A Comment from the Moot: But how do you propose to deal with all these "left" monolithic nannystate bureaucracies that we have these days, overstaffed by overpaid idiots who always know better what you should eat, what you should read or think, whom you should sleep with, what products you are allowed to consume...
[The] flaw of "The Left": a certain tendency to favor a Big Brother nannystate that, of course with our best interest in mind, watches over and judges each and every single detail of our lives, even those with no impact on anyone else. I am all for a strong government able to manage real conflicts between concrete parts, but I can do without being told what to think or do on a 24/7 basis.
Surely you are referring to corporations rather than states when you bemoan oppressive dictatorial bureaucratized organizations here?
Again, the Cold War is over, people. Let's put its rhetoric to bed, too, shall we?
I have to wonder, though, before I direct myself to answering the question at hand, just why is it that it is the self-proclaimed "futurists" -- of all the people I interact on a regular basis, very much including "futurists" who will insist on their lefty credentials (otherwise I would probably not be devoting any time to them at all, beyond what is necessary to make fun of them in public places) -- why are these people the ones in my acquaintance who inevitably sound politically the most like hawks from the Cold War era, robber barons from the McKinley era, or salon philosophers of the 18th century?
Retro-futurism rears its ugly head so incessantly among the futurologically inclined, so-called. Why is that?
Now, to be very clear: "Nanny-state" is a right-wing frame. You are participating in an anti-democratizing discourse when you deploy it, a discourse with an easily trackable actually-existing history of anti-democratic advocates and effects. Since I doubt of course that you would intend such effects yourself, I thought I would do you the public service of reminding you of the context for your text so you would be more careful in deploying a tool you may imperfectly understand.
To say that "nanny-state" is a right-wing frame is not to deny the truthy kernel of the actual problem it calls our attention to. The kernel of truth is the engine that lends the anti-democratizing aspiration of the right-wing frame its actually mobilizing power. This is generally true of effective anti-democratizing rhetorics, especially the ones that must disseminate in notionally representative (what Foucault would call disciplinary/biopolitical) orders. One must be always be on the alert for this mechanism when one is engaging with anti-democratizing rhetoric.
Of course, the Compass dulls our capacity to do this very thing, by muddying our sense of the relevant players, the sides they're on (indeed we lose track of the sides altogether and find ourselves stumbling around in "quadrants" drifting inward and outward from a "core" of altogether questionable import), the outcomes they are actually fighting for, and so on.
Anyway, the kernel of truth in the "nanny state" worry, is the problem of bureaucracy and corruption that inheres in social organization as such. (This is a worry that rarely seems to extend in those who mouth it to the even more bloated corrupt corporations they tend to prefer to the governments they would dismantle for it, but that of course is neither here nor there, eh?)
And, let us be honest here: To the extent that one seeks to implement the democratic values of equity and diversity through organizational efforts (legal and electoral apparatuses, health, education, and welfare administration, for example) these projects will indeed be vulnerable to bureaucratic inefficiencies, to corruption, and so on.
The point is that the problem of this vulnerability (to inefficiency, corruption, rationalized exploitation, and violence) is indifferent at this level of generality to questions of left versus right, but inheres in organization as such, whether made recourse to in the service of the projects of the left or of the right. This vulnerability is the farthest imaginable thing from "the flaw of the left" as you put it. However, it is interesting to note that it is far more likely to be the democratic sentiments of the Left that will be outraged by such effects before the anti-democratic sentiments of the Right (which will often actively demand more than decry such effects) will be. (Where someone/something traditionally or notionally "left" seems indifferent to such effects you have stumbled onto a fair indicator that an individual or organization originating in the democratic-left has drifted into, compromised too much with, or been otherwise appropriated by the right-incumbency.)
It offers no insight to help us understand the strengths of democracy as apposed to anti-democracy as such to pin this vulnerability on the left in particular, nor does it offer us the guidance we want to think how the solutions we will propose to deal with this general organizational vulnerability will reflect our democratizing or anti-democratizing politics.
For three decades neolib/neocon incumbent interests have flogged the frame that government is inherently bloated and corrupt as a way of justifying their looting of its accomplishments and their shifting of postwar authority back into ever fewer, ever more secretive, ever less accountable hands.
Tools like the Compass facilitate such operations by confusing people as to whose side these critics are on.
It is very different to fight corruption to ensure that institutions are accountable to the people, to empower the people (as democrats do), as opposed to fighting government of the people, by the people and for the people in favor of privatization schemes that empower incumbents helming sluggish, secretive, inefficient, feudal corporate organizations (as anti-democrats do in the name of the incumbent interests with which they identify, financial or social or cultural).
These differences that make a difference are clear when one remembers the key distinction is democracy versus anti-democracy, but less clear if one is skipping down this and that axis of the Compass, imagining one's neoliberal free market reforms give one the "lefty" cred of opening up "spontaneous orders" in the name of civil liberties (they don't: they make one a dupe of the right).
There is, of course, by the way, a special vulnerability to corruption and violence in governmental organization, inasmuch as government must be empowered with a legal monopoly on the use of violence to acquire the legitimacy through which it provides a nonviolent alternative recourse for the solution of disputes in a finite world of peers with diverse interests and aspirations. The democratic-left (which seems to me historically far more interested in solutions to these difficulties than the incumbent-right which opportunistically deploys them to its ends) tends to seek to overcome this vulnerability through the separation of powers (including a secure and educated citizenry and an independent press), through the universalization of the franchise, facilitated in part through the yoking of taxation to representation, through a rights discourse less susceptible to democratic contestation than other aspects of governance. And now, of course, in the emerging technoprogressive mainstream we have the unprecedented proliferation of p2p formations to facilitate the dem-left project as well (surveillance, wealth concentration via automation, robot weapons are the incumbent-right face of these developments).
The Left opts for these sorts of solutions because they facilitate the larger project of the left to provide ever more people ever more of a say in the public decisions that affect them, the desire that animates the left and inspires the democratic values of equity and diversity the fraught ongoing collective implementation of which drives and constitutes the long history and conversation of the left in the world.
The Right, on the other hand, tends to overcome this vulnerability to governmental corruption and violence through the retroactive rationalization of its violences as serving a natural order of which they are its natural representatives and beneficiaries.
These things become very clear very clearly when one looks at them this way (other things, like figuring out how to do justice to the actually diverse interests and aspirations of our peers, I fear, become much harder, but that is life). The Compass makes these simple truths of Left versus Right, of democrats versus anti-democrats, of people powered politics versus incumbent interests much harder for us to see.
That is its purpose.