Canton Family summaries

In 2007, Brian Patrick Mitchell published a book entitled “Eight Ways to Run the Country: A New and Revealing Look at Left and Right”. I found it to be an insightful and very well-thought-out analysis of the political environment in the United States. I highly recommend it.

Below are summaries of his Eight Ways, which I have adapted as a useful way to group cantons. Actual cantons would very likely lie within the parameters of one of these groups. In which family group do you find your own political preferences?


Luminaries: Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Michael Lind, E J Dionne, Jr, Ted Halstead, Jedediah Purdy, Robert Putnam, Amitai Etzioni

Near neighbors: Progressive, Neo-conservative

Likes: pragmatism, moderation, national unity, strong central government, innovative and experimental policy-making, putting common interests over individual rights, seeking consensus instead of conflict, technocracy

Dislikes: ideologies of right and left


Luminaries: David Barash, Hilary Clinton, Robert Reich, Paul Wellstone, Benjamin Barber, Michael Walzer, Michael Lerner

Near neighbors: Radical, Communitarian

Likes: progress, wealth distribution, strong central government, democracy, reform, advocacy for victims

Dislikes: tradition


Luminaries: Eugene McCarthy, Norman Mailer, Jim Hightower, Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky, Alexander Cockburn, Michael Albert

Near neighbors: Individualist, Progressive

Likes: equality, cooperation, campaign finance reform

Dislikes: tradition, authority, military, corporations, patriarchy


Luminaries: Freidrich Hayek, David Boaz, Robert Nozick, Cathy Young, Clint Bolick, Virginia Postrel, Ayn Rand, Justin Raimondo

Near neighbors: Libertarian, Radical

Likes: freedom, progress, rationalism, individual rights, property rights, free market capitalism

Dislikes: tradition, federalism, laws against victimless crimes


Luminaries: Lew Rockwell, Murray Rothbard, Ludwig von Mises, Ron Paul, Lysander Spooner, Frederic Bastiat, Rose Wilder Lane, Hans Hermann Hoppe, Tom Woods, Lord Acton, Harry Browne

Near neighbors: Paleo-conservative, Individualist

Likes: freedom, individual rights, decentralism, federalism, property rights

Dislikes: welfare state, big government (sometimes any government), big corporations (big anything), laws against victimless crimes, aggression


Luminaries: Joseph Sobran, Patrick J Buchanan, Robert A Taft, Russell Kirk, Hamilton Fish III, Phyllis Schafly, Howard Philips, Alan Keyes

Near neighbors: Theo-conservative, Libertarian

Likes: tradition, limited government, individual rights, federalism, free market capitalism, republicanism

Dislikes: big government, regulation, cultural deracination


Luminaries: Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Richard John Neuhaus, Paul Weyrich, Marvin Olasky, Robert Bork, Alan Keyes, Ralph Reed, Gary Bauer

Near neighbors: Neo-conservative, Paleo-conservative

Likes: social and religious institutions, religion-friendly government

Dislikes: cultural deracination, government undermining religion


Luminaries: George W Bush, William F Buckley, Jr, Irving Kristol, Leo Strauss, William Bennett, Norman Podhoretz, Dinesh D’Souza, Michael Novak, David Brooks, Robert Kagan, Max Boot, David Frum, Francis Fukuyama, Paul Wolfowitz

Near neighbors: Communitarian, Theo-conservative

Likes: strong central government, national education standards, compulsory national service, school choice, privatization of Social Security, free market capitalism, big corporations

Dislikes: democratic socialism, anti-western multiculturalism, excess taxation and regulation