Vote about yourself

I’ve added a poll on political orientation to the sidebar and invite you to vote. Your individual vote stays absolutely anonymous. Only the aggregate results are available to other voters. I’m posting about it here because I also invite you to comment on these kinds of polls.

My aim is to get a sense of how people who visit here describe themselves. Then I can pander accordingly. Just kidding. Honestly, I’m just curious.

A couple of notes. I have several people in mind in who are “very liberal” or “very conservative.” But I didn’t want these to be a scary choices — like, “extremist” or something. These are legitimate, non-extreme political orientations. So I added the “extremely liberal…” and “extremely conservative…” choices so that no one feels like they’re self-identifying at the extreme (unless they truly wish to).

A note on “Libertarian.” Picking this one doesn’t mean you’re a card-carrying member of the Libertarian Party. But it does mean you’re categorically in favor of very limited government — as to spending, taxing, foreign and defense affairs, welfare, and social issues (abortion, gay marriage, drug laws). That is, your presumptive position is virtually always that it’s none of government’s business. Most people I know are degrees of liberal or conservative, not Libertarian.

And finally, it is true that even this extended list of possible orientations doesn’t truly account for how actual human beings think and act in the political sphere. I know people who really do wish they could vote for Barry Goldwater in 2012 who nevertheless can’t understand why some recreational drugs are illegal. I know people who make Che Guevarra look timid in his “social justice” ambitions, and still take a hard line on certain social issues. There are indeed mixtures that defy categories, and that, too, is a fascinating issue — never aptly captured by any poll.

My poll has no such larger design — just a general friendly interest in where you think you are, or where you imagine others think you are. I sincerely welcome your thoughts on how it is we come to think of ourselves politically, and what consequences may follow.

But whether you have thoughts you wish to share, or not, please vote!

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15 Responses to Vote about yourself

  1. Terrance H. says:

    I’m a conservative, otherwise known as a Right Libertarian. Most people don’t catch the modifier, so when they hear about my abortion views for the first time, they go into orbit. “Do you know that most libertarians are pro-choice!?!” “You’re not a real libertarian! Fascist!”

    It’s fun.

    • Well, yes, most libertarians are pro-choice, even when they’re deeply morally opposed to abortion in practice. They simply conclude that government cannot legitimately make that decision of conscience for women. I’m still a bit mystified as to how you characterize yourself as a libertarian, even a right libertarian. You’re conservative Terrance. And of course, not being a “real libertarian” most certainly does not make you a “fascist.” Simply a social conservative.

      That’s part of my purpose here — disentangling what the labels really mean.

      • Terrance H. says:

        So, how would you characterize a right libertarian, Kendrick. What views would you expect an actual right libertarian to hold?

        • Interesting you should ask. Heck if I know. 🙂

          Seriously, here’s how I (vaguely) think about right and left libertarians. Right libertarians are focused energetically and exclusively on limiting governments. That means maximizing individual freedom and minimizing any government incursion thereupon. Gun rights, abortion rights, gay rights, property rights, contract rights, business rights — none of these properly get diminished by government interference. Left libertarians begin with the premise that the evil is concentration of power. The most obvious — but not the only — example of concentration of power is the government. But society produces other concentrations of power — corporate, media, religious, local folkways — and these additional concentrations of power produce local despotisms just as bad as traditional government oppression, and should therefore be opposed, preferably, always, without a government dictate (else they wouldn’t be libertarian).

          I don’t see you falling into either category. I still see you as a straightforward and sincere social conservative.

          • Terrance H. says:

            Kendrick,

            I don’t know. I reject abortion rights, but all those other rights I’m O.K. with – for the most part. Clearly, we cannot put people into little boxes. You’re supposed to be a conservative, yet you support gay marriage and abortion rights. Are you a conservative, or are you a libertarian, or are you a conservative who happens to disagree with mainstream conservative thought on those two issues?

          • I end up probably more libertarian than anything else — but it’s still an identity I can’t fully embrace, in part because I fully supported the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and libertarians typically disdain projections of military power that are not clearly necessary for national defense. I’m also a pragmatist at heart, and recoil from ideological formulas of any stripe. Government projections of its authority into realms such as civil rights, for example, strike me as perfectly appropriate (recall Rand Paul’s tribulations on this issue) — though as a conservative, I certainly believe that pendulum can swing too heavily the other direction, or be executed unfairly.

            So, yes, to answer your question, I’m probably a conservative that happens to disagree with mainstream conservative thinking on abortion and gay marriage — but with a conservative twist on both positions.

            And I’ll say that I’ve identified at some point in my life as most of the choices in the poll. (Except anarchist, never dabbled with that. Not there there’s anything wrong with anarchists. :))

  2. Terrance H. says:

    Meh. According to the following political quiz, I’m a Moderate Populist Conservative.

    http://www.ontheissues.org/quizeng/XPolitics/start.asp

    Cool…

  3. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    There are days I know, but most of the time I doubt where I fall on the spectrum – I, as you said, Kendrick, juggle doubt and comfort. If you want to stick a label on me at all, it should say this, “Keep Head and Limbs Away From Moving Parts.”

    I voted anyway! I bet you can’t guess which one.

    • Nope, I cannot guess. Sometimes I think I know where you might self-identify, but then you confound me.

      • Snoring Dog Studio says:

        I confound myself routinely. And it happens more now that I’m reading other blogs – I realize that I don’t have as many answers as I do have questions. A remarkable offshoot: I have come to realize that people who disagree with my viewpoints can be very good, decent people – most often they are. Present company included, of course!

  4. Venessa Gomez says:

    Kendrick, so far it looks like you’ve got a very good mixture of people who enjoy your posts! I took one of those quizzes online a couple of years ago and it said I was libertarian. It took me another year to decide if I was truly a libertarian or if I was conservative. The area I struggled in was deciding on things like abortion and gay rights. Everything else I’m definitely a libertarian. Ultimately I came to the conclusion that I am a libertarian. Regardless of my personal choices on either of those areas, I don’t believe it’s the government’s place to regulate those areas.

    • Well thought-out Venessa. We probably agree on 90% of the issues. And you might persuade me to your view on a few others! I just can’t fully embrace the libertarian badge for the reasons I articulated in reply to Terrance. Thanks for the visits and the vote.

  5. OK now this cracked me up: “So liberal I almost come full circle to fascist.” 😆

    • You know the old adage — scratch a liberal, find a fascist. Present company excepted of course! 🙂

      • Hahaha. Very nice! One of my forum sig lines is “Fascists make me itchy.”

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