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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  • algernon

    Right-wing Libertarian.

    Economic Left/Right: 2.25

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.00

    I did this same test a few years ago and was Left Libertarian (about -2 Left/Right). It was like a fresh test due to the gap, i couldn’t remember my original answers, so it’s interesting how views on issues can change over time.

  • Christopher Dooley

    Economic Left/Right: -6.75

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.67

    Guess I’m Hitler compared to some of you guys, lol.

    Would be interesting to see what some of the other leading political bloggers scores are.

  • Chris

    Here we go…

    Economic Left/Right: -9.62

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.95

    Okey dokey then….

  • Christopher Dooley

    Come on all you spooks who read this site. Don’t be shy now, join in. What’s your score ?

  • nextus

    St Craig of Samarkand?? Doubt it. If the pope reads of your exploits, methinks the canonisation process would be vetoed rapidly.

    Shame, though. I’d prefer that concept of Sainthood. Heaven would be a lot more fun…


    Economic Left/Right: -3.75

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.18

  • Suhayl Saadi

    On the other hand, nextus, practising libertinism might just be the perfect qualification for the first stage in the process of beatification. St Craigus of Samarkand sounds vaguely Nestorian…

  • Dominic

    Economic Left/Right: -3.12

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.44

    Someone should average out these results. I’d say I’m a moderate leftie and a strong social libertarian.

  • JimmyGiro

    For Communism v Neo-Liberalism, I read ‘equality’ v ‘hierarchy’. From that, the diagram becomes a social vector space.

    The line from the origin to any leader is the leader’s vector, and the stability of their leadership depends on the average vector of those they lead. Let us suppose that the most stable system of leader to led, has a phase shift of -90 degrees; hence:

    -For leaders in the top right, they would want their population to have an average vector in the top left; that is people that do not challenge them by rising above themselves (highly equal), and respect authority.

    -For leaders in the top left quadrant, who lead as supreme exemplum among equals, they would want the populace in the lower left quadrant; that is people that feel free, and yet have a sense of equality; a bit like children, who do not need to be convinced by any sophistication.

    -For leaders in the bottom left quadrant, they want their followers to be in the bottom right sector; that is an independently minded people, who can deal with all the practicalities of life for themselves, but require ‘spiritual’ guidance for all else, as they have developed social hierarchies, that require ‘divine’ accreditation.

    -For leaders in the bottom right (think technocrats), they rule by reason and cold logic, they require people to be in the top right quadrant, who will drive themselves via their lust for position; whilst respecting the authority of the system.

  • avatar singh

    kevin B wrote–“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’.”


    when itis clear that itis the capitalists who are benefitting from bank bali outs and that itis the capitalists who have looted the world for last 300 years then why the people call thser bil outs and capitalist system as socialist and communis,=m/ iis it not a cheating to divert the attention fromt eh real villains that is the anglosaxon capitalists who are the real parasites on this earth?


    This is how the british create their sphere of infleunce through agents in usa and elsewhere. so called WSPs are basically the enlgish agents.

    quote-“these protestant baptists((and so callled religious fundamentalists and evnagalicals bastards)) are the agents of england inside america and have always been.

    thse baptists are the ones who created civil war for the benefit of british to reconquer america and during attack of britian in 1812 these baptists were acting as enemy agents inside amaerica.

    these baptisat are called patrioit–now what a shame? the southern flag is sympbol of american patriotism when it was really an instrument of treachery to the american independence.

    ” I am afraid the meddling small minded, fearful white boy is indicative of a large group of the amerikan types who still support a corrupt regieme of neo-con syncopants. He and those like him live in suspicion and fear of anyone different from themselves.

    He was once a settler who cut down and burned the forest of New England because he was afraid of the wildlife. He was once a trader who passed out smallpox blankets to the Indians. Then later a buffalo hunter who decimated entire herds and left them to rot on the plains. His grandfather herded Japanese into camps, his father was at MyLai. His brothers are at Abu Graib and Gitmo. Where will he be tommorrow?”

    ” but all non-WASP got (and still get) their time as scapegoat-du-jour: Native, Black, Chinese, Irish, Italian, Jew, Japanese, Catholic, Latino, and now Middle-Eastern, just to name a few. Along with the scapegoating goes the profiling, which is little more than prejudice and stereotypes made legal.”

    The recent director of Harvard’s Carr Center for Human Rights, Michael Ignatieff, proposed in the New York Times in May 2004 that we should give U.S. presidents the authority to preventively detain U.S. citizens and to engage in “coercive interrogations” should the United States experience another terrorist attack like 9/11. Ignatieff argued that “defeating terror requires violence” and “might also require coercion, secrecy, deception, even violation of rights.” “Sticking too firmly to the rule of law simply allows terrorists too much leeway to exploit our freedoms,” he said.[1]

    In addition to Harvard’s top human rights academic arguing on behalf of “torture lite,” Harvard Law School’s Alan Dershowitz supports “torture warrants” so that U.S. presidents can torture detainees in so-called “ticking bomb” cases.


    Weekend Edition

    May 29-31, 2009

    CounterPunch Diary

    Sotomayor and the Last of the WASPs


    Actually the WASPS fought their decisive battle for power early in the last century, when they realized that the streams of immigrants pouring into the New World from Czarist Russia or Catholic countries like Italy and Ireland would in the not-so-long term alter the nation’s ethnic balance and challenge their supremacy. WASPS fought back with the program of population management known as the Eugenics Movement, eloquently defined by a great WASP hero, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Homes who declared in a famous court ruling in 1928 that “It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind … Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

    Starting around 1910, state after state adopted sterilization laws targeting the non-WASP ethnic strains. Other legislation sought to beat back genetic attrition. The 1924 Racial Integrity Act of Virginia rendered it illegal for blacks and whites to marry and reproduce. By the end of the 1920s 39 states had adopted legislation prohibiting the marriage of “feebleminded” people. There was a building boom in institutions designed to house the insane and “feebleminded” around the country. The Minnesota Institute for Defectives had the responsibility “to keep the persons entrusted to our care until they are past the reproducing age.” Between 1880 and 1929, on one historical account, WASP eugenicists were able to increase the number of unfit imprisoned in asylums four-fold; from 31,973 to 272,527 people. Hitler and his associates followed the WASPS’ diligent efforts at ethnic cleansing with keen attention and delightedly studied the statutes WASPS rammed through Congress, most notably the Immigration Act of 1924, which effectively barred immigrants from eastern and southern Europe. Ironically, the Immigration Act spurred settlement in Palestine which most Jewish emigrants from Russia and Eastern Europe had previously spurned in favor of the United States, thus blazing the path that has led to AIPAC and Avigdor Lieberman.

    In 1927, the United States became the first eugenic nation when the Supreme Court, upheld the decision to sterilize the unfit in Buck v. Bell by an 8-1 majority. The composition of the Court at this high point in the WASP counter-attack was as follows: Episcopalians: George Sutherland (Vermont); Edward T. Sanford (Tenn.); Harland Stone (N.Y.); Willis Van Devanter, (Wyo). Unitarians: Chief Justice William H. Taft (Ct); Oliver Wendell Holmes (Mass), who wrote the majority opinion, quoted above. Mainline Protestant (Disciples of Christ): James McReynolds (Tenn.), a fervent anti-Semite who refused to speak to his fellow Justice Louis Brandeis, for three years. Jewish: Louis Brandeis (Mass.) Catholic: Pierce Butler (Minn.), the sole dissenting vote. Butler did not write an opinion. With Sutherland, McReynolds and Devanter he was one of the “Four Horsemen” on the Court in the 1930s, fanatical opponents of New Deal legislation.

    The WASP struggle for continued supremacy crested legislatively in the 1920s, even though compulsory sterilization continued for many decades. Now 80 years later we have just one lonely WASP, Stevens, in the Court and the incoming replacement for Souter (a childless WASP, generally assumed to be a closet case) a Hispanic woman, admittedly divorced and childless and living alone, (thus allowing gays to infer hopefully that Judge Sotomayor replaces Souter as a representative of their orientation.)

    The shock jock right-wing radio commentators furiously quote Sotomayor’s remark in a speech in Berkeley in 2001 that “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” Sotomayor also took a direct potshot at WASP eugenicist hero, Oliver Wendell Holmes: “Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society. Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case.”

    The right is trying to claim that Sotomayor is a reverse racist, but this, like almost everything the right says these days, this is not gaining any traction with the general population, though CNN is giving it relentless play.”

  • KevinB

    Economic Left/Right: -8.75

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.15

    What on earth can something like this usefully mean?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Avatar, I agree with everything you’ve written about ‘WASP’ imperialism and isolation of difference as a means to hegemony, but consider for a moment that while there is a ‘WASP’ dynamic, the genocidal maniacs who through disease, starvation and violence, resulted in the deaths of 90% of the pre-existing population of Central and South America were not WASPS, but Roman Catholics. Consider, too, that the Japanese mercilessly massacred millions of Chinese. Koreans, etc. during their imperialist phase. The French imperialists in Algeria and Indo-China were Roman Catholics. And then we have the Hindu Aryan Supremacists known as the BJP, etc. who massacre Muslims in Maharashtra and Christians in Orissa. Not forgetting the Muslims who massacred the people of East Timor and also millions of their own fellow-Muslims in Indonesia. And the Taliban who are killing people in Swat and Afghanistan. And the Pakistan Army who also are killing people in Swat. And the Indian Army who are killing Kashmiris, and the Israeli Army, most of whom are Jewish (but some of whom are Muslim) who are killing Palestinians…

    And the Serbian Army and paramilitaries in the 1990s, who were Orthodox, and the Croatian Army and paramilitaries, who were Roman Catholic, the Burmese Army, who are Buddhist. And the Communists of Pol Pot, who massacred… communists and everybody else. And Stalin, who was a Georgian and who also massacred communists and everybody else. And the various factions of the Congo. And the Buddhist Tibetans who killed Han Chinese during the recent CIA-inspired uprising. And vice-versa, and on and on and on.

    You see, while concepts of ‘race’ and religion have played a very malign role in the past few hundred years of world history, I do not believe that an analysis of world history based solely on ‘race’ and/ or religion can be justified.

    There is no unified theory of human history. It is a complex of shifting imperatives, usually economic in nature but with numinous concepts such as ‘race’ and religion used as tribal ciphers for these deeper dynamics.

    To paraphrase: Study the sea well, Friend, but do not mistake the waves for the ocean.

  • Martin Budden


    I’m surprised to see you espousing this psuedoscientific drivel. Up to now your posts have indicated you have a fullly functioning bullshit detector.

    Reasons why the political compass does not stand up to scrutiny include: the methodology is not public, and so cannot be scrutinized; there is no attempt to estimate error margins; there is no recognition that political position of an individual varies over time. The aim to avoid a one-dimensional analysis of politics is laudable, but collapsing the complex multi-dimensional picture of politics into two dimensions is only marginally better than collapsing it down to one dimension.

    Admittedly the charts produced can be vaguely amusing, but any discussion based on these charts has the intellectual rigour of a discussion about who would win a fight between Batman and Spiderman.

  • tony_opmoc

    This political chart is largely irrelevant in the Real World.

    A Morality chart would be more useful – and that would clearly display that it is The Evil Bastards who are in Power – and by far the vast majority of The World’s Population are not evil – they are Abused.

    And we can’t end the Evil unless we arrest the Criminals at The Highest Level and put them On Trial


    From Alternet today

    Why the Pentagon Is Probably Lying About its Supressed Sodomy and Rape Photos

    By Naomi Wolf, AlterNet. Posted May 30, 2009.

    This is probably exactly what the photos show, because it happened. The same-sex crimes against detainees have been documented.

    The Telegraph of London broke the news — because the U.S. press is in a drugged stupor – — that the photos President Barack Obama is refusing to release of detainee abuse depict, among other sexual tortures, an American soldier raping a female detainee and a male translator raping a male prisoner.

    The paper claims the photos also show anal rape of prisoners with foreign objects such as wires and lightsticks. Retired Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba calls the images “horrific” and “indecent” (but absurdly agrees that Obama should not release them — proving once again that the definition of hypocrisy is the assertion that the truth is in poor taste).

    Predictably, a few hours later, the Pentagon issues a formal denial.

    It is very likely that the Pentagon lying. This is probably exactly what the photos show, because it happened. Precisely these exact sex crimes — these exact images and these very objects – — are familiar and well-documented to those of us who follow closely rights organizations reports of what has already been confirmed.

    As I wrote last year in my piece on sex crimes against detainees, “Sex Crimes in the White House,” highly perverse, systematic sexual torture and sexual humiliation was, original documents reveal, directed from the top:

    * President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were present in meetings where sexual humiliation was discussed as policy.

    * The Defense Authorization Act of 2007 was written specifically to allow certain kinds of sexual abuse, such as forced nakedness, which is illegal and understood by domestic and international law to be a form of sexual assault.

    * Rumsfeld is in print and on the record consulting with subordinates about the policy and practice of sexual humiliation, in a collection of documents obtained by the ACLU by a Freedom of Information Act filing compiled in Jameel Jaffer’s important book The Torture Administration.

    The image of the female prisoner, probably Iraqi, being sexually assaulted? That image, or a similar one, has been widely seen in the Muslim world. Reports of the rape scenes described have also appeared in rights organizations summaries since 2004.

    And scores of detainees who have told their stories to rights organizations have told independently confirming accounts of a highly consistent practice of sexual torture at U.S.-held prisons, including having their genitals slashed with razors, electrodes placed on genitals, and being told the U.S. military would find and rape their mothers.

    Is systemic sex crimes practiced by the U.S. in a consequence of the lawlessness of “the war on terror” surprising to those of us who work on issues of sexual abuse and war? It is totally predictable: When you give soldiers anywhere in the world the power, let alone the mandate, to hold women or men helpless, without recourse to law, kidnap them as a matter of policy — as the U.S. military kidnapped the wives of “insurgents” in order to compel them to turn themselves in — strip them naked, and threaten them, you have a completely predictable recipe for mass sexual assault. The magisterial study of rape in war, Susan Brownmiller’s Men, Women and Rape, proves that.

    But what is far scarier about these images Obama refuses to release and that the Pentagon is likely to be lying about now, is that it is not the evidence of lower-level soldiers being corrupted by power — it is proof of the fact that the most senior leadership — Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney, with Rice’s collusion — were running a global sex-crime trafficking ring with Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and Baghram Air Base as the holding sites.

    The sexual nature of the torture also gives the lie to Cheney’s and others’ defense of torture as somehow functional: The sexual perversity mandated from the top reveals that it was just plain old sick sadism gratified by a very sick form of pleasure. I also pointed out in “Sex Crimes in the White House” that the escalation of the sexual abuse showed the same classic pattern shown by sex criminals everywhere — you start with stripping the victim, keeping him or her completely in your power, and then you engage in greater and more violent excesses with more and more self-justification.

    The lightsticks, for instance? We in the human rights world know about the lightsticks. Probably dozens of prisoners were sodomized with lightsticks. In the highly credible and very fully documented Physicians for Human Rights report, “Broken Bodies, Broken Lives,” doctors investigated the wounds and scars of former prisoners, did analysis of the injuries, assessed the independent verification of their stories, and reported that indeed many detainees had in fact been savagely raped with lightsticks and by other objects inserted into their rectums, many sustaining internal injuries.

    This same report confirms that female military or other unidentified U.S.-affiliated personnel were used to sexually abuse detainees by smearing menstrual blood on their faces, seizing their genitals violently, or rubbing them in a sexual manner against their will. In other credible accounts collected by human rights organizations, many former prisoners in U.S.-held prisons report that they had been tortured or humiliated by female agents who appeared to be dressed like prostitutes.

    Indeed, early on, intelligence spokespeople boasted in the New York Times of the use of female agents to sexually abuse and humiliate prisoners: it was called in their own material “invasion of space by a female.”

    Today at lunch, I happen to have sat next to the lovely and brave Dale Haddon, the “face of L’Oreal,” who is also a tireless advocate for women and children through UNICEF. She is heading for Congo, to help hold accountable rape and sex crimes institutionalized as acts of war. Those criminals will face trials and convictions.

    In Sierra Leone, the soldiers and generals who used rape as an instrument of war have been tried and many convicted. In Bosnia, likewise. But at another lunch party, Haddon, who travels in many circles, may well be seated next to our own former leaders, violent and systemic sex criminals who are still at large.

    When will we convict our very own global rapists, the ones who gave the U.S. the hellish distinction of turning us into the superpower of sex crime? Convictions must come, but first we must see the evidence.

    And women especially, who understand how sexual abuse and rape can break the spirit in a uniquely anguishing way, should be raising their voices loudly.

    Whom are we protecting by not releasing the photos? The victims? Hardly. It’s, as feminists have been saying for decades, not their shame. The perpetrators? Their crimes are archived; if not this administration, another may well obey the law and release the images, which are evidentiary (again: that rape and sodomy were directed form the top; prosecute those at the top).

    These photos go to exactly why Obama is burning what is left of the shreds of the Constitution by calling for pre-emptive detention for about 100 detainees. It ain’t because they are “too dangerous,” his pathetic justification. It is because their bodies are crime scenes. It is because the torture, including possibly the sexual assault, they experienced is likely to be so horrific that if they were ever to have their day in court it is others whom Obama needs who would be incriminated.

    In the 19th century, when a woman had been raped, or had experienced sexual abuse in the family, the paterfamilias would say she was crazy, get her declared “too dangerous” to be free, and lock her up forever so her story would be interred with her.

    That is what Obama is trying to do with pre-emptive detention for these detainees.

    Well, America? Do you want to live with this?

    Remember: History shows categorically that once the state can lock “them” up without a fair trial, torture, rape them or sodomize them — well; sooner or later it will be able to do the same to your children or mine; or to you and me.


    See more stories tagged with: rape, detainees, naomi wolf

    Naomi Wolf is the author of Give Me Liberty (Simon and Schuster, 2008), the sequel to the New York Times best-seller The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot (Chelsea Green, 2007).

  • Charles Crawford


    “… 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.”

    Guido’s terse response (“Nutter”) captures something important for those of us trying to make sense of this posting.

    This survey appears to be skewed heavily in a way designed to place Margaret Thatcher and George Bush somewhere near ‘fascism’, and (by implication) to make US Democrats seem inexorably reasonable. Ha, that sure puts those really nasty neocon right-wingers in their true place!

    Thus according to Political Compass Gordon Brown registers notably less authoritarian than Margaret Thatcher – is there a single crumb of evidence for that, given the hundreds of new crimes and sprawling bigger civil service the Labour Party has created to help implement its doomed collectivist policies?

    See also the bizarre Political Compass Analysis description of Hitler and Stalin as ‘diehard authoritarians’. Not quite how any normal person would put it?

    Or the uniquely strong libertarian showing of Nelson Mandela, the lifelong ally of the South African Communist Party and great supporter of notorious Libertarian Col Gaddafi.

    How can anyone define (as these surveyers do) anarchism as ‘liberal socialism’?

    Many of the questions are therefore stupid or ambiguous or both. Obviously they give outcomes which can be depicted prettily somewhere on a graph, but those outcomes depend 100% on the underlying values given to the answers to the questions, and indeed to the sort of questions asked and choices given.

    Anyway, I wearily rose to your challenge and completed the survey as honestly as I could, given the bias and philosophical incoherence of the exercise.

    The result? I was a notch or two below the line on the Right side, ie comfortably within the Libertarian/Right box.

    Not, as you predicted, above the line in the ‘George Bush quadrant’ which also is occupied by the likes of raving Rightists Zapatero/Merkel/Rudd.

    So, yet again, you’re talking rot.

    Is a Nutter someone who talks rot inadvertently? Or someone who knows he’s talking rot but just carries on doing so?

  • marksany

    Economic Left/Right: 3.38

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.79

    I want an economic free market – because interference from government causes waste.

    I want individuals to live the lifestyles they want, not what someone else wants, even if I choose a fairly conservative lifestyle for myself.

    I think you’ll find all professional politicians are towards the authoritarian side – that’s why they are professionsl politicians.

  • alien

    Economic Left/Right; -5.12

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 0.15


  • punkscience

    Economic Left/Right: -7.12

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.03

    I like the idea of the test but I think its fundamentally flawed for many of the above reasons. It is consistent though. I first did this test over a year ago and the only difference is a slight libertarian drift. Understandable in the current political climate.

  • MJ

    Mr Crawford:

    “the bizarre Political Compass Analysis description of Hitler and Stalin as ‘diehard authoritarians’. Not quite how any normal person would put it?”

    Perhaps I’m not normal but I don’t find that description at all bizarre. Agree however that Brown is more authoritarian than (if marginally to the left of) Thatcher.

  • Craig

    I too agree with Charles that Thatcher is less authoritarian than Brown. That does not actually invaldate the test. If they were actually to take the test themselves, I suspect the result might show that.

    I do not share the view that this is a worthless exercise. The concepts of political left versus right, and of authoritarian versus libertarian, do have a recognised linguistic existence.

    It is therefore not useless to attempt to define and measure them, accepting that any such process is of course imperfect. But the results of the test for peopole who have actually taken it do seem to me to correspond to where you might expect them to fall.

    I personally believe all social science is a misnomer. This is an art – but a useful indicative tool within that art. If anyone wished to argue the results are totally meaningless, I would strongly disagree.

  • Abe Rene

    The term ‘science’ originally meant any field of knowledge, so that priests were expected to study ‘sacred sciences’ like theology. In the West it eventually became narrowed down to the study of order in nature which can ideally be experimentally manipulated and measured. Experiment is not always possible, but we might define science in this sense as the study of entities that can be meaningfully and objectively measured.

    The more complex objects of study are, as occurs in the movement from biology to psychology, sociology and history, the more difficult they become to precisely define and measure, and so the more subjective the process becomes, i.e. an ‘art’. The evidence that might convince people with an established reputation in a field depends on existing paradigms. Thus there exists a subjective or ‘art’ element in all fields of knowledge. From this perspective the concept of sociology as a science, albeit a ‘soft science’ (with psychology less so, and history more so) may be a useful one. We could debate whether the belief in economic freedom is being rightly defined and measured, and likewise the authoritative tendencies in individuals. It is important for the methods used to be open to public scrutiny, so that the ideas used can be openly debated.

  • Frank Bowles

    Craig I merely wonder how you answered “Making peace with the establishment is an important aspect of maturity”…

    Every time I do this it changes but today:

    Economic Left/Right: -5.75

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.54

    Meaning I remain, as always, significantly more saintly than your good self.

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