„My politically interested friends tend to sort themselves into three tribal coalitions: progressive, conservative, and libertarian. Progressives (P) assert a moral superiority over conservatives and libertarians. Conservatives (C) assert a moral superiority over libertarians and progressives. And libertarians (L) assert a moral superiority over progressives and conservatives. They cannot all be correct. And when they think in those terms, it is unlikely that they will sit down and work out solutions to shared problems”.

PDF (125 p) & audiobook (1h:45m)

„Which political language do you speak? Of course, your own views are carefully nuanced, and you would never limit yourself to speaking in a limited language. So think of one of your favorite political commentators, an insightful individual with whom you generally agree. Which of the following statements would that commentator most likely make?

Progressives: My heroes are people who have stood up for the underprivileged. The people I cannot stand are the people who are indifferent to the oppression of women, minorities, and the poor.
Conservatives: My heroes are people who have stood up for Western values. The people I cannot stand are the people who are indifferent to the assault on the moral virtues and traditions that are the foundation for our civilization.
Libertarians: My heroes are people who have stood up for individual rights. The people I cannot stand are the people who are indifferent to government taking away people’s ability to make their own choices „

„I call this the three-axes model of political communication.

  • progressive will communicate along the oppressor-oppressed axis, framing issues in terms of the P dichotomy.
  • conservative will communicate along the civilization-barbarism axis, framing issues in terms of the C dichotomy.
  • libertarian will communicate along the liberty-coercion axis, framing issues in terms of the L dichotomy”.

Example:

„For example, consider the issue of police conduct in dealing with African Americans that has spawned the movement known as Black Lives Matter. This movement emerged after the first edition of this book was issued. Yet I found that progressives, conservatives, and libertarians tend to interpret Black Lives Matter in terms of their preferred axes.

The progressive framing of the issue emphasizes racism, among police and in society as a whole. Progressives put white police, or white society at large, in the role of oppressors, with African Americans in the role of the oppressed.

The conservative framing of the issue emphasizes the need for order. Conservatives put criminal suspects and unruly demonstrators in the role of barbarian threats and put police in the role of defenders of civilization.

The libertarian framing of the issue emphasizes the need for citizens to be free of police harassment. Libertarians put in the role of coercive agents those lawmakers who criminalize harmless activities, such as recreational drug use, as well as police who employ excessive force, while putting those who are accosted and physically harmed by police in the role of citizens who are denied their rights.”

More examples:

Chapter two of the book takes the following topics and presents the perspective from each of the three axes (P), (C), (L):

  • Interpreting the Holocaust, in which Nazis murdered millions of Jews
  • Goals of tax reform
  • The Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • A 1992 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, which found a high rejection rate for mortgage applications by African Americans
  • Abortion and unwed motherhood
  • The “war on terror”
  • A baker, citing his or her religious views, who refuses to bake a wedding cake for a gay marriage
  • Soda taxes

See also:
Book: The Law – by Frederic Bastiat (PDF, audiobook)

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