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July 31, 2003

GNXP political orientation?

Sometimes people make assumptions about GNXP's political orientation. If you took the sum of our views and "averaged" them out, I'd suspect that "classical liberal" would be what you ended up with. That being said, there's a fair diversity here, despite the fact that some topics we address that are taboo ghettoize us with the Right. So, to clear things up, I took a political quiz, and invite other GNXPers to take the quiz and tell people the results so that everyone has a good idea where everyone else is coming from.


The quiz I took was here. Here is what it said about me:

NW-You would feel most at home in the Northwest region. You advocate a large degree of economic and personal freedom. Your neighbors include folks like Ayn Rand, Jesse Ventura, Milton Friedman, and Drew Carey, and may refer to themselves as "classical liberals," "libertarians," "market liberals," "old whigs," "objectivists," "propertarians," "agorists," or "anarcho-capitalist."

And the image produced:


Here's me. I would have probably gone for more regulation if I retook it, but I am pretty close to the center. I campaigned for Gore in 2000. Interesting that there were no foreign policy questions - that is a third axis that separates a lot of people.


My map. Very close to razib (just one 'unit' to the east I think). Adding a foreign policy dimension would be interesting, but there are a lot of areas they could ask more questions in. Anyway, we're all clustered pretty close together so far, but I can't say I'm surprised. Oddly though I classify myself as a left-libertarian where razib seems to think he's a rightie - but we probably draw the line in different places.

And here is mine. I'm not sure how accurate this is as I seem further north than Razib. As I noted, a finer instrument for distinguishing between the common libertarian GNXP position is the Libertarian Purity test. One virtue of this test is that it does have a foreign policy dimension taken into account. I scored 53 on this i.e. 'medium core libertarian'.

Posted by razib at 04:59 PM

I have taken this quiz before, and took it again just to see if I remembered it correctly. The biggest problem I see is how the designers didn't define "government," as in, "The government should..." Are we talking state, federal, or local governments? There are lots of powers I would be fine with allowing local governments to wield, but I don't think the Federal government should have them. So I don't know how well this quiz will do in actually helping GNXPers in defining their politics. However, I must admit that I don't have a better site to suggest. Any political junkies out there who can suggest a better one?


Posted by: Amaara at July 31, 2003 05:21 PM

yeah, i'd like a better quiz, a friend had a dad who had a really good quiz up on his poli sci site @ auburn, but i can't find the quiz anymore. the reason i picked this quiz is that it wasn't a spectrum, and it basically was correct about me.

Posted by: razib at July 31, 2003 05:58 PM

I had taken one a while back that was a bit better than this one but unfortunately I didn't save the link. Anyway here's my map:


That's a little closer to the center than the last one I took, which had me a bit lower and farther left than that. I don't think I really fit well with a label as my views are kind of all over the place. Sometimes I catch myself having sort of libertarian views (drugs), sometimes sort of conservative (gay marriage), sometimes sort of liberal (environment).

I admit I am a bit mystified when I see someone post here about you guys being right-wingers.

Posted by: Katy at July 31, 2003 06:12 PM

There are actually many different axes of political orientation, and it is pretty well possible for an individual to have views which amount to an overall different position from anyone else. In addition to their North - South (typically Right - Left) and their East - West (typically authoritarian - libertarian) there is also populist - elitist, Virginia Postrel's staticist - dynamicist (which Steve Den Beste suggested to me could be stated conservative - progressive, but only if those words were baggage-free) and others. Many of the worst things the U.S. did over the last 50 years resulted from fixating on Right - Left and disregarding any other axis.

By the way, I mapped as mildly northwest, a little to the south of Drew Carey. This is because so many of the questions were simplistic.

Posted by: triticale at July 31, 2003 06:23 PM

According to that chart I make for a more impressive Democrat than Al Gore. Of course according to that chart George Bush is also more liberal than Al Gore! (At least socially)

Also I find it somewhat strange that Hitler is shown farther to the Left (both socially and economically)than Stalin.

Posted by: Jason Malloy at July 31, 2003 06:52 PM

Note that Hitler is shown within centimeters of the "mainstream" line for 'personal freedoms'. :D

Posted by: Jason Malloy at July 31, 2003 06:56 PM

Mine was basically identical to Katy's map.

"I admit I am a bit mystified when I see someone post here about you guys being right-wingers."

Referring to me? Actually the reason I accused the other posters of being "righties" is because in the blogosphere, "leftie" is a sort of fashionable insult these days and I would never want to insult any of the fine people who post here. Heh.

Now, regarding that quiz above what's perhaps shocking at first glance is how close FDR and Hitler are to each other. And if Drew Carey's a Libertarian, why hasn't he run for president? I'd vote for him in a second -- he'd make for a real "clown".

Posted by: Johnny Rotten at July 31, 2003 07:23 PM

I'm barely SE of Drew Carey. Probably on top of FA Hayek. Though I think of myself as a libertarian, those over at Reason magazine seem a bit over the top for me. After all, we need rules, and whatever enforces the rules is a de facto government, so we need a government and its laws, and we have to fund it via some sort of taxation.

Further, national defense is still necessary, and a kick-ass defense needs significant money. If the US didn't keep tyrants at bay, Singapore, Norway, modern-day Japan, or an enlivened China, wouldn't exist.

Freedom is not free,


Posted by: eric at July 31, 2003 07:41 PM

Here's another one of those quiz thingy's:


Posted by: Johnny Rotten at July 31, 2003 07:50 PM

On the test I just mentioned above, my results are quite different from the first quiz:

Economic Left/Right: 1.38
Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.62



I have to admit, the choice between "agree" and "strongly agree" is really dependant on my mood. I'm feeling a bit tired and hungry right now, so I put 'Agree' on some topics that I might have Strongly Agreed with in the morning after I read an article at NRO.

Posted by: Johnny Rotten at July 31, 2003 08:51 PM

I came out as just slightly SE of Ayn Rand which raises the question of what kind of answers one could give that would place one NW of Rand. I kinda think I should be in a boat off the NW coast!
I think this quiz is a toy, a good conversation starter and "accurate but not precise" as the engineers say.
On a related topic I once heard about a method of mapping people's opinions on narrower topics using large numbers of questions, six hundred sticks in my mind. The answers would enable the questioners to portray people as point inersections, volumes or even vectors in a "space" of arbitrary dimensionality. The idea of being portrayed as a vector in a nineteen dimensional space strikes me as very cool but I wonder if this is just a sophisticated pseudo-science or whether it could actually provide some usable insight. I have no source for this idea but it involved mathematical comparisons of these n-dimensional volumes or vectors as a means of determining real similarity.
Does that sound lunatic? I'm curious what GNXPers think about that.

Posted by: John Purdy at July 31, 2003 09:34 PM

I think a more useful survey would be one that examined what one believes about human nature.

Posted by: Randall Parker at July 31, 2003 10:24 PM

well, i wasn't targeting "johnny rotten," there are implicit assumptions many people make when engaging someone about what the other person's positions on a host of topics are unless there is full disclosure. i just want more things on the table so that people don't have to guess. i'm a mildly libertarian guy-but in the end, my main question that i use to figure out how i stand on a topic is this: "but is it good for liberal democracy?" ergo, i have reconsidered some of my views about immigration that were pretty libertarian-open-borders and now lean far closer to the restrictionists....

Posted by: razib at August 1, 2003 12:19 AM

"The idea of being portrayed as a vector in a nineteen dimensional space strikes me as very cool..."

I think it defeats the purpose of the exercise, the map aims to simplify how one sees oneself in political space. I had thought about a z-axis for some other points of affiliation, but a 3 dimension model seems too complicated looking for useful comparisons. A higher dimensional model would just cause braindamage if you saw it.
such as this one.. :)

Posted by: Stephen at August 1, 2003 12:34 AM

I don't have a "political orientation". I look at each issue and come to my own conclusions.
Too many people are over-eager to define themselves as Liberals, Conservatives, Libertarians (or, dare I say, Godless Capitalists) - which is why there is no political thought in the US - just people sneering at each other from opposite corners of the room.

Posted by: fredrik at August 1, 2003 02:50 AM

which is why there is no political thought in the US - just people sneering at each other from opposite corners of the room.

ah, that must explain the contrast with "question time" in the house of commons where a collegial and philosophical mood prevails. wish we had british sophistication....

Posted by: razib at August 1, 2003 02:55 AM

i took the POLITICAL COMPASS test, i got:

Economic Left/Right: 3.50
Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.38

i'm a mild "right libertarian," which is basically how i think of myself, and matches with the first quiz. of course, as godless said, adding foreign policy into the mix as a "z" axis can change things a lot. on foreign policy i'm probably a realist in practice, though an isolationist at heart....

Posted by: razib at August 1, 2003 03:10 AM

I would not recommend that Political Compass test - I think I've taken that before and it posits lots of ridiculous dichotomies - like the first one:
"If economic globalisation is inevitable, it should primarily serve humanity rather than the interests of trans-national corporations"
Well of course you're going to answer 'humanity' but anyone with a smattering of economics knows that subject to certain institutional frameworks, the two are not mutually exclusive.

Posted by: Jason Soon at August 1, 2003 05:25 AM

Guys, for the libertarian leaning people in GNXP, the Politopia test is too general and rough. I recommend you take the libertarian purity test

Posted by: Jason Soon at August 1, 2003 05:28 AM

"Referring to me?"

No, I just meant generally. I hadn't noticed you doing this. In the short time I've been visiting this site though I've noticed people pop in and blurt that out a few times though.

On the second test I score Economic Left/Right: -0.88 Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.77, or a little left and down. *shrug*

I guess everyone knows this but some of those questions strike me as really poory put. "Mothers may have careers, but their first duty is to be homemakers." for example. Not "women" mind you, "mothers". You are forced to either agree or disagree, and there's no similar question for "fathers".

Posted by: Katy at August 1, 2003 08:09 AM

ah, that must explain the contrast with "question time" in the house of commons where a collegial and philosophical mood prevails. wish we had british sophistication....
The UK is even worse

Posted by: fredrik at August 1, 2003 08:29 AM

I'm a Libert-aryan = Unfettered freedom for white people.

Posted by: sliggy at August 1, 2003 09:26 AM

I'm cuddled up with Ayn Rand on the map thingie. Eek! She's not really that cuddly-looking.

Posted by: Jacqueline at August 1, 2003 12:47 PM


Pretty accurate, I thought. Got into the same position as Maggie Thatcher. Id settle for that.

Posted by: Peter Phillips at August 1, 2003 02:26 PM

i took THE LIBERTARIAN PURITY TEST jason mentioned, got a 56, which is "medium-core libertarian." i think i took it 6 months ago and basically got the same score.

Posted by: razib at August 1, 2003 02:39 PM

I scored 139 on the Libertarian Purity Test. That was mostly because of a few problems with definitions and some ambiguities.
131-159 points: You are nearly a perfect libertarian, with a tiny number of blind spots. Think about them, then take the test over again. On the other hand, if you scored this high, you probably have a good libertarian objection to my suggested libertarian answer. :-)

Posted by: John Purdy at August 1, 2003 06:39 PM

Sometimes I think that calling oneself "Libertarian" in the blogosphere, is like being a member of the cool kids clique in high school...

Posted by: Johnny Rotten at August 1, 2003 07:59 PM

I find it scary how far FDR was from the main stream, he was president for 13 YEARS. I was right inbetween Bush and Rush Limbaugh, and happy there. It is interesting to note also that Gore was actually EAST of Bush.

Posted by: Tyler at August 11, 2003 04:04 PM