Tuesday, 9 March 2004

Purity test rage

Via both Stephen Bainbridge and Will Baude, I took the latest “flavor of the month” quiz: the Libertarian Purity Test. I got a 50 out of a maximum 160, mainly because my hard-core minarchist libertarian views have subsided over time in favor of more practical politics.

IMHO, the quiz was actually pretty poorly engineered; the “libertarian” answer was always the “yes” answer. This sort of thing generally leads to response bias. But, the questions seemed to tap libertarian attitudes better than the infamous Political Compass does.

We're all libertarians now

Like Chris, I can’t resist those silly internet quizzes, so I also took that Libertarian Purity Test that’s all the rage today.

The first time I took it, I answered all the questions yes or no, since there was no “undecided” option. I was able to answer a solid “no” to all the five point questions, a pretty solid “yes” to most of the one-pointers, and felt like I needed an essay-style format to answer the three-pointers, but I gave gut-level answers to all of them. I scored a 34, “your libertarian credentials are obvious.”

That’s hardly the stratospheric heights occupied by Will Baude, but that didn’t seem quite right. Apart from my support for drug legalization, I don’t think my libertarian credentials are at all obvious.

So I took the test again, refraining from answering most of the questions that I felt unsure about. I scored a 23, “soft-core libertarian,” putting me in the neighborhood of Amanda Butler, Josh Chafetz, and Matthew Yglesias, which seems about right.

Wednesday, 9 March 2005

Purer than thou art

Mike Munger took the purity test that I took exactly a year ago and got a 54 out of 160 (my score was a 50 at the time, and has subsequently declined to 41). He makes a pretty good point too:

I agree that government is evil, but like most social scientists (even economists) I think it is a necessary evil.

Indeed, I don’t even think most classical liberals argued there should be no government. And, for what it’s worth, I don’t even think institutions are inherently evil, although I’ll grant that governments that only do non-evil things are rare and even governments we retrospectively idealize for some things (for example, libertarians who look fondly on the substantive due process era) had major faults in other areas (because substantive due process was generally only applied to economic rights; if you were a black in the South, substantive due process did bupkiss for you). The Great Libertarian Paradise, like the Great Socialist Workers’ Paradise, has never come to fruition and probably never will.

Apropos of this point, the folks over at Questions and Observations are setting up a Neolibertarian Network of likeminded weblogs; go take a peek if you’re interested.