Livingstone reporting in! It’s been a long and exciting 2014 and it’s time to close out the year, with the hint to the next year. I bring you…THE HORSESHOE THEORY!
What is “Horseshoe Theory” you ask? I have the answer! Check the link.
If you’re too lazy to click a link (kill yourself now), I’ll give you a summery.
I’ll start with the traditional ideological spectrum to provide context. This spectrum is the one that people point to for describing the extremes on the right and the left.
The above spectrum has a number of flaws but this is considered the “traditional” way of thinking regarding political ideology. However many would argue that the spectrum looks like something closer to this.
Horseshoe Theory is the theory that the extreme right and left sides of the political and ideological spectrum are actually much closer to each other then the other parts of the political spectrum. As such, they are NOT in a straight line but curve downwards toward each other like a horseshoe. The curved side of the horseshoe represents moderation, constructive behavior and the ideal society. However anything below the middle line, and each of the ends are below the line, represents, extremist, totalitarian and destructive behavior. I hope you now understand the above picture and the summery of Horseshoe Theory.
Here is why I like Horseshoe Theory better. I’m sure some of you are familiar with another concept that regards ideology as a circle and that if you go in one direction for a while you get to something else. If you ask me, that’s the caveman drawing of the political spectrums and we’re due for something better. Also here is why Horseshoe Theory is better then The Straight Line. The Straight Line has been used to say that each end of the political spectrum turns into an extreme, but that opens the door for accusations of false equivalency and doesn’t visually show people that the extremes at the end of each ideological spectrum are one and the same.
Familiarize yourself with this theory. Not only will it be a major building block of this blog, I would argue that in some ways it is the cornerstone to how I see the world around me. Don’t be surprised when this theory goes mainstream. Also don’t be surprised if I realize I’m full of shit and write this whole thing off.
Logically, some to many of your are still skeptics to this thought process. Understandable. Anytime we learn a new thing that doesn’t fit into our understanding of the world, we are resistant to it.
Quick Tangent: When someone is resistant to a new idea, don’t beat them over the head. From an evolutionary psychology perspective, being resistant to new ideas makes a ton of sense. We cling to the things that we are taught as children, and once we become of age, we still cling to those ideas because we’ve survived this far with them. Logically, why would you want to absorb new ideas? You made it this far with the current ideas! Why change? New ideas such as “eat this porcupine”, “swim far out into the ocean so we can catch bigger fish”, and “ignore the fact that piss is yellow, maybe we should drink it!” probably got a lot of people killed. So for the early human, new ideas were bad news. So when someone shows any resistance to an idea, it’s just our natural biological machinery kicking into gear. The best way to get someone to change the way they think…is the crowd effect. The more people believe something, the more people are likely to believe it as well. Morality and ideology can heavily be tied to “well everyone is doing it”. Yes that may be sad, but it also makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. If enough people are doing something, then it probably isn’t a negative thing and you should do it too to survive and propagate yourself.
Tangent over! So yes, this idea may be skeptical for you animals so let me discuss the current ideology and then get to some examples.
On the right wing side of American politics, there exists the small government, big military, religious right, and libertarian block. On the left side…big government, secular, and minority social justice movement. Also FYI, this is a really weak explanation of the current political system which IMO doesn’t have any true rock solid ideals. The politics and ideology of the sides morph and change depending on which party is in power. Which is why Horseshoe Theory is probably the most apt theory for us to understand our current American system.
Label Ostracizing – The use of labels to politically, economically, militarily and socially ostracize someone who disagrees with their ideology.
Examples of Label Ostracizing.
The extremist right will call some
1. A heretic
2. A terrorist
3. A fag
4. An antiamerican
5. An Antiwhite
6. A pussy
And the extremist left will call someone
1. A bigot
2. A racist
3. An antisemite
4. A homophobe
5. An islamaphobe
6. A sexist
Anyone who does that is –
The above labels are used by the individual or group because they can quickly describe and situation or act. However, being humans/animals, anytime we discover something that can bend the will of others, we broaden it’s definition for a more expanded us. And then we slap the label on anything or anyone we don’t like, even if the label’s connection is flimsy at best.
Here are some examples of labels in action.
Someone likes yoga? Call them a heretic.
Someone criticizes Israel’s military strategy in the Middle East? Say that they’re antisemitic.
Someone wants to politically protest the actions of the government or corporation? Accuse them of being a terrorist.
Someone makes an inappropriate racial joke? Call them a racist.
Each of the above words can apply, but none of these words were created for how they are used in the examples. These labels have the power to break people not just individually, but in their careers, political opportunities, socially and mentally. Do each of the above words have a use? Ab-so-fucking-lutely. We must stand strong against terrorism, attacks on religion, people who are antisemitic, and a race-based power structure in America. But throwing those labels around to either silence dissent or to not answer back intellectually is extremist in itself. People may say things that we vehemently disagree with, but we must always take the high road and consider what they are saying and do our best to intellectually engage them. Not only will they learn something that may have a far more profound impact on them in how they see the world, they will be impressed with your cool moderation and hell they might even change! Or you might learn something new! Success!
Anyone on the rounded end of the spectrum here seeks to avoid labels as much as humanly possible. Even when someone is firing labels at you without any sincere attempt at intellectual discourse, you avoid labels and engage intellectually. You search for the truth even if someone tells you that what you are saying makes you XYZ label. And you don’t label people and try to get to the truth of what they are saying and you try to understand why they feel that way.
Freedom Stripping – Stripping The People of their rights and pushing for a totalitarian measures.
Examples of Freedom Stripping.
The extremist left will
1. Violate someone’s freedom of assembly by telling them who they can or can’t do business with.
2. Violate the constitution by banning someone’s ability to own guns.
3. Violate freedom of choice by banning the ability to use products that threaten the environment.
4. Violate free speech by banning things that are offensive.
5. Violate freedom of choice by banning unhealthy food products
The extremist right will
1. Violate the equal protection clause by banning gay marriage.
2. Violate the establishment clause by blocking other religions.
3. Violate the establishment clause by banning non-believers from serving in government.
4. Violate free speech by banning things that are offensive.
5. Violate the right to privacy by illegally spying on it’s citizens.
Ultimately, all the above comes down to taking away someone’s freedom of choice. And it will be illustrated with this picture.
If we consider, The People, as everyone who lives in America, then all of the above examples are ways that the right and left try to strip away power from the people at large. Many times, members of the extremes will seek to leverage their political power to break “their opponents” on the other side of the political spectrum by stripping them of rights so they can further their own power.
Here are some examples.
The extremist left will routinely argue for the limiting of gun ownership with some politicians even calling for an outright ban. They are essentially arguing that only the politic and military should own military grade guns or even guns at all. Considering the police and military make up around 3-5 million Americans out of a population of 340 million…they want the 1%ers to own all the guns. At it’s core, authoritarian in nature. Conversely, the extremist right supports the ability of the US government to spy on American citizens and yet their don’t support the ability of The People to do the same. Considering the Department of Homeland Security makes up 1% of this country…they support the 1%ers running the show here.
Anyone who seeks to take away the power of the people at large supports a Freedom Stripping ideology where The People shouldn’t be able to make XYZ decision.
Anyone on the round end of the Horseshoe will support the ideology of The Maximum Power to the Maximum amount of people. That is how you know someone is a moderate. They fight to give the most amount of people power and freedom.
Authoritarianism – The support for authority rule and the delegitimizing of of the ideological influence of The People.
Examples of Authoritarianism.
The extremist right will
1. Subject people to the authority of the religious leader
2. Subject people to the authority of the military leader
3. Subject people to the authority of the corporate leader
4. Subject people to the authority of the white male
5. Subject people to the authority of the wealthiest individual
The extremist left will
1. Subject people to the authority of the scientific leader
2. Subject people to the authority of the academic leader/person with a degree
3. Subject people to the authority of the oppressed minority
4. Subject people to the authority of the artistic leader
5. Subject people to the authority of the secularist leader
All of the above are the result of the desire for the extremes to want the few to dictate how people act, work, live and think.
Authoritarianism works in the sense that The People subject themselves to a leader of some sort and let that person do the dictation of thinking of and how they should act. Pat Robertson, Richard Dawkins, Adolf Hitler, Karl Marx, Donald Trump, Sean Penn, etc. Yes I know I put Hitler in with Donald Trump but I just wanted to set off the Goodwin’s Law checkmark now. Also bear with me here. Each of these people will espouse viewpoints that expect people to fall in line with their ideological thinking. They don’t espouse discussion, they instead expect people to follow their way of thinking. Sure they may offer “discussion” but considering their power/influence and already known thought process, it would be damaging socially/career-wise/politically to disagree with them or expect some sort of retribution. Also they may even tell you to resist authority…with the hopes that you follow their authority!
Also to note, this even applies to groups of people. That XYZ group is the authority on a certain subject matter or way or thinking and you should just obey them.
Here are some ideological examples.
This is what God said and God is never wrong so DO WHAT I SAY!
I’m a scientist and science is never wrong so DO WHAT I SAY!
I was in the military and you have no authority to speak on military matters.
I have a degree in Women’s Studies and you have no authority to speak on women’s matters.
I’m a wealthy person and rich people are successful for a reason so do what I say.
I’m a great artist so agree with my political/ideological positions if you want to make it in this town.
Only people who are black can talk about racial oppression.
Only people who are white know how to run a government.
Someone who is in the rounded end of the Horseshoe offers their perspective from their position of success or experience, but is aware that knowledge and authority may come from many different stations on this earth.
As with most of these examples I have mentioned in this blog, they’re rough and rudimentary. Also again I’m a professional moron. But we’re breaking new ground here so don’t be surprised if things get dirty.
Identityism – Changing your moral/ethical beliefs based on the identity of the individual or the propagation of one identity over another.
Yes, this is also the name for a school of Sufism metaphysics but this word is the best word we have to explain my Livingstone created label for a group of people we see every day. And those people are people that change their moral and ethical beliefs based off the identity of the person they are interacting with.
Buckle up, you’re in for a bumpy ride.
I’ll cut to some examples first.
1. We should give scholarships to people who are black but not to people who are white.
2. We should only allow whites to go to school here.
3. Women should be trusted in rape cases but not the men.
4. Women are better at raising children then men are.
5. Jews are better at comedy.
6. Christians are more moral.
7. Freemasons are better at government.
8. This bar is for gay people only but straight people can’t have bars for only themselves.
9. This business is for straight people only and gay people can’t work here.
We’ve all seen this before. Someone believes XYZ thing, but then change the identity of the person their belief is attached to and all off a sudden that belief changes. As a Mason, this is probably the nearest and dearest to me. I believe in treating people on the level and I’ve always interpreted that as all of society. We treat everyone as close to equally as possible. The idea we can treat one people one way and another group of people a different way is the foundation of discrimination.
Now this theory is young and needs some ironing out. Because we are all different and have very different histories and upbringings that make us different. But the reality is that the ultimate society in my personal opinion is one where everyone is treated the same and is devoid of identity at all! This society is the one that leads to the least amount of conflict and the best chance to create a pure harmony.
Listen to me here, I’m about to say another thing that’s controversial. The root of conflict in history is NOT ideology, but identity. There are all different types of Jews, Christians, Communists, Fascists, Republicans, Democrats, Blacks, Whites, Europeans, Women, Men, Asians, Homosexuals, Heterosexuals, Americans, Russians, French, and so on and so forth. Of the above identities, they have a great amount of diversity in morality, ideology, politics, culture and so forth within them. And many of the above mentioned overlap in their moral structure. Sometimes they seriously overlap.
But what separates them is their identity. The identity they have either given to themselves or society has given to them. And labels seperate people who would otherwise see themselves as the same.It means they’re “different” from each other. And when people have divisions between each other or see each other as different, soon conflict will emerge. Look above. Every single identity group mentioned above has been in conflict with each other at some point or another. We have always been taught that ideological differences are the thing that causes war. And not just a war of guns but a war of ideas, culture, media, politics, etc. No my friends, I say it’s identity. Now of course I’m in Hypothesis mode with a lot of this and my lack of evidence provided shows I still have some work to do. And yes, I’m sounding a bit authoritarian here but consider this. There may be some truth to it.
Now to be on the rounded end of the spectrum here, you would treat people the same regardless of identity. Instead, you would treat them differently based on their actions and character. If someone is Blind, you don’t trust them differently because they are blind, you treat them differently because you see that they can’t see. It sounds like I’m saying the same thing but it’s much different. You react. Their actions guide how you’ll action and you act accordingly. What is accordingly? That is trying to treat them like everyone else as reasonably as possible.
Alright, so this is my first salvo at the creation of the structure behind what Horseshoe Theory means in todays America.
Now the million dollar question. Why is this here in a Freemason blog? Well because the answer is that anytime a house leans to far to one side, it collapses. Masonry strives for moderation, temperance and prudence in all things. Masonry and much of society has been the victim of the extremes since time immemorial, and the worst atrocities have happened due to the extremes. I am searching for that system that avoids the pitfalls of leaning to far from one side to another.
Now again, I’m a professional moron. I’m in a sandbox, trying something new out. I’d love to hear what you think and where this whole system needs some work and improvement.
Thank you for reading.