Monday, October 11, 2004

Take The Quiz

I can generally tell who I am talking to by how they peg me. If I am called a right-winger, I know that I have someone on the line who self-identifies as a left-liberal. Same thing the other way. Problem is, it doesn't work. I'm neither left nor right. I'm a libertarian.

David Nolan, founder of the Libertarian Party, recognized this shortcoming in the left-right political spectrum and devised what is often now referred to as the Nolan Chart. Rather than being a linear device, it is diamond shaped. It includes the traditional "left-liberal" and "right-conservative", but adds "centrist", "libertarian" and "statist".

Adding these three designations makes the identification process imminently more useful. Consider: Using the old left-right spectrum, would you call Hitler a left-winger or a right-winger? Given only those two choices, I would answer, "Yes". Hitler was obviously an authoritarian statist.

The Advocates for Smaller Government host "the World's Smallest Political Quiz". I plot libertarian, but to the left side of the libertarian designation, 100-90.

Take the Quiz and see if the left-right approach hasn't in fact let you down in terms of your own self-identification.

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