Sunday, November 04, 2012

The Differences Between Left and Right

Heads up, information junkies!

Yesterday my friend Ed introduced me (via a Facebook post) to a marvelously interesting website: Information is Beautiful, dedicated to the visualization of data. You may recall that I have written before about Dr Edward Tufte, whose website and wonderful books are also dedicated to the effective depiction of data ... my daughter and I have also taken his one-day course on Presenting Data and Information, which is very informative and helps you better understand what data is trying to tell you, and how to use it to effectively communicate your ideas.

The particular chart from Information is Beautiful that Ed shared was one of the best, most even-handed depictions of the differences between left/liberal and right/conservative philosophies that I've ever seen, and it's worth your time in taking a few minutes to check out ... here it is - click it to big it, as Mike would say ...

You can other cool charts (and order full-sized .pdf's of them) here.

As we approach Tuesday's election, it's more important than ever to think about and understand the fundamentally different approaches to government ... and to life ... taken by those with conservative and liberal philosophies. I think it's fair to say that very few people are completely liberal or completely conservative - many of my friends tend to describe themselves, as I do myself, as politically/economically conservative and socially liberal ... but what does that really mean in terms of an approach to governance? A lot of people who scream bloody murder at what they perceive as Big Government's heavy-handed intrusion into their lives are perfectly happy to accept the assistance that same evil government provides in times of disaster ...

There are things we as Americans expect our government to do for us, and things we want it to stay away from ... and the problem is that we don't all agree on where those dividing lines are. It's much easier to bitterly complain about the evils of government than to agree on what the Constitution actually says and means.

And now, Dear Readers, it's over to you ... do you think the chart fairly depicts the difference between liberals and conservatives, left and right? Leave a comment. Inquiring minds want to know!

Have a good day. More thoughts coming.


P.S. - In a related topic, there was a very interesting and sobering edition of the NPR show This American Life yesterday. Titled "Red State, Blue State," it was a look at how the my-way-or-the-highway scorched earth politics of the present day have poisoned friendships and led to fundamentally different views not just of the problems we face, but of reality itself. If you haven't heard it, go to the link and listen, and then shake your head in sorrow at what has happened to a country that used to value the ability to come together, discuss issues, and solve problems.



eViL pOp TaRt said...

Very interesting chart!

I've wondered if the difference between the left and the right ultimately involve when they see the utilization of government should take place. Liberals see this as an early step to speed up change when needed or to make the trains run on time. Conservatives see it as a final resort, when things don't seem to be going well otherwise.

Of course, there are exceptions: many liberals see government involvement in private morality, such as laws regarding sex, marriage, or marijuana use to be undesirable, while conservatives want "there to be a law."

Ken K said...

I think the chart depicts the Left's view of themselves and Conservatives.

Kristen Lavransdrittsekkdatter said...

The chart truely shows how intolerant and futile the conservatives are. I fear for us if they win Tuesday.

Mike said...

The cartoon says it all.

Mike said...

Oh, and if the chart is still to little to read after you big it (old people), copy it and paste it into MS Paint.

Ken K said...

Thanks you Kristen for proving my point.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Had a hard time seeing this - my old eyes you know. But the chart said one thing that stood out to me. The right doesn't interfere in social lives. HUH? Who I marry, who i sleep with, allowing or not allowing birth control and on and on and is that not interfering? I couldn't read much else because once enlarged it was blurry.