Saturday, November 1, 2003
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An interesting survey and a depressing fact
Via Chris Betram, I found this political compass survey page. Taking the survey, I was shocked, shocked to discover that I'm a economic and social libertarian!!*
At the end of the survey, this page says:
Here's the chart:
Here's the depressing fact -- not a single political leader listed is in the same quadrant as me (the lower-right one).
Can anyone think of a head of state who would fit in that category?
* For those who care about my exact score: 4.38 on the "Economic Left/Right" axis, and -2.77 on the "Libertarian/Authoritarian" axis.posted by Dan on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM
Why be depressed? It's just dots.
Some time ago, I subjected myself to the same sort of 'test.' It turns out I was precisely zero (0) on the x axis and a minus point one two (-.12) on the y axis, whatever that might mean.
Does this mean I have no opinion? Not at all. It just means (if it means anything, at all) I should have studied the law instead of history, for both make judgments and balance is the key. The problem is, you get paid more if you're in the law.
Go figure.posted by: Michael on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
I find it extremely hard to believe any survey that would put Jean Chretien and Nelson Mandela on the Libertarian side. Of course, the Dalai Lama's role is spiritual, not political, but it is interesting to note that perhaps his best friend in Congress was Sen. Jesse Helms.
What about Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen of Denmark? He's the first head of state (as opposed to a governor, like Gov. Bill Owens of Colorado or possibly Arnold) that occurred to me that might qualify for the lower right quadrant.
Some of the smaller island nations which are also tax havens probably have relatively libertarian heads of state.posted by: John Thacker on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
Emir Hamad of Qatar? Although his state remains authoritarian, he has taken the most real steps toward opening up the system of anyone in the Gulf (al-Jazeera, for example), and I believe is fairly business-friendly.posted by: Brian Ulrich on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
There may be an argument for Vaclav Havelposted by: opie on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
Where's John Howard?posted by: Kelli on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
Hmm, if you don't like the results this one gives, just shop around for one that gives you the results you expect, there are quite a few of them about.posted by: Factory on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
While multi-axis political graphs are superior to traditional left-right models, Internet surveys that attempt to place you on such a graph have a tendency to reflect the creator's position more than yours. I've seen this particular test posted to newsgroups before, and *everyone* ended up being a right-libertarian, even people who should've been in the opposite quadrant.posted by: Sean O'Hara on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, is definitely a right libertarian personally. He often attends Cato Institute functions.
Another might be Paul Bremer, de facto head of Iraq, who has implemented a flat tax and done a lot to free the Iraqi economy.posted by: Bruce Bartlett on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
Tony Blair would normally fall into the lower right quadrant -- at least when taking him by his deeds, not his words.
The problem with how they identify all the politicians is that they only rely on party manifestos etc.
Blair sounds quite tough/authoritarian but is in reality a libertarian.
Anyway, this graph quite unreasonably presupposes that they know what the middle ground in politics either empirically is or normatively should be.
Quite a nice idea, but also flawed. Don't take it too seriously.
Yes, Blair was in the lower right quadrant when I took the test about a year ago. They've dropped him for some reason. As I recall, he wasn't quite as far to the right as you, Dan, but he as about as libertarian. I remember because my dot was just where his was.posted by: Jim on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
Oops, now I've seen that Blair hasn't been dropped but is now in the upper right quadrant, having moved/been moved in a northeasterly direction.
I just took the test again and they've moved me in the same direction, though not as far as they moved him.
I guess these test givers have it all figgered out!posted by: Jim on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
Ronald Reagan was the quintessential rightwing libertarian, although to get elected he played to the social authoritarians in his own party.posted by: Lee A. on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
Herr Gropenfurer, bottem right.posted by: jlocke on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
You want names on the right and libertarian? George Washington. Thomas Jefferson. John Adams. Abraham Lincoln. You're in right good company. It's where you ought to be. This is what being a Republican used to be all about. It's the party honchos that's gotten away from you, and not the party base. Most Republicans I know in person - and most of my friends, neighbors, and family fall in this category - are right with ya. Don't despair. There are allot of us scratching our heads right now and asking what's been going on. The truth is that Delay and the other big wigs been just playing the party base, throwing one-off hot-button social issues to the faithful but completely deviating from the true redmeat of what it means to be Republican.posted by: Oldman on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
Hey, I'm in the lower right quadrant too! Now I can say I'm not alone - I share the position with Daniel Drezner! ;)posted by: hans ze beeman on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
The Political Compass is inherently flawed, for one reason: the authoritarian-libertarian and socialist-laissez faire spectra are completely independent of each other. Thus, the chart disguises the true degree of statism and left-right bent of those rated. Contrast to the famous Shortest Political Quiz, in which the economic and non-economic freedom axes intersect at the statist extremes, not the midsections, of each.posted by: Alan K. Henderson on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
I was heartened and gratified to see that I scored almost identically to my hero Milton Friedman. I'm a minarchist libertarian (not an anarchist) so that seems fair to me.
As for Tony Blair being a libertarian - words fail me. The current Labour government is one of the most auhtoritarian and illiberal in history. Blair's Home Secretary, David Blunkett, is whittling away at basic freedoms such as jury trials and habeas corpus, while the class warriors on the back-benches are trying to outlaw hunting. The Chief Bandit, Gordon Brown, has introduced huge redistributive taxation measures that are going to run the UK into the buffers in a couple of years. I'd give Blair about the same x-coordinate as Jean Chretien and the same y-coordinate as Robert Mugabe.posted by: David Gillies on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
The reality is that better labels for the "Libertarian/Authoritarian" axis would be "Secular Liberal Individualist" on the bottom side and "Disagrees with Secular Liberal Individualism" on the top side. And many diverse philosophies end up in the top quadrant.posted by: pj on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
Ohhhhh, I see...Persons in actual "authority" tend to give authoritarian answers.
What a revelation.
Professor Drezner, this thread's "science" is even more faulty than "Contractors" thread.
And the olnly one that appears to buy it is... Mr. Oldman. Shocking.
Trying to make snide remarks cause you can't win on the merits of your rather wishy-washy reasoning I see. There's a difference between science and allegiance, fact and association. A smart person knows their facts, but also knows who are their real friends.
I was trying to cheer up Dan here by reminding him that the most brilliant leaders in American history have often been simultaneously socially conversative and yet proud champtions of liberties. That's a matter of philosophy and who one chooses to identify one's self with.
The scientific validity of the study is entirely aside the point. Something which I'd have expected even someone of your limited intellectual inquiry to have appreciated, but once again I'm surprised by the depths of cluelessness my fellow humanity is capable of sinking to. Oh well. Huzzah Dan! That's the most important thing.posted by: Oldman on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
My close friends tend to call me "that raving anarchist loony" as a sort of compliment. I scored 5.8 and -3.7. Not even at the bottom. I suspect the fact that, even though I have no religion and don't even know any good questions to ask about it, answering that I agree that religious schools have something good to offer affected my score. What is it about just generic religiosity that sets off some people? If you're an atheist (I'm not, see above) why should you care about what anyone else thinks about a non-existent entity? Am I the only one who sees the good that comes out of many faith-based instituions? I think not, and not all of them are authoritarian, either. I'm also pretty sure that not all religions are all that authoritarian, viz. Amish and Quakers.posted by: JorgXMcKie on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
I've seen this test before - nice idea, but some apsects seem a little dubious. For example, some of the questions are pretty odd ("Abstract art is not really art"?) and the placements of some of the sample leaders are questionable.
It's probably pretty accurate in showing a lack of strong right-libertarians in power, though, for a pretty simple reason: I think it's generally a fringe viewpoint - even in the USA, supposed land of rugged individualists. This poll, from a few years back, is a pretty clear indication:
Only for one of the of federal spending areas listed here did more than 10% of respondents want such spending to decrease (military defense), and if the poll had been taken six months later, that one would also have been below 10%. Support for more spending on health and education is overwhelming, and the demand for reduced spending in those areas is nearly nonexistent.
Vague political rhetoric aside, it appears that very few people actually favor a smaller US federal government in practice - which goes a long way toward explaining why the federal government has continued expanding despite being under the control of a party that claims to be against "big government."posted by: Nick on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
Mr. Oldman, you've been asking to be fisked for sometime now. Sorry to have to oblige.
Mr. Wellesley, [Well, so far, so good]
Trying to make snide remarks [Wrong. Not trying, making] cause you can't win on the merits of your rather wishy-washy reasoning [Wrong. Pointing out the circular logic- a faulty reasoning error - of the x,y, coordinate scheme in this thread] I see.
I was trying to cheer up Dan here by reminding him that the most brilliant leaders in American history have often been simultaneously socially conversative and yet proud champtions of liberties. [Yes, except that you then admit...]That's a matter of philosophy and who one chooses to identify one's self with. [Well, of course]
The scientific validity of the study is entirely aside the point. [Whoa. Wrongest of the Wrong. Yet you try to hinge your rebuttal on reason. My friend, You have just argued that validity is aside the point of science, and here endeth the lesson]
Something which I'd have expected even someone of your limited intellectual inquiry to have appreciated, but once again I'm surprised by the depths of cluelessness my fellow humanity is capable of sinking to. Oh well. Huzzah Dan! That's the most important thing.posted by: Art Wellesley on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
Lincoln as a libertarian??? Are you talking about the same Lincoln who suspended habeas corpus?posted by: Al on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
Apparently you are a British Liberal Democrat. The author puts that party as slightly to the right (BWAHAHAHA! - ed.) and slightly libertarian.posted by: Al on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
For God's sake man, if you're going to put up such a pathetic attempt at a rebuttal and call it *what I deserve* then you ought to at least learn a little thing called English.
"The scientific validity of the study is entirely aside the point. [Whoa. Wrongest of the Wrong. Yet you try to hinge your rebuttal on reason. My friend, You have just argued that validity is aside the point of science, and here endeth the lesson]"
"The point" does not refer to "science". Here endeth the lesson in the topic called English.
What I deserve Mr. Wellesley is the companionship of individuals who whether they agree with me or not can do so on grounds of intellectual ability at least equalling that of an ordinary nine year old child. That Wellesley, clearly preculdes you.posted by: Oldman on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
Hmmm. I'm dead center on the social axis, well to the right on the economic axis. It seems being pro-life moves one in an "authoritarian" direction, as does thinking homosexuality is wrong, even if you don't want the government involved except to prohibit gay "marriage".
On Lincoln-being at heart a Whig, he was a big-government type by the standards of his day. He believed in protectionism and big federal expenditures on "internal improvements."posted by: John Salmon on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
My guess is that Mandela and the Dalai Lama got awarded Libertarian points for longstanding opposition to particular authorities, rather than a more general opposition to authority. I suppose the reasoning is that if you were really authoritarian you'd say, well, I don't like the way X is ruling the country, but at least he's doing it with an iron fist. That's odd, but not so much odder than the whole "authoritarian personality type" theory.posted by: Joshua on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
I think he meant 'precludes'. My OED has no listing for culd or culdding, pre- or post.
smirkposted by: tommyg on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
According to the chart virtually all leaders are authoritarian, whether on the left or right. Is that so surprising? Power is about control.
Note that the only "libertarian" leaders are
Lincoln as a libertarian??? Are you talking about the same Lincoln who suspended habeas corpus?
During a time of war in which the same President Lincoln also ordered the freeing of millions of slaves (although only in the CSA and it did not have the force of law until the passing of the 13th Amendment).
Still the earlier poster’s comments that Lincoln favored high tariffs to fund infrastructure projects is correct (although mild by today’s standards) would preclude him from being considered a libertarian.
Still on the balance by ending slavery – which while it may not have been the original reason for the Civil War it was inarguably something he favored although thought impossible- Lincoln unquestionably advanced the cause of human liberty. It’s a pity that Congress did not follow his original plan for reconstruction and we might have avoided the necessity of having to have a civil rights movement a century later.posted by: Thorley Winston on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
posted by: pj on 11.01.03 at 03:16 PM [permalink]
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