Yesterday I linked to a blog post that referred to a model I’d proposed to map the political spectrum. In it, the author linked to a different model of the political/social/cultural spectrum, and built an analysis upon that framework that conflicted with my interpretation, with this line being the crux:
To understand the fight between Wilkinson and Brooks, you need to understand that Wilkinson’s tribe is not “Moderate Conservative,” it is “Brahmin.”
Now I like my model. I have an emotional attachment to it, given that I designed it, but I also think it’s a very good approximation of the state of political discourse. So one response I could take is to attack the Moldbug model that conflicts with mine. Indeed, I think Moldbug’s write-up is pretty vague, and I’m unclear about some classifications. But overall, I like the model. It’s interesting and different. And while it may conflict with my model at times, they’re largely compatible. Going forward, I’d much rather use both models to assess political dynamics; at times my model will probably work better, and at times Moldbug’s will.
The analogy here is to maps. If maps could be perfectly accurate, you’d only need one. But when they’re not perfect, it’s better to have two than one. When they agree, you’re more likely to find truth. When they disagree, you realize you have to put additional work into understanding the situation.
I’d say the same about liberalism, conservativism, libertarianism, realism, interventionism, and so on. I don’t think any of these is entirely wrong or right. They’re models, maps, that help explain the world. In some cases I’ll prefer one model to another. Generally speaking, I’m most confident about claims where all the maps agree.