Sunday, August 21, 2005

Political spectrum

At the last City Council meeting, I was asked why I was there and why we do Concho Info. I said I was there to gather information and insight, and then present information and analysis not done by the regular media. My questioner said "don't you mean the liberal media?" I said no, I meant what I said but before I could explain, council was called back into session. I think an explanation is needed here.

I don't think politics can be looked at a just left or right, liberal or conservative. A better approach is that taken with the Nolan chart as found at the Advocates for Self Government web site. It expands the field into social or personal and economic freedom. A strong case can be made that what we normally call liberal is a belief in personal freedom at the expense of economic freedom, and what we normally call conservative is a belief in economic freedom at the expense of personal freedom. This is still too simplistic, but it does emphasize that politics and the problems it addresses are not one dimensional. Trade offs happen all the time, but the current practice of trading one set of freedoms off against another, and then calling it liberal or conservative distorts the view. Kind of like looking at a map and only paying attention to the scale of miles at the bottom.

When you look at local reporting from a multi-dimensional perspective, you will see that it is all over the map. The map coverage just happens to be pretty thin. There are lots of reasons for that. Resources including time and people are limited. I understand why the local reporting businesses can't cover everything. They hit the high points on this map. I even understand why they don't cover somethings the way I would like. They have their reasons. What we at Concho Info are trying to do here is take some points we find interesting or important on this landscape, and draw circles and arrows to them on the map. Point out some rough terrain people didn't even know were on the map. Point out some trails out of box canyons. Highlight the cliffs before someone falls off.

That is why it's not us vs the "liberal media." These are not one dimensional issues, and we aren't after one dimensional solutions. Read what we have been writing, take the Worlds Smallest Political Quiz, and see if you don't agree.

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