How Do We Categorize
The political spectrum is the standard way
we categorize a person’s or party’s
Originating with revolutionary France, the
spectrum puts all political opinions on a
continuum, from right to left.
Benefits of the Spectrum
Makes it easy to categorize and describe a
person’s political position.
Simplifies political debate.
Makes comparisons between political
The spectrum is anchored and defined by its
Extreme left = communism
Government provides most services for its people
Focus on equality
Example – USSR, China, Cuba
Extreme right = fascism
Enforces rules, laws and norms with extreme force.
People live to serve the interests of the state.
Private ownership and property
Example – WWII Germany
The Right Side
Smaller, decentralized government.
Focus on values, traditional morals.
Religion is often highlighted.
Responsibility on the individual.
Property rights are vital.
Law and order.
The Left Side
Large, activist government.
Focus on creating equality and helping the
oppressed or under privileged.
Limited property rights.
Problems with the Spectrum
Not everyone’s opinion on all issues will fit
within the same space on the spectrum.
Tendency to move towards the centre.
Is the spectrum really a loop? Do the
Fails to deal with social and economic