Sunday, March 13, 2005

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I'm not a pure libertarian

Unlike Michael Munger, I'm not terribly bothered by my score of 58 out of a possible 160 points on this Libertarian Purity test. First, that score characterizes me as "a medium-core libertarian," which is pretty much accurate. Second, I'm perfectly comfortable saying no to questions like

  • Should the law itself be privatized?

  • Should the state be disarmed and its military disbanded?

  • Is it morally permissible to exercise "vigilante justice," even against government leaders?

  • Should the state be abolished?

  • Would you call yourself an "anarcho-capitalist?"
  • As I've said before, "I’m frequently conflicted between my laissez-faire instincts and my clear-eyed recognition that there is no substitute for nation-states in world politics." Libertarian theories of international relations have never been able to cope with this fact.

    posted by Dan on 03.13.05 at 01:11 PM


    Does this mean you will NOT be my policy adviser, when I win the gov's race in NC?

    I had such high hopes....

    posted by: mungowitz on 03.13.05 at 01:11 PM [permalink]

    I scored 18 which makes me a "soft-core libertarian" according to the test. Actually I'm a former libertarian with some surviving tendencies.

    Except perhaps for questions 52 and 53, the third section is about anarcho-capitalism not libertarianism as defined traditionally . Somone who answered yes to 1-50 and 52-53 and no to everything else would still be a full-fledged libertarian in my opinion.

    The point about international relations is a good one. If you believe that liberty is a universal then there is nothing necessarily unlibertarian in , say, fighting a foreign war to overthrow a tyranical regime in another country. I think the reason that libertarianism isn't very good at dealing with such questions is that it is a philosophy which tends towards absolutes rather than trade-offs and probabilities.

    So if you accept that a foreign war itself diminishes liberty but that possible post-war success (like a less authoritarian government in the long run) increases liberty, you have to consider how much you are willing to trade-off future possible liberty for current liberty. There is also the trade-off between liberty in your country and around the world. If you view liberty as an absolute good always to be maximized you are uncomfortable about such trade-offs.

    posted by: Strategist on 03.13.05 at 01:11 PM [permalink]

    I scored a 34. The entire test is for entertainment purposes only, I guess, but that third section was just a waste of time. Only someone with a 'Kool-Aid drinking' personality would answer yes to the vast majority of questions from that section.

    posted by: Les Nessman on 03.13.05 at 01:11 PM [permalink]

    It seems more a test of mindless attitude than anything else.
    People are both individuals and group. This test is just more groupthink passing itself off as individualism.
    The problem we have today is that there are few coherent ways to define the group. Tribalism is history. We've outgrown city-states. Religion is for the mindless. Nation-states, corporations, empires...sports teams...Oh, yes, families.
    We need to find some form of balance, otherwise Adam Smith's enlightened self-interest will always be balanced by an increasingly intrusive government. Greed only gets us so far.

    posted by: brodix on 03.13.05 at 01:11 PM [permalink]

    Some of them aren't exactly yes/no questions, either. I mean, really -- I'm not sure I can morally equivocate our presence in Germany with our presence in South Korea, or our presence in Afghanistan. And I can't in good conscience answer yes to anything after #54 -- I could get away with a "maybe/it depends" to #57 and #62, depending on how jaded I feel and how long it's been since I last read something by Ayn Rand.

    I got 99. And the "don't you feel guilty for not scoring higher" commentary doesn't inspire overwhelming confidence. It's a test designed to elicit a predetermined response -- a tool of propoganda, not diagnosis -- no matter what the introductory remarks say.

    posted by: Sarah on 03.13.05 at 01:11 PM [permalink]

    I scored a 20: What color is the sky in your perfect world? Part of that is because I'm not a good test taker, occasionally talking back to the test or continually saying, "it depends." Plus, I was laughing too hard at the lunatic ideas of the expected "correct" answers.

    posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 03.13.05 at 01:11 PM [permalink]

    The scary part is the clowns that actually run the Libertarian Party do believe in the crazy stuff.

    posted by: Mark Buehner on 03.13.05 at 01:11 PM [permalink]

    I win. I scored an 11.

    posted by: Andrew Steele on 03.13.05 at 01:11 PM [permalink]

    Should the law itself be privatized?

    WTF? Is this question there just to see if you're even paying atteniton?

    posted by: uh_clem on 03.13.05 at 01:11 PM [permalink]

    Segment III in the quiz wasn't even libertarian. It fell into the anarchist/anarcho-capitalist area.

    I voted yes on section I, but even it had its ambiguties, for example

    Are you against the draft?

    I would say that I can think of circumstances when its needed (as in WW-II), but it should be the last resort.

    posted by: erg on 03.13.05 at 01:11 PM [permalink]

    I don't know if "the law" in general should be privatized.

    But after listening to Ken Lay last night, I definitely believe that we should outsource legal proceedings for major economic crimes to the PRC, where they have a pretty good idea of the appropriate punishment for CEO idiot savants.

    posted by: Gene on 03.13.05 at 01:11 PM [permalink]

    Scoring 58 means you scored at least 28 points in the second and third groups.

    I'd be curious to know which of those ideas you found attractive.

    (I scored 10 myself, edging out Andrew Steele for the win).

    posted by: Bernard Yomtov on 03.13.05 at 01:11 PM [permalink]

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