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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  • Craig

    Thanks Drew.

    Well to the left of me! Funny thing is, I don’t consider myself left at all. but am well left of the axis – and well well left of Gordon Brown.

  • Julian Gall

    Economic Left/Right: 0.88

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.92

    No wonder I find it so difficult to align myself with any of the traditional political parties!

    It would be interesting to see this chart for every MP. To be published as a condition of being paid expenses perhaps.

  • Calumcarr

    Have done this before but today’s result is:

    Economic left / Right: -8.62

    Social Libertarian / Authoritarian: -8.31

  • John

    Economic Left/Right: 0.50

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.41

    A mildly right wing, middle of the road libertarian.

  • dodoze

    Economic Left/Right: -6.25

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.67

    So it goes. I’ll never be rich, then.

    Or elected to Office.

  • Grumpy Old Man

    Dear Craig. At the risk of providing facts that might interfere with your preconceptions, I have done 3 of these tests produced by 3 different bodies and had 3 wildly divergent results. I have a feeling that we are currently into “J curve” class programming and methodology in this area . In one test,entitled, “find your political party”, the UKIP comes out as moderately right and markedly libertarian, a position that is suspect after 5 mins talk with any UKIP footsoldier and even more suspect after listening to Mr Farage on QT.

    You have ,in all honesty, written an article which is based on the implementation of dodgy science. These political compass tests are little more than horoscopes to be giggled at over breakfast.

    I trust that your wife and child are doing well, and that you are beginning to get some sleep at nights. Have you mastered the arcane art of changing a nappy so it stays on yet?

  • Sabretache

    Well,it seems I am well to the left of Craig! – and yet I too do not consider myself to be ‘left wing’ in matters of party politics at all.

    Economic Left/Right: -9.75

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.31

    I concluded quite a while ago that the mainstream parties represent little more than theatre designed as a mass participation, distracting safety valve to give the illusion of influence over real events. Whereas, on the epoch-defining issues of the age there is a rock solid but largely hidden establishment agenda, dictated and mediated by a Deep State Security apparatus, which nothing and nobody is allowed to threaten without the sort of consequences suffered by Craig – and sometimes MUCH worse. That, IMHO, is what explains the overwhelming predominance of the authoritarian right positioning of world ‘Leaders’ in this exercise. It is simply not possible to reach Privy Council rank in this country if there is a credible possibility that you may rock the boat on that agenda – simple as that. It used to be called ‘positive vetting’ in sensitive appointments of State. These days, our SIS apparatus has your card marked with all the information necessary to ensure your compliance, should it become necessary. Failing that – well, no need to elaborate for anyone who has done even the most cursory digging on ‘Deep State’ matters

  • Ron


    Economic Left/Right: -8.00

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.26

    Who’d a thunk it?

  • KevinB

    I know you don’t like links, Craig, but here is a model of ‘The political spectrum’ that is much more useful, in my opinion, than the left/right liberetarian/authoritarian model posed on this thread.

    Although it promotes the case for a republic as the best form of government, the more interesting part is recognising that the real opposites on the spectrum are “oligarchy” and “anarchy” and that the left wing and right wing of politics are two sides of the same face, oligarchic government.

    I know you get ‘bored’ by the way some of us drone on about the ‘bankers agenda’, well here’s another mogadon pill for you.

    The international bankers are communists.

    This is their preferred system. Communism concentrates power at the centre more effectively and easily than any other system (as history demonstrates).

    There is an interesting article in the Guardian by Tony Bunyan today about the UK’s surveillance state being taken on for whole EU in their next ‘five year plan’.

    If you do not recognise this as a communist police state in the making you are asleep.

    From where are these policies emerging. I think you will find it is ‘government’ think-tanks. In fact these ‘think-tanks’ are entirely funded, and therefore controlled by banking/corporate finance.

    Who is paying attention here?

    The FACT that our government(s) are systematically controlled by big money interests not the interests of the people should be the biggest issue in the political zeitgeist.

    It ain’t.

    Many of us would assert.


    That these ‘big money’ interests are parasites that have taken over our brains and almost our very souls and that their insane psychopathic all-consuming greed will, if we do not wake up to this issue, destroy us all.

    Every last one of us!

  • Phil

    Economic Left/Right: -8.62

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.79

    No surprise there.

  • Anonymous

    —–“I would contend that this is because right wing libertarians, though a theoretical possibility, do not actually exist in any significant number.”—-

    No, there are serious right wing libertarians but they don’t win elections.

    Ron Paul would definitely fall within that quadrant.

  • Bryan Chalmers

    Oh dear, I come out as

    Economic Left/Right: -8.62

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.21

    I think that makes me some kind of extremist 🙂

  • Guy Herbert

    Economic Left/Right: 5.50

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.79

    Surprisingly far towards the left and authoritarian sides. I’m normally considered an extremist. …

    But I had quite a lot of problems answering the questionnaire, which seems in many cases to ask how far one agrees with a non-sequitur, or with an opinion concerning a disputable premise. It is possible to have no opinion, even when the question is coherent; when it isn’t, being denied the possibility of no opinion surely produces weird biases.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Intriguing idea. But it has been alleged in credible places that the Dalai Lama was/ is in cahoots with the CIA and that Nelson Mandela was an SIS agent. So how does that figure on the graph? Perhaps one has to dance with the devil in order to achieve good.

    That’s not say that Nelson Mandela is not a great man deserving of our respect. Gandhi, too was a great man, but (and this is never stated in the West) he – along with Nehru and Mountbatten – certainly was very partisan towards the Hindu majority of India and to some extent (though he was not alone in this, on both sides) his actions, esp. those which deliberately raised the spectre of religion as a mode of struggle, contributed towards the process that led to the Partition. Of course, ultimately he became a victim of those same irrational forces which – for perfectly understandable, though flawed, reasons at the time – he had helped to summon up.

    I know politics is a dirty business and that people have to get the support they can get, when they can get it, but I’m afraid I tend towards Sabretache’s view on the nature of power. This doesn’t mean that admirable people like Craig (or the rest of us) who want to change things should do nothing.

  • Tristan Mills

    This is very flawed – it conflates free markets with the right and authoritarian economics with the left (the opposite of the original meaning).

    It also fails when it comes to the radical left – it assumes a statist society.

    It is also possible to be libertarian and a social conservative – the difference being you will not force your morals upon others – instead you will live your life as you see best and seek to pursuade but never force others of your views.

    This doesn’t prove anything in other words…

  • Tristan

    Glancing at the chart again – where does someone like Bastiat lie on the economic axis?

    Not a communist, but neo-liberalism is a statist creed not a liberal one. It dresses up authoritarianism in liberal language.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    And – with respect – how is it possible to claim that the Dalai Lama is left-wing? And the Pope? If the Pope is left-wing, then I’m the Grand Ayatollah!!

  • MJ

    Economic Left/Right: -8.00

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.44

    More right wing than I used to be but more libertarian too. Must be mellowing with age.

  • Ed Davies

    Economic Left/Right: -3.00

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.21

    though I suspect quoting results to three significant figures is more than a little spurious.

  • sam

    Your political compass

    Economic Left/Right: -6.38

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

    Tch. And there was me thinking I’d become more ‘right wing’ with age.

    But actually, if I think about it, what I’m calling ‘right wing’ are the traditional and decent values and mores of my forebears and of authentic faith and humanitarian leaders: truth, decency, compassion, respect…

    …all virtues which are outrageously lacking in mainstream political and religious leaders today.

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