Monday, March 5, 2012

Year Two Begins

This is day one of the second year of the Spherical Model blog. If you read just occasionally, you may not have a clue about the meaning of the name. The Spherical Model is an alternative to the right/left line model for looking at political ideas. You can read in much more detail at

The purpose of the blog is to look at examples and ideas that come up in the news or in life, to support the Spherical Model concepts. From March –December 2011 I wrote weekdays (and a few Saturdays). Since the first of 2012 I’ve gone to posting three times a week. The archives might be worth checking out. Writing that much in a year is a good sized book’s worth of material (222 posts as of today).

I continue to search for easier and clearer ways to convey the Spherical Model ideas. I hoped that by now I would have a video (at least what I could accomplish with my simple camera and very limited technical skills) to give a visual Spherical Model lesson in about five minutes. Still working on that. The raw version of Take I is actually on my computer, but not yet usable.
So, in lieu of actual video, today’s anniversary celebration post is the script for the video:

The Spherical Model
Is there a better way of looking at political ideas than right or left?
Because there is nothing innately conservative about the right or innately liberal about the left. In fact, the directional terms come from the seating arrangement of European parliaments, in which conservatives favored retaining the monarchy while liberals were in favor of people’s power.
So the typical line model used to describe political ideas as right and left is just a seating arrangement. Yet we’ve come to think of this line as a spectrum.

We tend to think of the far ends as extreme, assuming there’s some virtue in being balanced in the middle. We refer to our nation as center right—just a little more conservative than exactly center.
But what are the extremes? Do we assume communism or socialism at the extreme left, and fascism at the extreme right?
[line with communism and fascism as the extremes]

That can’t be right, because communism and fascism are both totalitarian statist tyrannies, just slightly different flavors. Nazi means “national socialist party” and the communist Soviet Union’s name was Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
So if Nazis and communists aren’t diametric opposites, then what are the logical extremes? How about total government control, or tyranny, versus total lack of government control, or anarchy? 

That’s better. Then freedom is that perfect balance in the middle.
But wait; there’s a problem with this model: It’s common in history for people suffering in anarchy to turn for relief to total government control—anything for security. But in this model, as a people move to the left, they have to pass through that balanced freedom section. You’d think that it would be very common for someone to stop and say, “Hey, this freedom is good. Let’s stop going leftward and stay here.” But that pretty much never happens. But going directly from chaos to state control is common.
Plus, notice that there’s not that much difference between the tyranny of the state and the tyranny of anarchy. Total government control means the state has all the power—the police, the military. The state can do what it wants, and the mere citizen is without any rights except what the state decides to grant. Anarchy, on the other hand, means that power belongs to whoever is stronger and meaner than the next guy. If you threaten to beat people up (or kill them) if they don’t give you all their belongings, and you’re strong enough to mean it, then you have power. If someone else is stronger or better armed than you are, then you have to yield power to them.
In other words, anarchy, while less organized, is power in the hands of the strongest and best armed—just like a tyrannical government.
So maybe government tyranny and anarchic tyranny are pretty close to the same thing.
[bring anarchy and tyranny together at one end, with freedom at the other end]
So tyranny and freedom are really the opposite extremes.
Not bad. But it puts all those different kinds of tyrannies in the same location, and maybe there are differences worth noting.
This simple line doesn’t give us the dimensions we need. So what if we use three dimensions, a sphere? If we draw a line at the equator, we can separate freedom (northern hemisphere) from tyranny (southern hemisphere). And then we can draw a longitudinal dividing line, with more local interests in the western hemisphere and larger interests—from state to nation, to international, in the eastern hemisphere.
We call this the Spherical Model.
Down here in the south, you can see that one side of tyranny is the chaos of anarchy, and the other side is the totalitarian control of government tyranny. It’s easy to get from one to the other—which is what much of world history has shown us. You can have communism, socialism, and Nazism as separate points in their quartersphere, based on how much control they exert on their people (southern direction), or how far they plan to expand (toward the eastward extreme of world domination).
Up in the freedom zone, location is mostly a matter of whose interest. Free people don’t yield power to a governing authority beyond the appropriate interest. Families make their own decisions about the care, upbringing, and education of their children. Communities on up to cities and counties decide on local law enforcement and protection needs. States (or provinces) deal with their particular infrastructure and laws. Only very limited powers would be granted to a nation—as are enumerated in the US Constitution. And that sovereignty would never yield to an international power, but would cooperate with other free sovereignties concerning international issues.
If we identify ideologies according to level of control exerted onto free people, and also their level of interest, we can identify location on the sphere. And that will tell us how close we are to thriving in the freedom zone—up here above the 45th parallel.
We can use the spherical model again for economic ideas: the north will be free enterprise, and the south will be controlled economy. Those differences have direct relationships with political ideologies, so we can overlay the economic sphere right over the political sphere and see how things interrelate.
And what about social ideologies? Again, we can use the same sphere; the north will be civilization, and the south will be savagery.
Let’s define civilization in a specific way: families remain intact and thriving; neighbors—and neighboring entities—live among one another in peace; free enterprise thrives, and poverty becomes meaningless; creativity abounds; people generally self-restrain, but when they don’t, laws and appropriate authorities deal with the lawbreakers in fair and predictable ways.
Savagery is exemplified by broken families, strife, poverty, cruelty, lack of progress, and unpredictable and unfair enforcement of arbitrary rules. Just as you see in organized crime, gangs and tribal warfare in the southwest anarchy quartersphere, and in the various flavors of totalitarian regimes in the southeast quartersphere. So the civilization/social sphere overlays the other two.
In fact, if we can identify the formula for civilization, we’re set up to spread freedom and free enterprise in the interrelated spheres.
The question becomes, then, not which is better, left of right? But what are the principles of civilization, which then allow for freedom and prosperity?
There’s no too far north extreme; there’s only getting north enough and doing what it takes to stay there, generation after generation, without southward slipping.

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