Why the political axis is logarithmic

November 22, 2020

To be an ``extremist'' is to occupy the minimum or maximum position on an A-B axis. This is just the literal definition of an extreme + the definition of an -ist. There is nobody more A than an A-type extremist, and there is nobody more B than a B-type extremist.

While there are some left-wing extremists, there is no such thing as a right-wing extremist.

Roughly, left-ists value freedom[Note 1] and equality; right-ists value order.

You can't go further left than complete freedom and equality. Therefore an advocate of those things (a social anarchist or libertarian socialist, perhaps) is a left-wing extremist.

But because you can always impose more order, the concept of a right-wing extremist is meaningless. If you pick any individual, I can prove that they're not a right-wing extremist. All I have to do is list their beliefs, and then add any more restrictive or exclusionary belief. The new list describes a hypothetical person further to the right, thereby proving that the first guy wasn't an extremist after all.[Note 2]

In this light, it makes sense to think of the left-right political axis as logarithmic instead of linear. Political thought spans (0, +∞). If you want an axis that spans (–∞, +∞), take the logarithm.


  1. We often think of the right as ``small government,'' which sounds like a concern for freedom. But small government means freedom for large companies, usually to the detriment of freedom for people.
  2. It's like the proof that there's no largest number: you can always add one.

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