The interesting thing about these labels is that they are often associated with views held on individual issues: for example, abortion, climate change, corporate power, or LGBT rights. Yet, we draw from these individual associations broad generic identities that encompass a range of positions by a single label and bind us to a community of like-minded people. This article offers a broad analysis and comparison of the belief systems that underlie a number of the most prominent labels.
With a democratic form of government, large numbers of people can engage in collective decision-making by direct voting and representation, thereby setting the course not only of their individual lives but of society as a whole. Democracy gives the people themselves a tool by which they can organize themselves, pool their resources, and combat oppressive forces.
Progressives accept democracy as the best form of government, but often also believe that the capitalist organizations that flourish under it are a great threat both to individuals and the common good. They view capitalist organizations (especially big ones) as committed primarily to the pursuit of short-term economic gains for a relatively small number of people, even if it entails major sacrifices by other people or society at large.
Libertarians see government primarily as an oppressive force. They would trace the lineage of today's republics to the monarchies that dominated most of our written history, and those structures, in turn, to the primal, strength-based hierarchies of ancient humans and many mammals.
Anarchists exhibit the more pessimistic sides of both progressives and libertarians. Like libertarians, they are highly skeptical of government and primarily see it as oppressive. Like progressives, anarchists emphasize the greed and inherent inequalities of capitalism. They actually go further on this point than most progressives, and, similarly to traditional socialists, broadly condemn capitalism itself.
This is the label and political belief system I identify with. Like anarchists, integralists see great potential (hypothetical and based on history) for oppression on the part of both public and private organizations. Despite this view, unlike typical anarchists, integralists do not totally condemn these systems. They are not seen as blights on humanity that must be eradicated, but as out-of-date systems that must either evolve with our emerging needs or be lovingly retired.
There is much to admire in both contemporary capitalism and representative governance. As libertarians point out over and over, capitalism does indeed promote innovation and is far more fair and free than feudalism. Progressives (and socialists) are correct when they say that government, at its best, can protect us from the effects of greed and other corruptions; that it can help us pool our resources to make large, positive investments; and that it can produce great moral advances, such as helping the unfortunate.