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Another on-line political quiz

Reading the liberatarian community led me to yet another on-line political quiz:

I turned out to be a very slightly left-leaning libertarian, which is absolutely accurate for me.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 12th, 2003 10:02 pm (UTC)
Libertarian Purity Test
I hate that one. It's a POS in my opinion. It totally scored me wrong.

The one I like is the Libertarian Purity Test. It seems pretty accurate. A socialist friend of mine got like a 22 out of 160. I got 156. I guess I'm a Libertarian. Actually that purity test goes a wee bit further than libertarian and if you score 160 you are a downright anarchist. Which I often describe myself as.

I've read some of Lysander Spooner's work (he's a famous anarchist of old), and it makes so much sense. But then you factor in unanimously voluntary government and you have a Libertarian utopia. So I think Spooner sometimes failed to see that government can be something other than what it is today. Then again, I've really read so little of his work that I'm not qualified to pass judgment.

There's also some sentiment that Spooner was often called a socialist which makes no sense to me. Like his views were somehow were both. I really ought to read more of his work. It interests me greatly.

I have some socialist leaning myself, even though I'm an anarcho-capitalist. But only in one regard. I can't for the life of me find any principle behind land ownership. I mean, I firmly believe that all products of your labor are absolutely yours as in capitalism, but how can anyone claim a piece of land? If a piece of land is unclaimed, what right to you have to put a fence around it and say. "It's mine." Does a fence make it yours? What makes it yours?

I've had this debate with an Objectivist MSN group and none of them made any sense. I don't know any Objectivist who has explained this issue to my satisfaction. Not even Ayn Rand herself. Though again, while I've read a lot, I haven't read enough.

I claim to be an Objectivist, and I honestly think I am, but this one issue may be the undoing of that philosophy. Not that a philosophy which incorporates principled land ownership would be a far cry from Objectivism. I just don't think Capitalism accounts for it properly. I mean, once all of the land is owned, like in the US today (either by the government or private citizens), Capitlism works very well to ensure that the land gets used to it's fullest potential. But it's a chicken and egg game. We bought it from France or Mexico or Natives (or stole it), but in the beginning someone just claimed it.

It was "owned" so to speak by nature as a whole, in which man was only a slightly more advanced ape. And everything was war. Nature is like that, a constant war between individual animals and plants for survival. And now we are "civilized" and we denounce war (except in some cases) and we endeavor to protect eachothers' land "ownership" instead of fighting over it.

It's all so strange when you really think about it, but it's so easy to just accept it and live your life. I work my ass off in the hope that one day I, too, can own a piece of the land and raise a family or something.

Damn, it's 1:00am. I didn't mean to write a freaking essay. I think I'm going to cross post this in my journal.
Oct. 13th, 2003 05:38 am (UTC)
Re: Libertarian Purity Test
I took Bryan Caplan's Libertarian Purity Test and scored a 150. I have corresponded with Bryan for about three years because he is interested in combining personality psychology and economics. He's a good guy. I had to smile, however, at the introduction to his test, which claims that his test is worded so as to produce less upward bias than the World's Shortest Political Quiz. Even though the items cover the content of libertarian concerns well and are scaled in terms of increasing hard-coreness, the test is so transparent that most anyone could easily score a perfect 160 if you wanted to.

As for libertarian issues, we should really be having this conversation in the libertarian community, but here are a few points I would make.

"Ownership" of land wasn't invented by human beings. Territoriality is much older than our species, and is the product of evolution caused by natural selection. The most "fit" (energetic, strong, smart) males have an advantage over less fit males in procuring and "owning" the most prime pieces of real estate (containing the most resources and other features that promote survival), are able to attract the most females, and leave the most offspring. Modern human territoriality is just an outgrowth of these primitive mechanisms.

Libertarian rants about basic property ownership rights are totally disconnected from historical biological realities. The whole concept of "rights" is an abstraction that cannot withstand critical scrutiny. Nobody has any inherent rights to anything; we just like to say we do to provide a pseudo-objective basis for claiming what we would like to have. I greatly admire Lysander Spooner for speaking out so strongly and eloquently for libertarian principles, particularly during the time he lived, but whenever he mentions "rights" my eyes start to glaze over.

Also, today nobody except governments truly owns any (land) property. We so-called land-owners are merely renters as long as we have real estate taxes that, if not paid, will result in our property being confiscated. Land ownership is just a figure of speech.

Again, if we want to pursue this topic, we probably should take it to the libertarian community.
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