This is to develop later, but here’s the model I keep referring to privately when I think about political affiliation:
In the center there’s just a person: oneself. At some basic level, every person is a libertarian. We all want to be free to go about our business as we choose. We don’t want any restraints except the basic ones that facilitate that critical personal freedom.
It’s at this “personal liberty” starting point on the ideology spectrum that people want minimal government — not “Big G,” but decision-making centrality inasmuch as it keeps Pakistan at bay, facilitates trade so we can get the wheat and unbleached, organic coffee filters we require (I know, economists, the market; caveat, caveat).
As I imagine the spectrum, the further “right” you move, the more you believe that your people-counterparts are capable of teaching a thing or two. This backs the idea of a community functioning to raise all members up. There’s a veto (or a Dellinger statement? Will update) in every Con Law textbook describing why taxlike forced-giving inhibits the naturally-charitable mentality most folks in a community assume.
Logically, if someone requires giving, that stunts generosity of spirit, which affects the entire community mentality. But the baseline “humans are social creatures after all” dicta suggests that in fact we’re all naturally inclined to share, having learned pretty early on that sharing makes everything better for all involved.
Left-wise on that spectrum I think there’s a tendency to assume that other members of a prospective community are less strong than the central ego point. This guides that mentality that wants to keep things under a tight rein — e.g., this is why we have so many government czars right now.
Moving right, we expect less formal government and more organic cooperation. As we move left, we expect people to cooperate organically less, so we mandate cooperation more.
Both sides have points in their respective favors. When I think of right-swaying I always think of the Buckley community near and dear to my heart, but the best point I know for left-leaners is legislation like the Americans w/ Disabilities Act. Sometimes central decision-makers can more easily accomplish what The Market won’t demand on its own.
And recall, of course, that centrality-enablers like lobbies are a critical part of The Market cf. how the Constitution structures our gov’t. Atrocities like sugar subsidies aren’t independent of a market; they’re a sort of super-evolution sophisticated to market ebb and flow, they represent uber-growth like cancer.
I’ve said it before, but a big part of why I lean right is that, while perhaps I’d trust some group around me to hold the reins now, there’s always the next group. If I appoint ten (or thirty) “czars,” it’s bc I trust that group to turn the screws today. But who knows who might take their shoes tomorrow? I’d much rather leave it to the individuals; then I know each person is working for his own self interest, and no one will be left out. If all know they can rely on a central decision-maker, many will likely forget to pick up after their own dogs, and other ugly metaphors.
Obvi bipartisanship comes down roughly along these lines. The point of this spectrum model is that I think the difference has to do w/ a person’s faith in his fellows, and his related interest in being involved w/ the relevant community.