My friend and writing partner, Jamil, just published a piece about where he sits on the political spectrum. He came out as pretty far left-libertarian according to The Political Compass. He talked for a bit about how he doesn’t see himself as libertarian, but it’s good food for thought.
Naturally, his piece got me thinking about my own place on the political spectrum. I often comment that I don’t feel really comfortable anywhere in the standard discussions of politics. When I vote, I virtually always vote Democrat, which would put me kind of center/left. But, I don’t vote Democrat because I agree with all, or even a majority, of their positions. I vote Democrat because it’s the only pragmatic, and ethical, option.
I decided to take the same Political Compass test that Jamil took. I got
Economic Left/Right: -5.63
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82
I don’t know how I feel about that. It’s probably true that I’m economically left, but I don’t blame capitalism for all of life’s woes. In fact, I think actual socialism is silly at best, so I’m probably close to OK on the left/right ranking. But, this scale put me at way more libertarian than I think of myself.
I know it’s not talking about the Libertarian political party, or even the libertarian ideas that have taken hold in the main-stream Republican party, but, in general, I’m not a big freedom guy. I’m all for big government and strong regulations. I think governments are the only way to tackle issues like the environment, public health, transportation, and education. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think of myself as authoritarian either. I just thought I’d be a lot closer to center on the vertical line of the chart.
Jamil said that his piece was an exercise in self-understanding. That’s certainly a worthy goal. I just don’t think this particular exercise helped me that much. It does suggest a project for me, though. I can try to explore the political terrain more and see if there’s anywhere I feel comfortable. Kind of an, “If I got to design a political party, what would it look like?” type of exercise. I think I could really learn something from that.