Just to note that the left-right political spectrum is 230 years old going back to the revolutionary French assemblies of 1789 and 1791. Other than that, the original essay is not wrong in any special respect. The basic problem is that the left-right dichotomy is not based on essential concepts that differentiate their adherents. And this is well known, now.
The first symbol for the Libertarian Party was an arrow leading off a bar to show that libertarianism is off the traditional left-right spectrum.
The issues then were that the LP was (is) "socially liberal and fiscally conservative." That, too, has become a mainstream catchphrase.
The Worlds Smallest Political Quiz was created 40 years ago by the Advocates for Self Government. It asked two sets of questions and plotted your answers in space, left and right, up and down on axes of authority versus liberty and the individual versus the collective. The details have changed over the years as different issues grabbed headlines.
It has imitators today. The FactMyth blog presents several ways to measure Left-Right ideologies. http://factmyth.com/the-left-right-political-spectrum-explained/
This article from The Atlantic (June 20, 2014) is unsurprising, but just underscores the fact that "everyone" knows that the traditional left-right dichotomy is unworkable. And we know that, but we still use the scale in our own common chats.
This article from the Objective Standard (https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/2012/06/political-left-and-right-properly-defined/ ) is not wrong, but I do note that they put the people they (and we) like on the Right and their (our) enemies on the left. They could have done it the other way. After all, Ayn Rand defined her political philosophy as being "a radical for capitalism" which could be a left wing label if the right were defined as a traditionalist, i.e., collectivist-altruist.
Ayn Rand was correct in identifying the fact that she was going against 2500 years of philosophy. Steve's mythic narrative in #2 above is easy accept, but is not supported by the facts of history. "We can easily imagine brute force ruling small groups of cave dwellers and call that the first government. Joining with the witch doctor would make that thug's government more efficient since all the believers would wear the yoke of rule more willingly when it is morally justified." I am sure that we can all imagine it. But that does not make it so. In fact, from my university classes 2005-2010, I know of no society so constructed. Even the most "primitive" tribes have complex rules of governance. I think that if you push the clock back, you will find in reality that government in any sense was a recent invention, perhaps only since the last Ice Age, maybe only since 8000 BCE. If you look at social apes, you can see some structures such as the Alpha Male and you can find the Beta Males going around breaking up fights. And that can look like the natural roots of government. But as for human tribes, the truth is that the bow and arrow (TWO Ice Ages ago, maybe 64,000 years ago) is significant because the bow and arrow lets a female child kill an adult male from a distance. It's an equalizer. So, "government" in the "primitive" tribe must have been about more than brute force.
Julian Jaynes asserted that evidence of "cannibalism" among simians (across species, not within) notwithstanding, humans showed no signs of genocide, ritual punishments like mass beatings within the tribe, until after the invention of writing. Jaynes' theory is that writing gave us internal voice. That was recent. It was a quantum leap. And it separated us from all the apes and other animals in our ancestral past. Even in modern times, there are people who have no "voice in their head."
The Liberty Fund asserts a cuneiform sign for "freedom." https://www.libertyfund.org/about-liberty-fund
They may be correct. The earliest individualst philosopher I can cite was Aristippus of Cyrene. Realize that he was far from what we would recognize as an "individualist" being a slave owner. However, he also recognized the contradiction in that and admitted that it was better for him. His writing nonetheless was a departure from the political arguments of Plato and Aristotle which accepted collectives as given. For one thing, he chose to not belong to any city, dangerous though that was for a traveler.
(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 1/10, 8:47pm)