms like north, south, east, and west directionally on the sphere—without these terms having any relationship to geographic locations on earth. It is essentially arbitrary how I use these directions. There’s a good vs. bad relationship between what I call north and south. But east and west are essentially neutral with decisions depending on specific situations.
North on the sphere means freedom. South on the sphere means tyranny. The western hemisphere represents individual/local interest. The eastern hemisphere represents larger interests, such as state, national, or global interests. Ideas fall somewhere on the sphere based on how they fit within these dichotomies: freedom vs. tyranny as well as localized interests vs. larger community interests.
If this model is true, then civilization (and general happiness of people) will thrive when the form of government stays firmly in the freedom zone, and the economy of this civilization will generally flourish and be resilient when recovering from disasters. But political freedom and free market do not guarantee thriving civilization, which depends on people’s social behavior. However, when people behave less civilized, it is highly likely that loss of freedom and deterioration of free market will follow. So we could say civilized behavior is the key to maintaining freedom and prosperity.
I hope you'll take the time to read the Spherical Model concepts on the website.
Those of us with “conservative” philosophy have often recently been called “right-wing extremists,” as though compromising between freedom and tyranny brings about a better result than aiming for freedom. The Spherical Model shows how it isn’t possible to be too far north, away from tyranny; they are polar opposites. The framing of the argument is often confined only to the southern hemisphere, with the debate between state control and chaos (control by the strongest and pushiest). People who want to “conserve”—or regain—freedom reject that either/or choice. If we identify the God-given principles of freedom and live by them, we can come closest to political freedom for all.
I believe that was the brilliant aim of the writers of the US Constitution. I also believe it is possible to understand their aims by reading what they wrote at the time, and how they lived their lives. As a group, our founders were a surprisingly moral and thoughtful group.
Similar to the political uncompromising avoidance of tyranny, we get general prosperity when we allow the people who earn wealth to decide how to spend it, rather than ceding that choice to some distant central planner. And we get civilization rather than tyranny when we live the principles of civilization, which are known through God’s word and perpetuated through healthy families.
When you look at the three overlaid spheres—political, economic, and social—you can see why it isn’t really possible to be a political/economic “conservative” but social “liberal.” We need better words (or better definitions) than conservative and liberal. But, when you understand the interrelationships by looking at the location on the sphere for various ideas, you can see how to judge whether an idea will get us to the outcome we desire.
I appreciate readers who have joined me to look at these ideas during the first 100 posts. I hope you’ll continue reading and sharing your ideas with me as well.