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The Burkean Gridiron

A Visual Model for Positioning Economic Alternatives

Intentions don’t matter in politics or government. Results and only results matter. 

Economic and political results stem from control mechanisms. Those mechanisms and results can be plotted on the Burkean Gridiron, a graphical model of economic and political alternatives, their positioning and likely results. Similarly, politicians, Presidents econ systems and governmental programs can be plotted on the Burkean Gridiron.

In this V1 Burkean Gridiron, yard lines indicate levels of centralized or decentralized control. There is no Y-axis, let alone Z, yet. (Exception: The Gridiron of American Presidents seen below uses the Y-axis to denote when a president was in office.)

Field Position

Field position is based on the Burkean Control Axis.

  • cCon (Centralized Control) on the Left

  • dCon (Decentralized Control) on the Right. 

Positions are denoted by side (cCon or dCon) and yard number (0 to 50). For instance:

  • C35 is positioned on the cCon 35 yard line, 15 yards into Left Field.

  • D35 is positioned on the dCon 35 yard line, 15 yards into Right Field. 

The lower the number, the farther into Left Field or Right Field.

Determining the optimal position for a policy or politician is a Goldilocks exercise. Since midfield rarely yields #More4More, the exercise is to go 5, 10, 20 or 30 yards from midfield without taking on too much dysfunction from the increasing cCon or dCon. 

Economic Control Mechanisms on the Burkean Gridiron

Four main Economic Control Mechanisms underlay the economic behavior of a polity.

  • Taxes: Tax rates & rules should balance necessary revenue with economic vitality.

    • Higher rates are cCon: Government controls more money in an economy.

    • Lower rates are dCon: Tax payers control more money in an economy.

  • Suppliers

    • cCon comes from government monopolies, e.g., delivery of K12 education, or from monopoly businesses, e.g., Standard Oil way back in the day.

    • dCon comes from multiple suppliers competing for customers.

  • Gateways: Gateway mechanisms are used for government funded services, e.g., K12 education or health care.

    • cCon: Bureaucrats decide how and from whom individuals can access services.

    • dCon: Individuals directly control how and from whom they purchase services.

  • Regulations

    • cCon employs a heavy regulatory regime, typically leading to Red Tape.

    • dCon uses a light touch or benign neglect.

Neither extreme cCon or dCon is optimal, albeit cCon imposes significant costs at even non-extreme levels. Those cCon costs are covered in the Results for Humanity shown below, while the cost of the latter classically manifests itself in commercial criminality.

Results for Humanity on the Burkean Gridiron

cCon advocates intend it to increase fairness, to "spread the wealth", per Barack Obama. Yet, those kind intentions must be balanced against cCon's desultory impacts, as shown here and declared in eCon 204 —

Moderate dCon is the optimal position for a polity. dCon in the D45 to D25 range maximizes broad prosperity, the pursuit of happiness, individual empowerment and overall innovation. eCon 205 — dCon eCon is the smartest eCon explains why

As the world's first Burkean Nation, America has always been D45 to D25, thus explaining our country's world historic success over two and a half centuries. Unparalleled prosperity, the pursuit of happiness and its achievement, individual empowerment on a mass scale and ongoing innovation have been the bountiful fruits of the dCon tree for hundreds of millions of Americans down through the generations.

Economic Systems on the Burkean Gridiron

Four systems dominate political and economic thinking, with the two less extreme dominating desired economic practice today. From left to right, cCon to dCon, those systems are Communism, Socialism, Capitalism and Laissez-faire. Midfield out, they are Capitalism & Socialism, flanked on the outside by Laissez-faire & Communism.

Their essential difference is in how they handle private property rights.

More color on this, including the choice of icons, can be found in eCon 103 — Economic Systems on the Control Axis.

The Gridiron of American Presidents

Of the seven most recent presidents, Reagan, Obama, Trump and Biden are more economically significant than Clinton or the Bushes, so are shown larger on the Burkean Gridiron of American Presidents. As to recency, the four 21st century presidents are along the top, the final three 20th century presidents along the bottom.

Presidential Placement on the Burkean Gridiron

  • Ronald Reagan: The Reagan Revolution included a major simplification to the tax code, including reduced rates. This and other dCon moves led to an explosion in growth and revenues. All in, Reagan was a D25 President.

  • Barack Obama: ObamaCare was but one high profile cCon initiative by the charismatic Community Organizer. All in, Obama was a C35 President.

  • Donald Trump: The Trump Boom was fueled by major cuts in tax rates, reduced regulations and a Drill, Baby Drill energy policy. The former led to an explosion in growth, albeit cut off by the Pandemic, plus record tax revenues for the Federal Government, while the latter led to a dramatic decline in the cost of living for everyday Americans. Like Reagan, Trump45 was a D25 President.

  • Joe Biden: Uncle Joe lurched hard into cCon from Day 1 of his presidency. His Bidenomics & Green Tomfoolery have been disastrous for the country, especially for lower and middle class Americans, whose cost of living skyrocketed. Many must work multiple jobs to get by. Further, the oppression obsession that's a pox on 21st century life gets fueled by Biden's embrace of DEI, Net Zero and other cCon nostrums. Biden is a C25 President, doomed to failure, a slave to insanity.

Energy to Power the World on the Burkean Gridiron

Energy abundance is fundamental for modern civilization. Life is famously "nasty, brutish and short" without it.

Today's energy and related industries, e.g., cars and trucks, are undergoing a massive forced conversion due to dread concern about "Existential Climate Change". To mitigate this purported threat, considerable cCon is being applied to everything from gas cars to gas stoves to gas stations to power generation, distribution and pricing.

However, the Laws of eCon don't exempt the kind-intentions of Climate Catastrophists. So, it's worth noting where a few Climate Change movements fall on the Burkean Gridiron. They range from C0 "all the way" to C35, still deep in Left Field. Hence, we can reliably anticipate their inevitably negative results. CAUTION: CATACLYSM AHEAD


Kind Intentions, Evil Results was a 2022 Burkean blog post that explored the disconnect been kind-intentions and harmful cCon. The Burkean Gridiron now provides a visual metaphor for the positioning of governing regimes, whether on the mostly harmful cCon end-of-the-field or the mostly healthy dCon end.

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Who is David Burkean?


I am David Burkean, America First patriot, ethical pragmatist, avid Burkean and advocate for Decentralized Control - dCon. I'm wary of Centralized Control - cCon. I see in cCon-dCon terms. #More4More follows in the wake.

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