Take the "Libertarian Purity Test"!

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SailAway's picture
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Take the "Libertarian Purity Test"!

Libertarian Purity Test
by Bryan Caplan

 

top5.gif This is the Libertarian Purity Test, which is intended to measure how libertarian you are. It isn't intended to be any sort of McCarthyite purging device -- just a form of entertainment, hopefully thought-provoking. I like it a lot better than the more famous "World's Shortest Political Quiz" because I haven't stated the questions with any intent to give an upward bias to a test-taker's score, and because it gives a clearer breakdown between hard and soft-core libertarians. Enjoy, suggest your friends try it out, and see how you compare to other test-takers...

 

http://www.bcaplan.com/cgi-bin/purity.cgi

I scored in this range:

51-90 points: You are a medium-core libertarian, probably self-consciously so. Your friends probably encourage you to quit talking about your views so much.

 

The perfect Libertarian scores 160!   

I know a cute little dog with sunglasses that should score well wink

 

 

joesxm2011's picture
joesxm2011
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I got a 25.  I guess I am not

I got a 25.  I guess I am not as Libertarian as I thought I was.

A lot of the questions I answered wrong were a matter of degree.  For example, cut spendng yes, cut 75% of military budget no.

ao's picture
ao
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interesting test

50 and trending upward.

Doug's picture
Doug
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joesxm2011 wrote: I got a 25.
joesxm2011 wrote:

I got a 25.  I guess I am not as Libertarian as I thought I was.

A lot of the questions I answered wrong were a matter of degree.  For example, cut spendng yes, cut 75% of military budget no.

I'm with Joe, the degree matters.  I got a 21, but never imagined that I was or wanted to be a pure libertarian. 

Doug

LogansRun's picture
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114

But a couple of the q's got me thinking.

"Should all roads be privatized?"....No, they should be owned by everyone.  

"Should Police be privatized?"....No, too slippery of a slope there.

"Should we abolish the military"....No, defense of the people is still necessary against foriegn armies.

I personally think Libertarianism is a bit too simplistic in it's wants/views.  It doesn't take into account human nature.  And because of this, it's attitude would bring about a feudal society over time.  

I don't personally don't have the answers to what society should become.  But, it will take generations to abolish the brainwashing that's occured over the past 100 years.

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Fun...

I scored 48 -

31-50 points: Your libertarian credentials are obvious. Doubtlessly you will become more extreme as time goes on.

Though as a non-US resident I should add I got most of my positive scores on the general theme of 'Should the USA butt out of everyone else's affairs'. cheeky

 

That, plus sexual freedom and drugs legislation ... all of which counts as sort of 'liberal' this side of the pond.

treebeard's picture
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33

All we need is more ism's and black and white thinking and questions.  The world is infinitely more nuanced than that.  Libertarianism, like anything else has it good and dark sides.  At its best it speaks to personal responsibility and a humility before interfering in the affairs of others.  At its worst, an excuse for a self centered greed driven frenzy of self indulgence that says heck with everybody else, I've got mine, go get your own.  Not exactly the philosophical foundation for self reliant communities that care for one another.

Logansrun nailed with the simple question about roads and the police.  Why is the profit motive the answer to every question in the capitalistic libertarian world view?  I think my score was similar to Macs for the same reasons.

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RNcarl
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Geesh a 64

Well,

I got a 64.

I guess that does mean that I am a fiscally conservative - socially liberal... ah, er, what was that label again?

thatchmo's picture
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Wow.  63.  But I don't

Wow.  63.  But I don't believe it.

What's that old saw?- If you're not a liberal when you're 20, you have no heart.  If you're not a conservative when you are 40, you have no brain.  If you're not a anarchist when you're 60, you haven't been paying attention...

  Agree with treebeard's #7.  Aloha, Steve.

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Libertarianism - moral, distortion free and voluntary living
Sail Away wrote:

I know a cute little dog with sunglasses that should score well wink

Not as high as I figured.  Only a 122.  Of course that's what I believe we should have with our current world.  If the world became more Libertarian then I think you can move farther...wink

treebeard wrote:

Logansrun nailed with the simple question about roads and the police.  Why is the profit motive the answer to every question in the capitalistic libertarian world view?  I think my score was similar to Macs for the same reasons.

It's not profit motive that I view as the reason for Libertarianism.  I see Libertarianism as an answer to two issues:

  1. How do you value what is desired and/or needed if you have major distortions caused by government.  Anything the government decides to build - roads, water plants, power plants, etc cause distortions which lead to unsustainable behavior.  If it was sustainable and desired, government wouldn't need to build it or fund it.  Take roads for example.  If you didn't have subsidized roads (that's what government is doing when it builds things), would you have urban sprawl?  how about large urban communities in the middle of the dessert without the heavily subsidized water and power systems, as well as the roads to get there?  Government subsidies (roads, power, water) encourage unsustainable development.
  2. If you don't believe you can hold someone at gun point and take their money to build your favorite project how is it right to do so via proxy of government?   Anything the government does requires force via threat of violence to make people comply.  Is this right? I certainly don't appreciate when I'm forced to do things I don't want to, so how can I justify doing so to others.   I find it mightly hypocritical of those that think government should butt out of marriage and drug issues, but then advocate gun control and social welfare.   The only difference is that they want government to force others to comply to their will.
RN Carl wrote:

I am a fiscally conservative - socially liberal..

I think this is exactly what a Libertarian is - as long as by social liberal you mean you have the right to do with your body and whatever you wish with another as long as it's consensual.  If you mean you believe in social welfare programs, then I would call it hypocrisy.

On thing you hear all the time from those that promote the state is that "Some one has to take care of the poor".  So the question I have for those who say that is, would you help someone in need?  Most will respond yes, but insist that most people wouldn't and that's why you need government.  It's this "better than thou" attitude I find among statists that is really distasteful.  It's the same attitude we see among the political class, that they somehow know better or that they are morally superior.   We also see the same belief held up for why we have to have police, because everyone else is just waiting for the law to not be there to rob, mug and kill their neighbors.  Here is a good essay on that subject:

If two men go into the woods without a police office, how many will come out alive?

Macs wrote:

Though as a non-US resident I should add I got most of my positive scores on the general theme of 'Should the USA butt out of everyone else's affairs'. cheeky

That, plus sexual freedom and drugs legislation ... all of which counts as sort of 'liberal' this side of the pond.

So it's not right for the US to butt into another countries affairs, but it's okay for you to butt into your fellow citizens affairs?

Logans Run wrote:

"Should all roads be privatized?"....No, they should be owned by everyone.

Why?  Isn't this just subsidies for those who choose to drive cars or live in suburban communities?  Is it right to be forced to subsidize anothers lifestyle? 

One thing to rememebr is you can be private and still be non-profit.   Private doesn't necessarily mean profit driven.  It's one area where I don't mind government (at a local level), for example - public recreation spaces (forests, parks, etc).  I think most should be pay for use, where the person/people getting value from it should pay for all costs of upkeep & maintenance.  Golf course are a perfect example of this, why should a non-golfer be forced to subsidize my recreation?

Logans Run wrote:

"Should Police be privatized?"....No, too slippery of a slope there.

"Should we abolish the military"....No, defense of the people is still necessary against foriegn armies.

The military issue is where I lost points, because until the whole world is Libertarian then we have to have a way to defend ourselves from outside entities.  I think police fall into this category as well.  The more Libertarian the local community the more likely the police, court, etc could be privatized.  It's just a microcosm of the military issue for the national level.

I also believe the world will naturally become more Libertarian as the heavily subsidized state via fiat currency, ponzi scheme borrowing, and for the US loss of reserve currency status occurs.  When you have to actually pay for all the social programs and large government versus just borrowing or printing there will be a lot more questioning about what is the natural role of government.  As we begin loosing our standard of living, a large bureaucratic government will become less palatable since right now it's primarily an annoyance for the productive members of a society.

The Libertarian Test wrote:

131-159 points: You are nearly a perfect libertarian, with a tiny number of blind spots. Think about them, then take the test over again. On the other hand, if you scored this high, you probably have a good libertarian objection to my suggested libertarian answer. :-)

I actually objected to some of the tests because neither of the options were very Libertarian, for example:

  • Would housing vouchers be an improvement over government housing?
  • Would school vouchers be an improvement over government schools?

How are either of these a Libertarian answer, there should be no government housing, no government schools and no vouchers for either. cool

I will leave you with my favorite story (posted it many times) and a thought provoking article/video on privatizing police/court systems and how it could work.

Button Button - a new link, the old one at Campaign for Liberty no longer works

Victimless Crime - video at the end of article called the Machinery of Freedom.

 

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Being an a**hole is not a feature of Libertarianism
treebeard wrote:

At its worst, an excuse for a self centered greed driven frenzy of self indulgence that says heck with everybody else, I've got mine, go get your own.

Why do you think that is a feature of Libertarianism?  I think that's just being an a**hole and I see a lot of that right now in our statist environment.  What would you call the Jamie Diamonds and John Corzines of the world?  Not exactly Libertarian....  In a Libertarian world, if you are an a**hole, you are much more likely to be ostracized and have limits to your actions since there is no government to be manipulated into moving your risk onto others.

Libertarian means voluntary interactions, unlike the forced interactions of Statism.

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John Ralston Saul Warns Of Addiction To Ideology and Utopianism

From a review of John Ralston Saul's (the Canadian author and intellectual)  "Unconcious Civilization".

By John McCrory: 

"The most pernicious problem in the West today is our addiction to ideology and utopianism", which he (John Ralston Saul) calls a desperate need to believe that the solution of a single problem will solve all our problems. The universal answer. The magic bullet."

Some see a similarity between Saul's ideas and Libertarian ideology. But it is more than just a subtle emphasis that Saul's ideas differ from Libertarianism.

"Saul's definition of the individual as a person who doesn't mind her own business is the single idea that completely separates him from Libertarianism which is after all, just selfishness masquerading as democracy."

http://johnmccrory.com/selected-writings/john-ralston-sauls-unconscious-civilization/

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Voluntary (Libertarianism) versus Forced (all other isms)
John Lemieux wrote:

"Saul's definition of the individual as a person who doesn't mind her own business is the single idea that completely separates him from Libertarianism which is after all, just selfishness masquerading as democracy."

I think the above statement shows a misunderstanding of Libertarianism.  Libertarianism does not imply selfishness.   It also does not imply "minding one's own business".  And it absolutely does not imply democracy - since a democracy in most forms of government is the antithesis of Libertarianism.

If you get only one thing out of the concept of Libertarianism it's should be the idea of voluntary interaction.  I choose to interact rather than being forced.  Democracy implies force from the majority applied to the minority. It's why in the US we were set up as a Constitutional Republic versus a Democracy because in a democracy it's mob rule.

Selfishness is just the term used by thieves to hide their envy.  You are selfish if you have something somone else covets for themselves or others and aren't willing to give it to them.   If you see something that you think needs changing how about talking to people and encouraging them to change/contribute/help (not minding one's own business) and you will probably get much better results that forcing them to comply via threat of violence from a government.

I don't beleive Libertarian ideals are the solution to all the worlds problems, but I think when you stop trying to force others to comply with your Utopian plan it goes along way in solving many of them.  Libertarianism is the opposite of most of the other isms because all the others require forcing compliance of individuals that may have a different viewpoint.

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rhare wrote: Macs
rhare wrote:
Macs wrote:

Though as a non-US resident I should add I got most of my positive scores on the general theme of 'Should the USA butt out of everyone else's affairs'. cheeky

That, plus sexual freedom and drugs legislation ... all of which counts as sort of 'liberal' this side of the pond.

So it's not right for the US to butt into another countries affairs, but it's okay for you to butt into your fellow citizens affairs?

I don't 'butt into' anyone's affairs by invading their space with overwhelming force and bombing the crap out of them because I don't like the way they live their lives, or bump off the head of household to put one of my buddies in there. Great rhetorical device but a lousy simile wink

I think the scale of organisation is a problem for libertarianism - I can see it working in small communities, but once we get to big centralised societies the difficulties multiply and the State becomes a necessary evil. And I mean that as an argument for smaller communities, not against libertarianism. I'm generally a 'live and let live' type and adhere to the Golden Mean of 'do unto others...'

Once a society gets too big the element of personal relationships goes out of the window. I love the idea of voluntary co-operation, of neighbours getting together to get things done. The question is where that principle of common endeavour gets lost on the road to the nation state?

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Tolerance of others, responsibility for self
Macs wrote:

The question is where that principle of common endeavour gets lost on the road to the nation state?

Macs wrote:

but once we get to big centralised societies the difficulties multiply and the State becomes a necessary evil.

I think you answered your own question.  When we decide that the same rules for dealing with our neighbors are not the same rules we apply to people we don't know (Button Button).  It's part of the attitude that leads to a large powerful state interferring in our daily lives on so many levels.  When we don't like the way other people live and we decide we have to save them from themselves via force of government, and they decide to do the same for us.   I think the only thing that makes it "difficult" is that you get a lot more variety and inevitably people will rub others the wrong way.  Libertarianism requires tolerance of other peoples choices so that others will be tolerant of yours.

Macs wrote:

I don't 'butt into' anyone's affairs by invading their space with overwhelming force and bombing the crap out of them because I don't like the way they live their lives, or bump off the head of household to put one of my buddies in there.

Maybe not, but do you try to tell others how they have to spend the fruits of their labor?  How about what food/items they may put in their body?  Before you say no on that issue, do you insist on government drug and food regulation?  Do you insist others pay for your lifestyle choices - roads, abortions, health care, parks, schools?  Very few things that people need are not driven by choices they have made in life, should they not also be responsible for themselves?  Should others have to pay when someone decides to smoke, or not exercise, or party all night instead of studying in school, or if they decide to have kids?

The Libertarian Purity Test wrote:

31-50 points: Your libertarian credentials are obvious. Doubtlessly you will become more extreme as time goes on.

I think once you begin to examine your beliefs with a Libertarian attitude, you begin to see all kinds of inconsistant beliefs.  For instance, I'm an avid non-smoker and I used to support all kinds of "smoking bans" in restaurants, bars, etc.  However, I do not anymore. I still harass my smoker friends, and encourage restaurant and bar owners to end smoking in their establishments, but I will not support the state "forcing" people to my will - in the same way, I should not be forced to pay for someones health care that has choosen to smoke.

 

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I think the only thing that

I think the only thing that makes it "difficult" is that you get a lot more variety and inevitably people will rub others the wrong way.

I beg to differ here - the main difficulty I see is the anonymity of crowds - those who would abuse or deny our rights have more cover and we have less ability to defend ourselves.

Before you say no on that issue, do you insist on government drug and food regulation?

Tricky one wink To some degree - food purity standards (no white lead in the flour please...), drug efficacy testing, but the main proviso is transparency of information. You can only make a truly free choice if you have access to accurate information, and I don't want to have to send a sample of every bought-in item of food to the lab ensure it is not contaminated with things I don't consent to entering my body. But issues like banning unpasteurised milk/cheese etc is nonsense, I agree. Maybe these issues could be organised via a privatised court system, but I honestly haven't considered that in any great depth.

Healthcare is a very emotive one, so I'll just say I appreciate our 'socialised' system. The way I look at it, it is effectively a group insurance scheme. Ill-health is no repecter of pocket books and needs and means are randomly mismatched. Britain went from fully privatised to partly-socialised medicine post-WWII and the nation's health improved vastly. I don't know if it's ideal, but at least we have more doctors than lawyers in the hospitals, and it costs us less in GDP terms than other countries with privatised systems and lower life expectancy.

As an aside, re paying for smoker's bad choices, the case is reversed here: Tobacco taxation amounts to £10.5 billion per year, whereas NHS spending on tobacco related disease is £1.7 billion per year. The smokers DO pay for their own bad choices, and subsidise non-smokers too.

Do you insist others pay for your lifestyle choices - roads, abortions, health care, parks, schools?

Not for things I regard as my own, personal choices. I buy my own beer etc. But infrastructure - well there is no-one who doesn't benefit from it. Roads as an example - an individual not driving doesn't mean they have no benefit of roads, the goods and services they buy use the roads, the economic health of their neighbourhood depends on roads and so on. To withdraw from the social contract you have to give up heck of a lot and go a long way to be purely independent. I suppose a lot depends on how willing one is to say 'we' instead of 'I' and pay for services via taxes or invoices.

I think once you begin to examine your beliefs with a Libertarian attitude, you begin to see all kinds of inconsistant beliefs.

Absolutely - but I'm sure that can be said of taking any position. I said long ago that I have many faults, but consistency isn't one of them. My beliefs have always been a work in progress, and that probably won't change. I don't think we'll agree on everything, though there is a lot of common ground which I haven't really addressed. Thanks for the discourse.

 

Nate's picture
Nate
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interesting

Scored 140. 

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The reason Roads shouldn't be

The reason Roads shouldn't be privatized is simple.  

If privatized, then you allow people/organizations to choose who can, and who can't use such roads.  

I'm not so worried with the idea of one road being faster than the other, thus being more expensive.  But I am worried over, "Negro's can't use this road" or the likes.  

As I said, it's such a slippery slope, it's not worth the hastle.

And bottom line:  Until the whole world is Libertarian, you can't have Libertarianism.  

And in all honesty, Libertarian ideology will turn to Oligarchy within a few generations anyway.  I'm surprised you can't see this aspect of the ideology.  Libertarianism sounds soooo good for the first generation of such.  But follow the course of the idiology to it's end game and...poof, Oligarchy or worse. The strong if allowed, will always rule over the meek.  Human nature.  

Quote:

It's not profit motive that I view as the reason for Libertarianism.  I see Libertarianism as an answer to two issues:

  1. How do you value what is desired and/or needed if you have major distortions caused by government.  Anything the government decides to build - roads, water plants, power plants, etc cause distortions which lead to unsustainable behavior.  If it was sustainable and desired, government wouldn't need to build it or fund it.  Take roads for example.  If you didn't have subsidized roads (that's what government is doing when it builds things), would you have urban sprawl?  how about large urban communities in the middle of the dessert without the heavily subsidized water and power systems, as well as the roads to get there?  Government subsidies (roads, power, water) encourage unsustainable development.
  2. If you don't believe you can hold someone at gun point and take their money to build your favorite project how is it right to do so via proxy of government?   Anything the government does requires force via threat of violence to make people comply.  Is this right? I certainly don't appreciate when I'm forced to do things I don't want to, so how can I justify doing so to others.   I find it mightly hypocritical of those that think government should butt out of marriage and drug issues, but then advocate gun control and social welfare.   The only difference is that they want government to force others to comply to their will.

"Should Police be privatized?"....No, too slippery of a slope there.

"Should we abolish the military"....No, defense of the people is still necessary against foriegn armies.

Quote:

The military issue is where I lost points, because until the whole world is Libertarian then we have to have a way to defend ourselves from outside entities.  I think police fall into this category as well.  The more Libertarian the local community the more likely the police, court, etc could be privatized.  It's just a microcosm of the military issue for the national level.

I also believe the world will naturally become more Libertarian as the heavily subsidized state via fiat currency, ponzi scheme borrowing, and for the US loss of reserve currency status occurs.  When you have to actually pay for all the social programs and large government versus just borrowing or printing there will be a lot more questioning about what is the natural role of government.  As we begin loosing our standard of living, a large bureaucratic government will become less palatable since right now it's primarily an annoyance for the productive members of a society.

 

 

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