L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 118, April 23, 2001
Just Another Thursday Past
Exclusive to TLE
The Advocates for Self Government (www.self-gov.org/quiz.html) have a
reasonably well publicized quiz designed to determine your general
political and philosophical leanings - libertarian, conservative,
liberal, et cetera - with 10 simple questions relating to personal
and economic issues. It's not bad, as it goes; quite rational. And
it's often used as an outreach tool by libertarians of various
Which is a damned shame.
Because the people we most need to reach are not approaching their
politics rationally. They've been taught by our public schools for
the past century not to question political motives on a rational
basis, but to evaluate politics by "how it makes you feel". People
who've been taught to feel, and to completely abandon critical
thought aren't ready to consider the ramifications of questions like:
"Businesses and farms should operate without govt. subsidies -
A useful outreach tool has to address the intended target audience;
in this case, one with disinclined to think for itself. Yes/Maybe/No
doesn't hack it. Sheeple who've spent their lives passively absorbing
canned viewpoints from the gov and Ministry of truth outfits like CNN
aren't going to bother with the hassle of thinking about just what
those WSPQ questions mean. They're just going to parrot back
whatever line was fed to them at their indoctrination camp ... er,
public school and go back to their sitcoms and propaganda (which,
thanks to the DEA, are pretty much one and the same). So here's a
Quiz with the introspection built in, for those unused to doing it
A Not-So-Small Political Quiz for the Cognitively-Disinclined:
Choose one answer in each category to best represent your views.
I. PERSONAL ISSUES
1. Military/Government Service -
a. Federal service should be voluntary. Involuntary servitude is
usually called "slavery".
b. Military service should be compulsory, under threat of punishment;
at wages below market scale. Attempts to escape such forced servitude
should be a crime.
c. Community service at no-or-low pay should be compulsory under
threat of punishment.
2. Free Speech -
a. Government should not control radio, television, the press or the
Internet, nor any other form of expression. If government has a
reason to exist, it's to protect my speech, not restrict it.
b. Government should control all forms of expression to ensure that
ideas or words which might offend or frighten me, an easily offended,
narrow-minded person, are censored. Never mind that no one is forcing
me to listen.
c. Government should censor any form of expression which might damage
someone's self-esteem, and fund at my expense intentionally offensive
"art" which no one would buy on the free market.
3. Private relations between consenting individuals-
a. What consenting people do in private is none of my business, nor
is what I do in private any of their concern
b. Forbid any private activity not to my own taste or specific
c. Extend government licensing (and thus control) of interpersonal
relationships to all possible sexual variations.
4. War On (Some) Drugs -
a. Drug laws do more harm than good. Repeal them. It's none of my
business what other people do to themselves so long as they leave me
out of it.
b. Non-living, inanimate chemicals and agricultural products cause
crime of their own accord. Ban 'em! So what if Prohibition proved
that government bans on products act as an artificial price support
and thus make "drug turf wars" economically viable.
c. Drugs are terrible, but people should be allowed to use ones which
the government decides for them are acceptably safe. And I'm
perfectly happy to dig into my own pockets for the cash to buy them
needles, methadone, and counseling.
5. Immigration -
a. People should be free to come and go across borders; to live and
work where they choose. If they're willing to support themselves by
doing work which I won't touch at pay I'd refuse, more power to them.
b. I'm not sure who illegal immigrants are supposed to be competing
with, since they're doing work no one else would, or could, do. And
they are contributing to the economies of their communities. But they
talk funny, and that makes me nervous. Throw 'em out!
c. Illegal immigrants should be welcomed with open arms, welfare
checks, free schooling, free medical care, free food. Whatever. I'll
just dig a little deeper into my pockets- and yours - to pay 'em.
II. Economic Issues
1. Government Subsidies -
a. Businesses and farms should operate without government subsidies.
Why should I pay someone else to operate a business that expects me
to buy stuff from him anyway? Let him compete fairly on the free
market if he can.
b. Subsidies for farmers or corporations afraid to compete fairly
with unsubsidized outfits are an essential way to guarantee votes for
my congressman. Pork barrel spending - paid for out of my pocket -
may be expensive, but if I keep my congressman in office, I might get
a cut of the action.
c. Subsidies for farmers or corporations afraid to compete fairly
with unsubsidized outfits are an essential way to fairly redistribute
my wealth, and to guarantee votes for my congressman.
2. Free Trade versus Restrictive Tariffs -
a. I don't want the government to drive prices up by adding fees,
taxes, and tariffs to the imported items I want to buy, and removing
incentive for local companies to hold prices down.
b. Tariffs ensure that Americans aren't thrown out of work because
their companies would rather lay off workers than cut corporate
profits to compete in a free market.
c. Not only do I want tariffs to protect American jobs by driving up
costs, I think we should further limit foreign competition with
American companies by demanding that foreign workers be paid the same
inflationary wages as unionized American workers.
3. Minimum Wage Laws -
a. Why in the world would I want to drive up the prices I pay by
forcing companies to pay higher wages? The companies are going to
pass on the higher wage cost by raising their prices.
b. Damned right. Why would I want to drive up the prices I pay by
forcing companies to pay higher wages?
c. I'm mathematically incompetent; I actually think that everybody
deserves a higher-than-average wage, and I'm willing to pay more to
ensure that they get it. No prob; I'll just scream for another
minimum wage hike when my prices go up. Inflationary spiral? What's
4. Involuntary Taxation -
a. End taxes. Pay for services with user fees. Taking my money to pay
for dubious "services" which I never asked for nor wish to use is
theft, plain and simple. If someone does have a useful service to
offer, I'm willing to pay a reasonable fee for that; whether the
company offering it calls itself "US Government" or Griswold's
b. Of course we need taxes. How else is my congressman going to
squeeze the mone... er, *fund* the pork barrel bills he submits? And
those people polled, who said they'd rather be mugged than audited,
are just unpatriotic scoundrels who aren't willing to pay their share
of the pork.
c. Of course we need taxes. How else is my congressman going to
squeeze the mone.... er, *fund* the pork barrel bills he submits? I
like giving my hard-earned money to IRS agents with big guns and
fake IDs. Besides, if the government let me have my own money, I'd
probably just waste it; I really can't trust myself to make my own
5. Foreign Aid -
a. I have a large enough albatross on my back paying for my own
government; I'm not going to pay for Russia's. Or China's. And if
it's charitable aid... Americans are some of the most generous people
in the world. We give hundreds of billions of dollars to charities
every year; let those charities handle foreign aid.
b. I'm not sure how, but foreign aid is vital to the national
security. Maybe it's like danegeld: If we don't pay off these other
countries, they'll attack us. We better pay up.
c. We are a global community. I'm personally responsible for complete
strangers. It isn't fair for me to keep enough money to feed and care
for my family if someone else lacks the slightest thing I have. My
money must be shared equally. If that means my kids go a little
hungry or don't get those new shoes, so be it.
All A's - You're probably a libertarian. You mind your own business
and expect others to do the same. You're willing to rake
responsibility for your actions, and also expect likewise from
others. You obviously think things through to their logical
All B's - You're a "conservative". You expect to be told what to do,
and are willing to pay for the privilege, except where that would
involve dominatrix mistress. A close, objective examination of your
attitudes will lead to enlightenment, or you might shoot yourself.
All C's - You're a "liberal". You're willing to pay for the privilege
of being rendered harmless and inoffensive. You demand that others do
the same. A careful and honest re-evaluation of your views can also
lead to enlightenment, but suicide probably isn't in the cards as
someone else is very likely willing to do the job for you when he
catches you with your hand on his wallet.
A balanced mix of responses can indicate a "centrist". It looks like
you've started to really think about things. Good work, and keep it
up. You're getting there.