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Australian philosopher, literary critic, and professional writer. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE and HUMANITY ENHANCED.

Friday, December 28, 2007

My friends are still left-libertarians


Note that I (the red dot) am quite moderate by the standards of this group; in fact, you can see why I sometimes feel like a nasty right-winger on economic issues. Fortunately, there are a few who are slightly closer than me to the left-right centre line. Even on social issues, where I am definitely pictured as a libertarian, my views are not all that extreme by the group's standards.

Without dobbing in individuals, I'll just say that (perhaps surprisingly? I'm not sure), a couple of the people who came out to the north-east of me, i.e. closer to the centre of the graph, are famous figures in the transhumanist movement.

Actually, this picture suggests a bit of a danger. The positions taken by these people, including me, are obviously not at all typical of the wider community. That doesn't mean we're wrong, just that if we all hang around with people like ourselves all the time we run a risk of losing touch with what the punters think and feel.

Edit: Image updated to 13 January. I also added a little image with just the cloud of dots and not the distracting numbers.

8 comments:

drjon said...

The positions taken by these people, including me, are obviously not at all typical of the wider community. That doesn't mean we're wrong, just that if we all hang around with people like ourselves all the time we run a risk of losing touch with what the punters think and feel.

Ironically enough, I've been reading a lot of speculation recently which postulates that the "leftist" attitude of academia is rooted in its wide exposure to many different cultural attitudes and ideas.

In effect, "losing touch" comes from being "too much" in touch.

Myself, I also think it's because whatever their failings, academics aren't dumb sh1ts.

Blake Stacey said...

Dang. You've just reminded me that I need to write up in more detail what Philip Zimbardo said to me about Bob Altemeyer's The Authoritarians (2007). Zimbardo's point (see the first link for details) ties in with a point that David Brin tried to make to the US Libertarian Party, namely that how we classify people politically depends not just on how they rank on a written test or, more generally, how they behave in isolation. We also need to know how people interact: who is willing to have a beer with whom, and will X be able to cooperate with Y in getting some task done? If a 1D axis or 2D social/economic plot doesn't predict these things, it's not much good.

Stuffier people than I call this "having a systems perspective", and fetishize how far they've moved from "reductionist" understanding of human behavior. . . .

Russell Blackford said...

Jon, I've sent you an invite to do it. I notice someone else has been added to my cloud of friends since the version I've posted, but with no change to the shape of the cloud at all. I'll update it at some point, but I expect we'll see nothing more than disagreements among different viewpoints that fall within the green square: i.e. various kinds of greens, liberals (in the American sense), social democrats, libertarian socialists, etc.

Scarily, if it's correct, the Political Compasss people claim that almost all American and Australian party politics goes on within the diametrically-opposite blue square.

Blake, I'd have a drink with someone who occupies a position in the purple square ... if they are close to the centreline economically and far enough south socially. A moderate large-L Libertarian like that, if such a person exists, would be just as close to me as all the libertarian socialists (or whatver) in the "cloud".

Funnily enough, though, no such people have shown up so far, and I wonder whether they exist. Even the most economically right-wing person in the cloud is left of centre (this person is also very socially libertarian, as you can see, so not far away from my red dot).

drjon said...

It's been around 3 years since I did it. So I went and did it agin.

My current scores:

Economic Left/Right: -7.50
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.23

My Eco has remained stable, but my Soc has drifted a couple of points south.

Hugo said...

I've heard it said that the questions have a left-bias... interesting idea. The suggestion came from a friend who believes himself to be more of a capitalist than the quiz made him out to be.

I'd love to see the questions rewritten to ask more or less the same thing, but with a more right-leaning spin. If I find time, I'll try to do so myself, though economics isn't exactly my field. (I'm at around -5.4/-5, FWIW.)

BT Murtagh said...

I guess I'm not going to be the trend-breaker here:

E-L/R: -6.88
S-L/A: -6.41

Some of the questions struck me as ambiguous or capable of multiple interpretations, and a "Neither agree nor disagree" option would have been nice for several.

I'll have a drink with anyone who's reasonably civil and not actually evil in their views; I usually only get in fistfights with Nazis and the like. I tend to call stupidity by its right name when I see it, though, so others may consider me insufficiently civil.

Russell Blackford said...

Updated, with no real change in the shape of the cloud.

Russell Blackford said...

And further updated ... now up to 23 people (me + 22 friends), but with no real change in the shape of the cloud from what was originally shown.