A Much-Needed Alternative to the Political Spectrum

A previous post argued that the political spectrum is too simple a metaphor to account for the full range of political ideologies and introduced the Political Compass as an alternative. The problem with this Political Compass for Americans is that it uses the word libertarian–the name of a political party–on one of its axes.

What seems most risky to people in each of Dan Kahan's quadrants.  Source: This Is How You Should Talk to a Climate-Change Denier by Judith Shulevitz in The New Republic
What seems most risky to people in each of Dan Kahan’s quadrants.
Source: This Is How You Should Talk to a Climate-Change Denier by Judith Shulevitz in The New Republic

But Yale psychology professor Dan Kahan offers a model that may better encompass political worldviews. Like the Political Compass, his involves two axes. They are individualist-communitarian and hierarchical-egalitarian. Writing in The New Republic, Judith Shulevitz diagrams the four quadrants with the things Kahan’s research found most threatening to people in each quadrant.

A problem with using Kahan’s model in political communication is that talk of individualist-hierarchical vs. communitarian-egalitarian just doesn’t roll off the tongue like left vs. right.

What if we used these axes: individual-first to community-first and top-down to side-by-side? How do you think they should be called? Which quadrant fits you best? (Mine is the egalitarian-communitarian or community-first and side-by-side quadrant.)

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