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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Leftist Ayn Rand and the right wing New York Times

On Twitter, Jesse Walker publicizes the oddball chart published by Samuel Konkin in 1980, depicting what Konkin saw as the political spectrum from left to right. If you look at it, you'll see that Konkin (a libertarian activist and publisher whose periodicals ran many Robert Anton Wilson pieces) sees the "left" as libertarian and the "right" as statist, a point of view endorsed by other libertarians, such as  the late Jeff Riggenbach, defined as a "Kochtopus leftist" in Konkin's scheme. The furthest left in Konkin's analysis is reserved for Konkin's own Agorist faction in the libertarian movement. Jesse describes the chart as "gloriously eccentric." 

According to Jesse, Konkin coined the term "Kochtopus" to describe libertarians funded by the Koch brothers. It was meant as a derogatory term disparaging the influence of the Kochs, but to tell you the truth describes most of the libertarians I like, including the Reason magazine gang, the Cato Institute, the George Mason University bloggers such as Tyler Cowen, Alex Tabarrok, Bryan Caplan, etc.)  

Here is how Jesse explains the Konkin political spectrum "Here's the key to deciphering the chart: Konkin puts anarchism on the left and puts Actually Existing States on the right, judges people by how much they concede to the latter, then flattens it all to one dimension. Presto: PLO and NR, side by side." Read Jesse's Twitter thread. 

Note that in Konkin's chart, Discordians such as "Robert Anton Wilson, Robert Shea, Arthur Hlavaty etc." are listed as being on the extreme end of the ultra left. Since 1980, Arthur has moved "right" according to Konkin's scheme but has moved "left" according to the usual notions of the political spectrum.

1 comment:

supergee said...

Sam's left-right map worked as well as those things usually do, he said viciously.