Those Mythical Right Libertarians 64

I had a go last week at so-called libertarian bloggers who are really just neo-cons. It led to some interesting debate on this and other sites, with a general view that I was being too harsh. I would say that I was not claiming that every blogger who calls himself a libertatian is just a neo-con.

But most of them are.

I am impressed by the work of The Political Compass. Their system of classification seems to identify differences in political belief that do relate to important divisions in practical political life. Their system is intuitively easy to grasp, which is a good sign of relevance.


What follows is my own result. I am delighted to say that on this measure I am even more saintly than Nelson Mandela or Gandhi. That is using the word saintliness in its true meaning, which is diagonal opposition to George W Bush.

Your political compass

Economic Left/Right: -5.38

Authoritarian/Libertarian -6.21hereistand.png

The fascinating thing about the work of The Political Compass is their identification of the very narrow area of political ground occupied by current world leaders, and the fact, surely true, that Gordon Brown is grouped there with the other right wing authoritarians.

The other fascinating thing is that none of the leaders measured falls into the bottom right hand segment. I would contend that this is because right wing libertarians, though a theoretical possibility, do not actually exist in any significant number.

I think the reasons probably come down to the psychological motivation of most right wingers; they are just really nasty people. Right wingers tend to be psychologically incapable of not wishing power over others in what they view as the lifelong struggle for personal economic advantage.

Paul Staines is a good example. Paul and Charles Crawford are two of the better known alleged right wing libertarian bloggers who in fact, should they answer the questions honestly, would fall in the George Bush quadrant.

Blogwars aside, the truth is that the majority of professional politicians fall in the right wing authoritarian quadrant, yet those who command the most universal respect fall in the left wing libertarian quadrant. That is a primary cause of the public dissatisfaction with the dysfunctionality of our political systems.

We have politicains who are more intersted in wielding power than in helping people.

That is a function of the mechanics of our political systems, controlled by party machines, where competitiveness, and ruthlessness allied to conformity and subordination to the leadership as you work your way up, are the qualities which enable the scum to float to the top.

So right wing libertarians are rare beasts. I am, however, glad for those who do exist. The state’s numerous attacks on civil liberties and the increasing pervasiveness of the controlling, surveillance, database state has become the most acute problem in our politics. Western states have been shooting towards authoritarianism at an alarming rate.

The authoritarian/libertarian axis is currently the most important dividing line in modern politics.

Let me know where you stand:

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64 thoughts on “Those Mythical Right Libertarians

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  • Martin Budden

    I do not argue that it is a worthless exercise to try and define and measure the concepts of political left versus right, and of authoritarian versus libertarian.

    What I said is that I think that the way the politicalcompass does it is psuedo-scientific drivel. They don’t state how they define the terms left/right authoritarian/libertarian. They don’t open their measurement system to scrutiny or debate. They don’t indicate how they place people who obviously haven’t taken the test on their scales, and how they normalise these values.

    I actually have a lot of sympathy for your hypothesis that their are no (or very few) right wing libertarians. But I think your hypothesis would be much better backed by a well reasoned argument, not pseudoscience.

  • Tom Kennedy

    I’m wedged between Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama. Far from Olmert, Brown, Bush, Berlusconi and Sarkozy – that’ll do nicely. I hever had any doubts, though.

    Economic Left/Right: -5.12

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.41

  • Bob the Builder

    Rather oddly, I got exactly the same score as you, yet I disagree with virtually everything that you say on middle east politics.

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