I’ve often thought that the old Dungeons and Dragons alignment system from earlier editions of the game makes far more sense that the increasingly outdated concepts of “left” and “right” when trying to make sense of political groupings and ideologies.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the game, in it’s original form it was a 3×3 matrix. One axis was Law vs. Chaos, more or less as defined by author Michael Moorcock, where Law stood for order and stability and Chaos stood for randomness and individual freedom. The other axis was Good vs. Evil, defined as altruism vs. selfishness. Every character had one of nine possible alignments; the heroic chivalric knight would be Lawful Good, the pseudo-hippy Elf might be Chaotic Good, the cruel tyrant they’re joined forces to fight might be Lawful Evil. And so on.
How does this apply to present-day politics?
Traditional social conservatives and authoritarian leftists both come out as Lawful Neutral. The probably both think of themselves as Lawful Good, and the other as Lawful Evil, which makes them implacable enemies despite having very similar mindsets.
Middle of the road liberals probably think of themselves as Neutral Good, but in practice tend to be closer to true Neutral (in the centre of the matrix). Similarly non-sociopathic libertarians fall into Chaotic Neutral.
Lawful Evil, I think, should be reserved for murderous totalitarianism, historical monstrosities like Nazism and Stalinism and the present-day fringes that cling to their values. Likewise Chaotic Evil probably doesn’t define much mainstream politics, but seems all-too-apt for some of Ayn Rand’s more extreme devotees who lurk around the fringes of the right.
Any other suggestions?