My hypothesis is that progressives, conservatives, and libertarians view politics along three different axes. For progressives, the main axis has oppressors at one end and the oppressed at the other. For conservatives, the main axis has civilization at one end and barbarism at the other. For libertarians, the main axis has coercion at one end and free choice at the other.
I used to think I was good with:
- Progressive: Protect the weak.
- Conservative: Maintain what's good.
- Libertarian: Don't coerce folks.
However, Kling address the fundamental core better:
- Progressive: Oppressed/Oppressing
- this is a far better framing than just "weak"
- Conservative: Civilized/Barbaric
- this is so much more accurate than mine in terms of how folks actually think. It also properly places reactionaries as arch-conservatives.
- Libertarian: Free/Coerced
- this has been solid for years
But then, he also addresses how one ought to respond to this, not just tactically but epistemically:
When arguing with a progressive, start by saying, “It is sometimes appropriate to view particular classes of people as oppressors and other classes as oppressed.”
When arguing with a conservative, start by saying, “It is sometimes appropriate to view particular practices as barbaric and to view tradition and authority as protecting civilization.”
When arguing with a libertarian, start by saying, “It is sometimes appropriate to view particular policies as coercion.”RTWT