Saturday, October 28, 2006


Well, there I am at a three-way corner of left/libertarian/centrist on the orientation quiz linked by Greg Mankiw, who is more libertarian and less leftish than I. But I can't really fit myself into any of those. I'm a geek, that's all.

or maybe not?

Update Arnold Kling rephrases the questions:

  • (People should be allowed to advocate for terrorism, racial hatred, or any other unpopular cause) yes, of course.
  • Military service should be voluntary. There should be no draft (The wealthy and the powerful should be able to initiate wars, and pay others to fight them)Well, the wealthy should be able to contribute to advocacy organizations, and vote like everybody else.
  • There should be no laws regarding sex for consenting adults (If two teachers want to have sex in front of a classroom of elementary students that is fine, since the teachers are consenting adults).prosecution should not be for sex as such, but for impact on the kids.
  • Repeal laws prohibiting adult possession and use of drugs (Abolish the requirement to obtain a prescription to get medication)absolutely
  • There should be no National ID card (Illegal immigrants and terrorists should have their anonymity protected)Well, here I disagreed; there should be an national ID card, just a much weaker government which tracks it.
  • End "corporate welfare." No government handouts to business (Government will do nothing to try to help save small farms, achieve energy independence, provide affordable housing, or achieve other social goals)I don't think Pigovian taxes qualify as corporate welfare, but yes to most of that.
  • End government barriers to international free trade (End government barriers to free trade, including all barriers that restrict people coming into this country to work)people aren't goods. (But we should dramatically liberalize immigration laws, and almost anybody anywhere should be able to sign up for Barnett's SysAdmin corps with the promise of American citizenship after twenty years.)
  • Let people control their own retirement; privatize Social Security (Either stop paying benefits to people near or beyond retirement age, or pay those benefits and use borrowing or new taxes to finance the large expenditures necessary)Well, I don't fully agree; I partly agree.
  • Replace government welfare with private charity (Eliminate government welfare, and hope that private charity picks up the slack)I'd change the structure of welfare, but I don't think this replacement is a good idea.
  • Cut taxes and government spending by 50% or more (Eliminate public education, Medicaid, and Medicare)I'd change all of those almost beyond recognition, but it wouldn't save all that much money.
So I guess I have reason for not thinking of myself as a libertarian. Or leftist. Or centrist. (Or rightist, for that matter. :-)


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