Horseshoe theory


Horseshoe theory

Introduction

The Horseshoe theory is a theory about political ideology which competes with the conventional left-right continuum and the political compass. Briefly, it asserts that rather than the extreme left and the extreme right being at opposite and opposing ends of the political spectrum, they in fact closely resemble one another, much like the ends of a horseshoe. Proponents of the theory point to similarities between the extreme left and the extreme right.

Origin of the term

The earliest use of the term in political theory appears to be from Jean-Pierre Faye's book "Le Siècle des idéologies" [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Pierre_Faye] [http://www.ufppc.org/content/view/1751/2/] . Others have attributed the theory as having come from Lipset, Bell and an entire ‘pluralist school’ [http://www.publiceye.org/study_right.html] . Nevertheless, as the rest of this article shows, substantial support for the Horseshoe theory comes from notable writers such as Ayn Rand and Friedrich von Hayek. More recently, the term has been used when comparing hostility towards Jews from both the far left and the far right [http://www.aijac.org.au/review/2006/31-11/scribb31-11.htm] . Critics of the theory have suggested that many sociologists consider it has been thoroughly discredited [http://www.publiceye.org/study_right.html] .

More recently, a blogger named Leon Bertrand has described the theory in detail, and produced anecdotes from Ayn Rand, Friedrich von Hayek and Francis Parker Yockey which he believes support the theory [http://www.leonbertrand.blogspot.com/2008/03/introducing-horseshoe-theory.html] .


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