Charting the Four Types in American Political-Economy as interpreted by Terence Hoyt

I recommend reading the narrative explaining the four types before reading this chart. Go to the home page and click on "The Four Types in Western Political Philosophy."

The founders of the United States followed in a long-tradition in Western political philosophy of analyzing the dominant motive forces underlying human action in a political-economic context. We may believe that the United States has endured because our founders got this analysis right. The purpose of this table is to lay out in relatively simple form the nature of these incentives.

The first column lists the four types. The remaining columns explain the various characteristics of each type focusing on the way in which the incentive when in play impacts the goal of political philosophy: the maximization of the ability of citizens to get their basic needs met in peace and security. This typology is in contrast to the assumption that the claim that "all men are created equal" means that only "the individual" exists, as Randians, free marketers as well as liberals tend to assert.
The Four Types and assumed % of the population.

Source: All types are either explicit or implicit in Plato’s Republic.
Basic Motive Force: What does this type want? (“Basic” implies other kinds of motives may be present. The political system assumes that only the stated motives is operative.)

Is the type a “good citizen” or a “good man”? (See page within this site explaining the distinction.)
Does the naturally existing motive help us realize the ends of Western political thought, enabling most to get basic needs met in peace? If so, how? If not, why not?If the motive of the type is not conducive to justice, how does the lawmaker use laws to create artificial incentives to adjust for this?

Note: Activists who stress economic freedom fail to understand how regulations and law sustain meaningful economic freedom.
How do artificial rules or laws act on the given motive to mitigate the socially disruptive effects of allowing this type total freedom?

Philosophical references and historical examples.
The Philosopher

(This category includes the religious type).

Less than .01%

The operative modal verb is “I shall” and “I ought”. The philosopher- type experiences himself as fulfilling a specifically ethical obligation to self and society.
1) The deep Good. (If Religious Type: To do God’s will.)
2a) If the individual exists in a relation to nature rather than God: he wants to understand the “parts” of nature and how the fit into a “whole”. He seeks scientific knowledge.
2b) If in relation to social life and the human realm, he wants to construct a system in which the “parts” will contribute to a well-functioning “whole”, political anthropology.

This type will be a “good citizen” when he contributes to a just society, and a “good man” when he seeks his own deepest moral and spiritual good.
The philosopher type is the only type for whom the naturally occurring motive is conducive to the ends of politics, as defined above. He cares about the “whole”. His desire be left alone in order to seek knowledge motivates him to create a system that makes it possible for most to get basic needs met.Since the philosopher and religious type care about the good and justice, they do not need artificially created incentives to motivate them to contribute to politically desired outcomes. They are the source of the structure that maximizes these outcomesN/A, with this qualification: The philosopher type is at risk of becoming a disordered philosopher type. In religious language, it is his greatest temptation. (See below.)References: Plato’s Republic. Plato’s philosopher-king; Aristotle’s statesman and good man.

Historical examples: Plato, Aristotle, Jesus, Descartes, Rousseau, Hobbes, Locke and the American founders in their intentional relation to Locke.
Those who enter a religious order, for example Jesuits. (I refer to Jesuits, as they have a good grasp of the history of pre modern and modern Western civilization.)
The Strong Man:

This type is defined as those who are naturally more able to attain what they want.

Less than 1%.

The operative modal verb is “I want”. The strong man is purely egoistic and thinks primarily of his own narrow benefit, even when getting it is at the expense of others and society as a whole.
This type wants to retain their position at the top of an actually existing social hierarchy. They want to retain their power, wealth and privileges.

This type is a “good citizen” when they contribute to productive economic activity and abide by the rules set up by society. If they seek to influence the laws for their personal economic benefit, they are “bad citizens”.

This type is rarely a “good man”, as such motives are not their concern. Jean Valjean in Les Miserables might be considered an example of both, however. Unless we know the inner motives of the individual, we cannot ascertain if they are a “good man”.
This type is the most responsible for wealth creation. However, this type is also potentially destructive of the goal of order, because they will take action that undermines the very system that makes great wealth possible, a system based on market confidence and trust. When they seek to attain great wealth and power, they will not have concern for the destructive effects their actions may have on others in particular circumstances, thus undermining confidence and trust. Trust cannot be artificially reconstructed once destroyed by the strong man who has been allowed to do what he wants at will.The system allows those that are in fact “strong men” to attain great wealth and status, within limits. These limits are in the form of strictly applied regulations and laws that “channel” the natural motives of the type so that their business practices do not undermine trust and confidence of “all men” . Tax rates are progressive and very high above certain income levels, in part to prevent excessive income inequality which itself is destabilizing. Equality is not pursued as a deep moral value, but a high level of inequality is treated as a destabilizing outcome.In politics, a structure of “checks and balances” is established. This structure relies on the natural incentives of some strong to take action to “limit” the natural excessive of others in the same group, (e.g. as a politician in one party seeks to counter a politician in another party). In economics, rules of business practice will exist that deny the strong man the incentive to engage in practices that would result in destabilization of his own firm or larger economyMachiavellian.

Thrasymachus’ definition of justice in Republic I expresses the motive force of the strong man as a type in Western political thought. Machiavelli’s “the Prince” resurrects the type. Marx, although a disordered philosopher, did correctly see that laissez-faire capitalism would lead to a new manifestation of the strong man. All manner and sort of third world dictators. Soviet leaders. Nazi Germany is a special case that cannot easily be fit into the model. Most who run for the American presidency.
The Average Person.


The modal verb is "I need”. The average person focuses on getting his basic needs met.
This type wants to get their basic needs met in peace and security, and with minimal mundane work. In economic terms, they want to be paid more rather than less for their work.

They will be “good citizens” when they do their job well and contribute to society, whether that be a family unit or their local community. We cannot ascertain whether they are “good men” without knowing their inner motives, but if they are engaged in economic activity that has no moral value, that alone disqualifies them from being “good men”, unless they are doing it out of the motive of love for others. To be judged as “good men”, they cannot be motivated by status or money
When this type acts on their basic motives, they will contribute to wealth creation as well as social and political stability,

Note: Criminals are not categorized given that they are removed from affecting society. If they are “professional” criminals, however, they are to be categories as “strong men”.
Fear and shame of being at the lower end of the economic hierarchy will function as a strong motive force for the many Desire for an easier life and relative status will also motivate this type.The average person will tend to live according to the prescribed definition of success, and so will not require rules and laws to prevent him from harming the system. Criminal behavior is routinely punished.The American Middle Class in the 20th Century. The tendency of a similar class developing in Europe later, as well as in the rest of the world at the beginning of the 21st century. The fact that more get their basic needs met in peace and stability increases further “buy-in” into this model. The model, when functioning as intended, is self-reinforcing. This is a reason why the American constitution has lasted as long as it has.
The Disordered Philosopher, aka fanatic or extremist.

Less than .01%.

The modal verb is “I must”. He is driven to pursue a morally pure vision of society.
This type wants to make society morally perfect around a particular value, e.g. freedom or equality. Puritanism is the source of this motivation in the United States.

Examples: The Communist or Marxist wants to maximize economic equality. The Randian wants to maximize economic freedom. The key issue is that these values are conceived as deeply moral. The treatment of political values as deeply moral if not spiritual is the source of disorder.

This type is usually a “bad citizen”, unless we can show that their philosophy directly contributes to an improvement in justice in spite of its contribution to chaos. The type is never a “good man” as they are not inwardly focused as the spiritual type is .
The desire to make society morally pure is corrosive of stability and economic well being. The desire to see a deep moral value realized in society will lead the activist to pursue policies that have little or no relation to the motive forces of the strong men or the average person.


The Soviet Union failed because very few were in fact motivated by the moral value of economic equality. Laissez-faire capitalism cannot work because it undermines market trust and confidence, the very conditions necessary for a market economy to function efficiently. Assuming that most individuals are motivated by deep moral values and then basing political-economy on these motives made it much harder for the citizens to get basic needs met.
The “separation of church and state” is widely treated as normative in the West. Citizens also expect each other to be moderate and avoid excessive zeal when speaking of moral values. Religion is generally not talked about in a political or public venue. If it is, it is mistrusted by most.The expectation that citizens will express moral and religious values moderately and in private will put pressure on potentially zealous individuals to moderate themselves. Americans in particular will tend to ignore such individuals.The Crusades are the West’s peak example of Disordered Philosophy. Public education as well as propaganda expressing the evil nature of political philosophies based on utopian and morally puritanical goals will be outcomes of modern political thought.

Fundamentalists in Times Square and the French Quarter on Mardi Gras tend to be ignored. Americans also tend to treat any religious group that seriously seeks to live differently than the norm as “quaint”. Amish country is treated like a tourist destination.

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