↑ comment by satt ·
2013-12-24T18:20:47.109Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
Thing is, not all possible combinations of issue positions actually exist as factions, to say nothing of factions with any influence in society.
And the degree to which people are willing to get along with each other, express common political identities (such as parties), or work politically toward common goals, doesn't seem to particularly agree with the projection of their views onto a left-right spectrum.
There's a grain of truth here, but overall I disagree. A person's more likely to get along with someone similarly left- or right-wing (even if they disagree on a specific issue) than someone with an utterly different ideology (even if they agree on a specific issue); people are more likely to express an affiliation with political parties that identify as left- or right-wing than to reject such affiliations (e.g.); and people tend to recruit people with similar ideologies to work for some political goal, as opposed to chasing after the ideologically distant.
Factions and the links between them are sparse and discontinuous,
I'm quite sceptical. I don't know whether you'd count them as factions as such, but when I think of political parties (large & small), think tanks, student societies, free-standing political clubs, newspapers, intelligence agencies, and other political institutions, the thing that strikes me is how incestuous & interlinked they look (at least to my lay eye, looking in from the outside). Even obscure, extreme grouplets, infamous for being made up of splitters, ultimately originate in the formerly continuous faction they broke away from.
and people accept or reject others on the basis of specific issues that matter to them.
While that's one factor, I'd expect broad ideology to be (at least) an equally strong factor. A person and their friends tend to have correlated ideologies.
These are all much more interesting facts than that we can project them all onto a spectrum if we want to.
Insofar as these are facts, they are more interesting facts. But the existence of more interesting facts doesn't nullify a less interesting fact! If I say someone's left-wing or right-wing, I'm communicating some information, even if it'd be more informative for me to enumerate all of their political opinions.