The Pournelle Political Axis
Sat, 19 Jul 1997 02:52:10 -0400 (EDT)

Several years ago Baen Books published a series off books called (I beleive)
"New Frontiers". They were published semi-regularly for a while...almost
monthly I beleive, and contained fact and SF.

One of the fact articles was an essay by Jerry Pournelle which I remember as
"The Pournelle Political Axis"

Briefly this states that the traditional Right/Left dichotomy is inaccurate
and that there is in fact a second dimension to politics. These axes
are:Rational vs. Mystical and Good Government vs Bad Government.

Take Rational vs. Mystical as the vertical Axis and Place Rational at the Top
and Mystical at the Bottom with a zero in the middle and tens on each end.

Rational being defined in the form: Questions are inherently answerable and
problems are inherently solveable. (scientific method)
Mystical being defined in the form: There are some things that man is not
ment to know. (relegion)

At right angles to this the horizontal axis with Loves Government on the
Right , zero in the middle and Hates Government on the left (-10,0,10)

Loves Government being defined in the form: The more the
better, control
Hates Government being defined in the form: would rather kiss a rattlesnake
on the lips than haves

This forms four quadrants : the upper right being Rational and Loves
Government (communism as an example)
: the upper left being Rational and
Hates Government (Libertarianism as an Example)
: The Lower Right being :Mystical and
Loves Government (The Christian Coalition ,Nazis)
: The Lower Lefti being : Mystical and
Hates Government (some really weird folks...can't
think of an example...relegious anarchy of some

The degree of how strongly a position was held is quantified( 0 to 10 ). I
would venture to guess that most of the US is floating around zero but with a
tendency toward being right of verticle and below the horizontal. I would
venture to guess that Extropians are off the scale in the upper left quadrant
(-10,+10)...out past Libertarians and some Anarchists.

But I haven't heard anything more about it in years...outside of the
Libertarians "World's Shortest Political Quiz" which is in the same format.

Is this useful...or merely interesting. Accurate? It got Jerry Pournelle a
Ph.d. if I recall.