On the Internet at politicalcompass.org there is a test you can take to find out how left or right you are, as well as how authoritarian or libertarian. I found out about the test on Siditty’s blog.
Here are my scores:
- Economic Left/Right: -3.00
- Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.87
That puts me on the Libertarian Left.
- Authoritarian Left: Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, Castro, Lenin.
- Authoritarian Right: Hitler, Thatcher, Pinochet, Bush, Pat Buchanan, William F. Buckley, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Peter Hitchens.
- Libertarian Left: Gandhi, Chomsky, Edward Said, Howard Zinn, Naomi Klein.
- Libertarian Right: Hayek, Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand, Jonah Goldberg.
Authoritarians believe in the power and right of the state over that of its citizens, like in Orwell’s “1984” and “Animal Farm”, to take extreme examples. Libertarians are the opposite: citizens matter more than government, like in Jefferson’s “Declaration of Independence”.
The right, like Adam Smith, believes that everyone will be richer and better off if business is left to do as it pleases. The left, like Lenin, thinks that business does need to be controlled by government, at least to some degree, for the good of all.
The test asks you dozens of questions to see where you fall on these two scales.
I am on the Libertarian Left because I trust neither government nor business to do what is best – they both need to be kept in check.
But that puts me on the far left in America because most Americans pretty much trust both business and government. Both the Democrats and Republicans are on the Authoritarian Right. So were nearly all of those who ran for president in the 2008 election, even Obama:
- Authoritarian Left: none.
- Authoritarian Right: from left to right: Edwards, Biden, Obama, Chris Dodd, Hillary Clinton, Richardson, McCain, Giuliani, Alan Keyes, Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, Romney, Fred Thompson, Gingrich, Tancredo, Ron Paul.
- Libertarian Left: Nader, Kucinich.
- Libertarian Right: Gravel.
In fact, I have voted for Nader in the past.
So America no longer has a left and right party, but a right and a far right party! You can thank Ronald Reagan for that – he shifted the centre of the country to the right back in the 1980s.
Here are some world figures:
- Authoritarian Left: Mugabe, Mahmoud Abbas, Pope Benedict XVI.
- Authoritarian Right: from left to right: Romano Prodi, Jose Zapatero, Kevin Rudd, Angela Merkel, Stephen Harper, Ehud Olmert, Gordon Brown, Jose Maria Aznar, Nicolas Sarkozy, Silvio Berlusconi, George W. Bush.
- Libertarian Left: Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama.
- Libertarian Right: none.
Notice that Obama is hardly a Nelson Mandela or Dalai Lama sort of figure.
Curiously, the website even rates famous classical musicians:
- Authoritarian Left: Schumann.
- Authoritarian Right: Brahms, Haydn, Elgar, Stravinsky, Puccini, Wagner.
- Libertarian Left: from left to right: Prokofiev, Bartok, Britten, Schonberg, Mahler, Shostakovitch, Beethoven, Smetana, Dvorak.
- Libertarian Right: Chopin, Tchaikovsky.
If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you are probably on the Libertarian Left. People tend to read blogs that share their view of the world in some way. Otherwise you are probably on the Authoritarian Right since most people with Internet service are. But take the test and see!
– Abagond, 2008, 2015.