On The Spectrum

Congressional Representative Eric Swalwell posted a note on Twitter yesterday that echoed some of the same sentiments we’ve shared on The Domino Principle before:

I’m still traveling in Texas and visiting family there this week. A conservative family member introduced me to new acquaintances a few days ago as someone who is extremely liberal, and that resulted in my doing a double take, because it isn’t necessarily accurate and it misses the point.

Up until about six years ago, I identified as a centrist who was equally likely to vote R as D, and who favored policies that were socially progressive and fiscally conservative.

Liz Cheney, the Vice Chair of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, is a far right conservative politician in the House of Representatives. J. Michael Luttig, who we heard testify in the January 6th hearings last week, and who has vocally warned that the failed coup of 2020 will likely succeed in 2024 unless action is taken by Congress, was considered a far right conservative jurist when he served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. These are people with solid conservative credentials. Nearly all the witnesses we are hearing from in the January 6th hearings identify with the right side of the political spectrum.

Contrast these individuals with those such as Greg Abbott, Ted Cruz, Jim Jordan, Ron DeSantis, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Ken Paxton. These people are not conservatives. They are radical extremists.

Far right conservatism has historically supported concepts like free speech, free trade, family values, commitment to the rule of law, and smaller federal government and budgets.

The radical extremists in political office today have demonstrated again and again that these are not their core values, and they quickly abandon them when it suits their agenda. Rather, their core values, demonstrated by their words, votes and actions, typically include support of things like authoritarianism, theocracy, corruption, immorality, fascism, racism, human rights abuses, disbelief in and disregard of science, betrayal of allies, admiration of brutal dictators, fiscal irresponsibility and sedition.

The 147 members of Congress who voted to overturn the 2022 presidential election results, despite zero evidence supporting any election corruption of consequence, and who did so immediately following the unsuccessful insurrection attempt, can all be fairly labelled as radical extremists, not as conservatives.

Political candidates and office holders who support The Big Lie should never be labelled as the most “conservative” but rather as the most “extremist.”

Twenty years ago, both parties supported democracy. The Republican Party of twenty years ago could at least offer a credible claim that it stood for the conservative values I described above. Today, most Republican office holders support radical extremist values. Twenty years ago the Democratic Party stood for liberal and progressive values. Today it mostly provides a “Big Tent” for everyone who opposes radical extremism, except for a few far right holdouts like Liz Cheney who still works, so far without substantive progress, to try to bring the Republican Party back to what it once represented. I hope she is eventually successful though, because the United States really needs two healthy political parties that both support democracy. But before that can ever happen, the majority of those who support radical extremism must be ostracized and removed from office.

It is, of course, possible for politicians and others on the far left of the political spectrum to be radical extremists as well. But the reality is that today we see such individuals almost exclusively on the far right in terms of holding office, running for office, or serving as justices on the United States Supreme Court.

I’m an MIT-trained Ph.D., entrepreneur and former rocket scientist who had very little interest in politics until about six years ago. I can design an optimal transfer orbit between the Earth and Mars if you’d like to send a spacecraft to the red planet. I identify as a futurist. I stand clearly in favor of truth and democracy.

My continued objective is to use The Domino Principle, and its page on Facebook, to help people differentiate between truth and lies, and between those who advocate for democracy and those in service of autocracy. I also strive to provide a steady stream of content for people to share with others in furtherance of those objectives.

I believe that the future is a spectrum of possibilities, and that we each have a critical role to play in determining which direction the “dominoes will fall.” I continually pull from both conservative and liberal sources in this endeavor.

While I find relevant information to share from dozens of different pundits and outlets, there are five individuals whose words I repeatedly turn to and share because their deep insights, eloquence, and knowledge vastly exceeds mine (I should note that none of these people have any affiliation with The Domino Principle):

David Frum is a staff writer at The Atlantic. David was a speechwriter for President George W. Bush. From 2014 to 2017, he chaired the prominent U.K. center-right think tank, Policy Exchange. He identifies as conservative.

Steve Schmidt is an American communications and public affairs strategist who worked on Republican political campaigns, including those of President George W. Bush, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Arizona Senator John McCain. He identifies as conservative.

John Pavlovitz is a writer, pastor, and activist who is a 25-year veteran in the trenches of local church ministry. He identifies as liberal.

David Rothkopf is a political scientist and strategist who was formerly a senior official in the Clinton administration. He identifies as liberal.

Dr. Heather Cox Richardson is an author and professor at Boston College who studies the contrast between image and reality in America, especially in politics. She identifies as an historian.

Yet, these five people and myself, whether liberal or conservative, focused on facts or morality, examining history or the future, share very consistent viewpoints on the ongoing debate between truth and lies, and between democracy and autocracy.

During challenging times like these, if we are going to assign labels and put people on a spectrum, I’m proud to firmly plant my feet on the same side of the truth vs. lies spectrum and democracy vs. autocracy spectrum as Liz Cheney, J. Michael Luttig, Eric Swalwell, Joe Biden, Adam Schiff, Jamie Raskin, Beto O’Rourke, David Frum, Steve Schmidt, John Pavlovitz, David Rothkopf and Heather Cox Richardson.

And I’m proud to be on the opposite side of the spectrum from those like Donald Trump, Greg Abbott, Ted Cruz, Jim Jordan, Kevin McCarthy, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Ron DeSantis, Josh Hawley and Ken Paxton. Not because I’m liberal or conservative, or a Democrat or Republican, but because I believe in truth and democracy.

As Adam Schiff noted in the January 6th committee hearing earlier today, “The system held, but barely. And the question remains, will it hold again? If we are able to communicate anything during these hearings I hope it is this: We have been blessed beyond measure to live in the world’s greatest democracy. That is a legacy to be proud of and to cherish but it is not one to be taken for granted. That we have lived in a democracy for more than 200 years does not mean that we shall do so tomorrow. We must reject violence. We must embrace our Constitution with the reverence it deserves, take our oath of office and duties as citizens seriously, informed by knowledge of right and wrong, and armed with no more than the power of our ideas and the truth, to carry on this venerable experiment in self-governance.”

Pick a side. Decide where you fit on the spectrum. Share it, and explain why, with those in your personal network. And then support the candidates who represent your values and vote this November like your future depends on it.

Because it does.

Cliff Kurtzman
Follow me
Latest posts by Cliff Kurtzman (see all)

2 thoughts on “On The Spectrum”

Leave a Reply