Navel Gazing (Politics Edition)

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on May 8, 2011

Via Professor Bainbridge comes this quiz, which reports that I am a libertarian, and gives the following profile of libertarians:

What They Believe
  • Economically very conservative but moderate to liberal on social issues
  • Highly critical of government
  • Strongly pro-business
  • Accepting of homosexuality
  • Less religious than the average American
  • Moderate views about immigrants compared to other GOP-oriented groups
Who They Are
  • Strong Republican-orientation, though a majority identify as independents
  • Affluent: 39% have incomes of $75,000 or more
  • Two-thirds are male
  • 85% are non-Hispanic whites
  • About seven-in-ten (71%) have attended college
  • About half as likely as the two strongest GOP groups to attend church weekly
  • 56% use social networking sites
  • 36% trade stocks

I certainly depart from the libertarian position when it comes to U.S. involvement in the world, in that my answer to the poll question “Which comes closer to your view: It’s best for the future of our country to be active in world affairs, OR We should pay less attention to problems overseas and concentrate on problems here at home?” is to say that it is best for us to be active in world affairs. On a number of specific foreign policy issues–free trade, for example–I heartily agree with the libertarian position, but there is a general strain of isolationism in libertarianism that I have always been uncomfortable with.

That having been written, there is a great deal about libertarianism which appeals to me. If it were up to me, I would call myself a classical liberal, or a libertarian-conservative, as longtime readers know. But this particular political quiz did a relatively good job of classifying where I stand on the political spectrum.

  • Jeff Walden

    Depending how I answer some of the morality questions I come out either “staunch conservative” or “libertarian”. If I flip the “homosexuality should be accepted” one way I get the former, if I go the other way I get the latter. That particular answer, I could go either way depending how the options are interpreted. I think trying to prohibit (whatever that means) homosexuality (or acts thought to express it) is foolish and wrong. But I don’t think the choice if made is morally right, either.

    I was most amused that “staunch conservative” had listed the bulleted feature that they “view immigrants as a threat to traditional American customs and values”, yet I chose the “newcomers strengthen America” answer. Clearly I can’t quite be precisely pigeonholed if my answers can produce such a glaring contradiction!

  • Jeff Walden

    I should further note that I don’t quite understand their “Moderate views about immigrants compared to other GOP-oriented groups” claim, at least not in light of the survey percentages on the “The growing number of newcomers from other countries strengthens American society” answer. They say libertarians are at 52% on the question (which seems really low to me), and they say the general public’s also at 52%. Or is that supposed to be what they consider “moderate”? (And if so, who has the extreme view?) I’d always thought the libertarian position was roughly free trade in human capital, i.e. law-abiding immigrants (at the very least) are great.

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