Scrubone is slowly, slowly, slowly* developing a graph of the NZ political blogosphere, based on the Political Spectrum Quiz. I’ve just done the quiz, and it turns out that I am a left social libertarian. Wev. Somewhat worryingly, it turns out that I am more libertarian than many of the so-called right wingers in the NZ blog scene. NB: Some caveats apply: it’s an on-line quiz; it’s biased towards the USA scene; it assumes the existence of a god; some of the questions are ambiguous. But it’s still fun, and providing that we are all answering the same questions, it can provide some sense of who we are in relation to each other.
Here’s me: 3.43 left, 6.55 libertarian.
That makes sense to me.
I’ve got lots of favourite sayings that represent my feminism, and among them is one I have adopted from Stef, the ex-expat, who posts at The Hand Mirror. Feminism means that I’m free to stuff up, and make my very own mistakes. Feminism makes me responsible for me, for the good and the bad. I’m damned if I want anyone else telling me what to do, and I’m equally damned if I want to tell anyone else how to live their lives. But I do want to make sure that people are free to choose. To my mind, contra Chandra Kukathas in The Liberal Archipelago, that means that you might need to ensure that it is possible to be free. And even if someone has chosen a position of subjugation, you need to be sure that at any time, she can choose to leave that position. Nevertheless, if that is what someone chooses, then even if I don’t like her choice, I want her to be free to make it.
That accounts for the libertarian part of equation. I’m not pure libertarian; I’m inclined to think that free speech is not a god-given eternal right, and that hate speech can be equivalent to shouting fire in a crowded theatre. So my response to this question on the quiz…
It should be against the law to use hateful language toward another racial group.
… undoubtedly reduced my overall libertarian score. When a black man in the US, an Aboriginal man in Australia, a Maori boy in New Zealand can be killed and the killers not prosecuted, or let off, or convicted only of a minor offence, then there is something profoundly wrong with the way we talk about black and Aboriginal and Maori people. And when women can be characterised as somehow deserving to be raped…. well, that looks like inciting people to violence to me. So I’m not okay with the freedom to spout hate speech, at all.
But above all, I support the right to choose, and make my own choices. When it comes to social issues, I’m libertarian.
But economically, I’m at least somewhat wet. I love taxation! And I absolutely love state provision of education and health and welfare. Why? Because they give people the tools and resources to be free, to make their own choices, to be responsible for themselves, as fully autonomous adults. And that’s why I end up on the left side of the economic scale. Freedom to choose is very, very important, but it’s also important to enable people to make those choices.
Take the quiz! Find out where you stand. But then do the difficult bit. Think a little bit about why you end up in your particular position. And more importantly, can you justify it?
Update: Scrubone has put his chart of the NZ political blogosphere on its own page.
*Another Eric Carle reference.