More libertarian than most

Scrubone is slowly, slowly, slowly* developing a graph of the NZ political blogosphere, based on the Political Spectrum Quiz. I’ve just done the quiz, and it turns out that I am a left social libertarian. Wev. Somewhat worryingly, it turns out that I am more libertarian than many of the so-called right wingers in the NZ blog scene. NB: Some caveats apply: it’s an on-line quiz; it’s biased towards the USA scene; it assumes the existence of a god; some of the questions are ambiguous. But it’s still fun, and providing that we are all answering the same questions, it can provide some sense of who we are in relation to each other.

Here’s me: 3.43 left, 6.55 libertarian.


That makes sense to me.

I’ve got lots of favourite sayings that represent my feminism, and among them is one I have adopted from Stef, the ex-expat, who posts at The Hand Mirror. Feminism means that I’m free to stuff up, and make my very own mistakes. Feminism makes me responsible for me, for the good and the bad. I’m damned if I want anyone else telling me what to do, and I’m equally damned if I want to tell anyone else how to live their lives. But I do want to make sure that people are free to choose. To my mind, contra Chandra Kukathas in The Liberal Archipelago, that means that you might need to ensure that it is possible to be free. And even if someone has chosen a position of subjugation, you need to be sure that at any time, she can choose to leave that position. Nevertheless, if that is what someone chooses, then even if I don’t like her choice, I want her to be free to make it.

That accounts for the libertarian part of equation. I’m not pure libertarian; I’m inclined to think that free speech is not a god-given eternal right, and that hate speech can be equivalent to shouting fire in a crowded theatre. So my response to this question on the quiz…

It should be against the law to use hateful language toward another racial group.

… undoubtedly reduced my overall libertarian score. When a black man in the US, an Aboriginal man in Australia, a Maori boy in New Zealand can be killed and the killers not prosecuted, or let off, or convicted only of a minor offence, then there is something profoundly wrong with the way we talk about black and Aboriginal and Maori people. And when women can be characterised as somehow deserving to be raped…. well, that looks like inciting people to violence to me. So I’m not okay with the freedom to spout hate speech, at all.

But above all, I support the right to choose, and make my own choices. When it comes to social issues, I’m libertarian.

But economically, I’m at least somewhat wet. I love taxation! And I absolutely love state provision of education and health and welfare. Why? Because they give people the tools and resources to be free, to make their own choices, to be responsible for themselves, as fully autonomous adults. And that’s why I end up on the left side of the economic scale. Freedom to choose is very, very important, but it’s also important to enable people to make those choices.

Take the quiz! Find out where you stand. But then do the difficult bit. Think a little bit about why you end up in your particular position. And more importantly, can you justify it?

Update: Scrubone has put his chart of the NZ political blogosphere on its own page.

*Another Eric Carle reference.


18 comments on “More libertarian than most

  1. Pavlov's Cat says:

    I ended up further left than you but considerably less libertarian, though not quite tipped over to the authoritarian side. I think I’ve seen too much lately of what can happen (especially to the powerless) when government doesn’t step in …

  2. mimbles says:

    I did this back in January and got:

    I am a left moderate social libertarian
    Left: 7.28, Libertarian: 2.94

  3. Adele Villemez says:

    I scored Left 5.88 and Libertarian 6.82.

    I think the fact that I scored so far Left may be part of the US bias you mentioned. Yes, my co-workers think I’m a bleeding-heart liberal, but I’m actually in the middle of my group of friends on the Left-Right scale. Based on your statement “I absolutely love state provision of education and health and welfare.” I doubt my economic attitudes are really much more left than yours.

    I scored more Libertarian than anyone else I know who has taken the test, but fractions of a point are probably not significant.

  4. Adele Villemez says:

    I took the test again using your link and the test was set up slightly differently than the one I did before. This time I scored Left 4.98 and Libertarian 6.12. I don’t know if the differences result from the different test format or me being in a different mood, but I think my previous comments still apply.

  5. Carol says:

    We are birds of a feather, aren’t we?

    I am apparently a left moderate social libertarian.
    Left: 5.71, Libertarian: 1.64

  6. kate says:

    [I am] a left moderate social libertarian.
    Left: 6.69, Libertarian: 3.14

    Some of those questions were very strange, the correct answer from me wasn’t on the agree-disagree axis so much as “I can’t believe this is even a question, what kind of culture is this??”

  7. Daleaway says:

    Who are the two females in the Vatican City who differ so much from the males there?
    And could they perhaps have been fibbing?

  8. scrubone says:

    it slowed down because I didn’t get anymore from about 2 days after the second draft.

    I’ll include yours now, and put it on it’s own page.

  9. M-H says:

    I’m like Dr Cat – lefter then you (6.81) and more authoritarian (0.61). And the US-ness of it was extremely irritating to me. I found many of the questions pointless and irrelevant to Aus, so scored them as very low in importance.

  10. Carol says:

    Yes, I’d have liked to see a dimension of progressive vs conservative as I don’t think either left/right or libertarian/authoritarian quite captures this.

  11. moz says:

    If you read “anarchist” instead of “libertarian” it makes a lot more sense, especially here where the libertarians are more authoritarian than the US ones (and even the US ones are solidly authoritarian). Anarchist is a Bad Word{tm} in politics. The difference is that anarchists distrust the state (or any agency with coercive power) while libertarians demand a strong state to protect their property rights (and only theirs).

    FWIW I’m just like the rest of you… Left: 6.43, Anarchist: 3.42

  12. homepaddock says:

    Am I the only one from the right (3.5 ) who visits IASL?

    Does it help that I was also liberal – though to my consternation, not very – just 1.5 ?

  13. Stephen says:

    I am a square or two in from you in both dimensions. Left: 4.3, Libertarian: 3.78

    Like Kate and others, I found this was way too US-centric. I also disliked the question-begging nature of some questions. Most of these questions really only make sense if you accept the axioms of mainstream American political discourse which are of course total bollocks from an outside perspective.

    For example, to my mind “toppling enemy regimes to spread democracy” has rarely if ever happened, and certainly not by the US (eg the Iraq war was primarily about strategic and economic considerations).

  14. moz says:

    Stephen, I interpreted that to mean supporting a UN peacekeeping mission to hold fair elections in the US 🙂

  15. Carol says:

    Attitudes towards regulating alcohol and drugs are probably a good barometer of one’s libertarian (or otherwise) tendencies. Where did you stand on lowering the age (in NZ, that is) for legal drinking from 20 to 18, Deborah? We’ve had many debates about this in our household. I didn’t support it, my partner did. In retrospect it does seem a bit crazy to have different ages for the various adult pleasures and responsibilities – drinking, voting, driving, sex, marriage. Though perhaps there is something to be said for staggering them.

  16. Deborah says:

    I tend to say 18, because it’s consistent with all the other ages at which we deem a person to be adult. Is driving 18 now? I can’t recall.

    Alcohol and drugs – I’m very inclined towards less regulation rather than more, but much greater sanctions for abuse where that abuse leads to harm to other people. And I’m happy to have heavy sanctions in respect of people potentially putting other people at risk (eg. driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs).

  17. Carol says:

    Interesting – you seem to be saying less prescriptive laws but better policing of them (I think). My partner says the same. I was opposed as I was fairly well convinced by all the arguments put up by the various social organisations (Womens Refuge, Barnardos etc) who were opposed to the law change.
    Off the top of my head, I think 15 is still the age where a driver can get a restricted licence, but there are far more steps to work through to get a full licence than there used to be.
    It’s still 16 for marriage and sex, I believe.
    It may not be a bad idea to unleash all these freedoms on young people all at once .. the good times could really roll.

  18. Carol says:

    Sorry, I meant it may not be a bad idea to NOT unleash them all at once.

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