Weighing In on the Nolan chart

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Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby OllieGarkey » Tue Mar 22, 2011 9:22 pm UTC

DID YOU KNOW?

The so-called nolan chart was not actually invented by Nolan. The "World's Smallest Political Quiz" is a silly piece of propaganda used to dupe the unsuspecting into supporting Libertarian ideas when they aren't really Libertarians. A close friend of mine thought she was a libertarian. She isn't. She's a Noam Chomsky worshiping Hippie Anarchist, and has been all along. She was propagandized into supporting the libertarian party, when she's far, far to the left of them.

Note: in political discourse, left-right has since the 19th century referred to a party's place on what libertarians would call the economic axis. Left would be collectivist, where as right would be individualist/corporatist depending on whose doing the naming. I am not willing to let libertarians redefine two centuries of political discussion for their own ideological purposes.

So let's grab the questions from "The World's Smallest Political Quiz" and begin.

Personal Issues
Government should not censor speech, press, media, or internet.
Military service should be voluntary. There should be no draft.
There should be no laws regarding sex for consenting adults.
Repeal laws prohibiting adult possession and use of drugs.
There should be no National ID card.

Economic Issues:
End "corporate welfare." No government handouts to business.
End government barriers to international free trade.
Let people control their own retirement; privatize Social Security.
Replace government welfare with private charity.
Cut taxes and government spending by 50% or more.


Except for those bold portions, almost every political party agrees with libertarians on 3-4 of these so called issues. Let's just take the two big American parties.

The Democratic Party:

On the civil liberties side, the progressive democrats agree with all of them except for the drug issue, and some of them even agree on that point.

On the economic side, the Democratic Party has done more for international free trade through NAFTA and other free trade agreements than any other party in US History. This was the first time there had been a major reduction or elimination of trade tariffs since the Wilson administration. Certainly, everyone left and right has been angry about the bank bailout, though Barney Frank and other democrats are arguing that we'll get that money back. Some day. They oppose privitizing social security and ending welfare, but many democrats want to cut the defense establishment in a big way, which means a 50% budget cut. So that's 3/5 economic, 4/5 individual, that result gives me:

Your PERSONAL issues Score is 80%
Your ECONOMIC issues Score is 60%
According to your answers, the political group that agrees with you most is...
LIBERTARIAN!


I, a progressive democrat, score as a libertarian over at the WorldsSmallestPoliticalQuiz.

I am not a libertarian. I believe in Organized Labor. I believe in collective bargaining. I believe in what the constitution says when that congress shall have the power to lay taxes, collect duties, etc, to promote the general welfare. Glenn Beck thinks I'm a socialist.

I believe in a government with a strong, functional social safety net. I want to raise the minimum wage so that work always pays more than welfare. But hey, that's just me.

Now lets talk about Republicans!

The Republican Party

As far as the personal issue score goes, they don't score as well as democrats.

By one.

Even a conservative, right wing, fundamentalist Christian republican would say they disagree with government censorship, BUT, they would oppose the legalization of drugs AND would be opposed to same sex marriage.

On the economic side, that short political quiz was the republican's 2010 economic platform. While they haven't actually done anything about their campaign promises, that list of questions may as well be a list of what they say they believe. The people who support the republican party would score well here.

(But hey, I gave myself the benefit of the doubt that we're scoring on what we SAY we believe rather than on what we actually do. Yeah, I'm disappointed just like the rest of you.)

What are my Generic Right Wing Fundamentalist Christian Tea Party supporter results?

Your PERSONAL issues Score is 60%
Your ECONOMIC issues Score is 100%
According to your answers, the political group that agrees with you most is...
LIBERTARIAN!


But he's not a libertarian! He thinks that America is a Christian nation! He thinks that brown people are trying to swarm over the border and reconquer the Mexican Cessation and have Anchor/Terror Babies! He thinks that gay people are choosing to act like sexual deviants and are going to come and rape his children in the night! I imagine!

That's from http://www.theadvocates.org/, Advocates for Self-Government, a libertarian group that hands out pamphlets to college organizations.

Anyone else here want to try their quiz? I bet you're ALSO a libertarian!

Surprise!

OH, and if you don't score well enough? You're a centrist! This is also complete bullshit. If you begin to believe that you are a centrist, it can be argued that you do not belong in either of the two major political parties. You're a moderate, ergo, neither of the parties are for you. It is in the interest of libertarians to promote the idea that you are a centrist, because the more people who don't belong to one of the two major political parties, the more likely the libertarian party is to gain the support of so called "centrists."

If you already identify with Democratic or Republican ideology, you won't vote libertarian, you'll vote republican or democrat. But if you're a moderate...

And while the test is stupid, the chart helps explain political ideology in a way that doesn't favor two parties, like everything else in american politics does. (You math guys should look up Duverger's Law, because it explains, mathematically, why our system favors two parties. I understand higher math, but I find it tedious, so don't ask me to explain Duverger's law, when I'm sure you'll have plenty of fun figuring it out yourselves.)

Oh, and Nolan's a plagiarist. Nolan's chart was published in 1971.

In 1969, Maurice Bryson and William McDill in The Rampart Journal of Individualist Thought (Summer 1968) published an article called "The Political Spectrum: A Bi-Dimensional Approach".

Nolan never gave credit to them.

The second chart, which did credit the first, was in "The Floodgates of Anarchy," a book by Stuart Christie and Albert Meltze. The chart is in chapter seven:

http://www.ditext.com/christie/chap7.html

What does this tell us about libertarians?

Well, it tells us that those libertarians who use the Nolan chart and "World's Smallest Political Quiz" are liars and propagandists, and that Nolan was a plagiarist who was happy to steal the ideas of other intellectuals to support his own ideology.

What a wonderful group of people.

Where do I sign up?

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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Dark567 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:25 am UTC

A couple things. First, you are right, the World's Smallest Political Quiz, will label people who don't really hold any libertarian ideas as libertarians. That said, I do think a multidimensional approach to looking at politics is needed(I would add a third dimension focusing on foreign policy too), just breaking things up into right and left confuses a lot of issues. Second, even though its propaganda, you seem to think very badly of libertarians who use it. Sure, it's bad. But I assure you that the Dems and Repubs have put out worse propaganda than a little quiz, and sometimes much more subtlety(and other times much more blatantly).
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby OllieGarkey » Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:56 am UTC

Dark567 wrote:Second, even though its propaganda, you seem to think very badly of libertarians who use it. Sure, it's bad. But I assure you that the Dems and Repubs have put out worse propaganda than a little quiz, and sometimes much more subtlety(and other times much more blatantly).


Oh I agree that multidimensional issues need multidimensional examination. Perhaps a three-dimensional chart to take into beliefs about foreign policy.

And I would agree that certain groups within the traditional left and right definitely use propaganda, though I try to shut down my side when they do it.

I'm just trying to call the libertarian bluff on this issue, and point out that Libertarians aren't trustworthy as a group. Even when you read libertarian thinkers like Von Mises you run into honesty issues.

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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby mmmcannibalism » Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:02 am UTC

note, I think the draft one should be bolded; I believe the republican party still agrees with a draft if a major war broke out'?

That being said, I never noticed the Nolan chart didn't address union issues.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby OllieGarkey » Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:09 am UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:note, I think the draft one should be bolded; I believe the republican party still agrees with a draft if a major war broke out'?


SOME of the republicans would, Rand and the Ronpaul probably wouldn't, most of the Democrats wouldn't, but some of them want a draft right now so that we don't send poor kids off to do foreign policy in the desert.

You're generally right, but there's a reason I didn't bold it because there isn't a clear consensus in either party.

I would argue that the nolan chart doesn't mention union issiues because even libertarians don't agree. Some think that it is an individuals right to join an organization for collective bargaining.

They don't want to complicate libertarianism, they want you to join the party so that they get elected.

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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Dark567 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:24 am UTC

OllieGarkey wrote:I'm just trying to call the libertarian bluff on this issue, and point out that Libertarians aren't trustworthy as a group. Even when you read libertarian thinkers like Von Mises you run into honesty issues.
So Dems and Repubs aren't trustworthy as a group? How about liberal thinkers like Keynes or Galbraith? Or Conservatives like Buckley?

....I mean sure there are unscrupulous people in any group, but quite frankly I don't think libertarians are really any worse. If anything I would guess that they are probably slightly more honest, maybe not with themselves, but with what they plan on doing. Most seem to be pretty forward with their ideology and beliefs, not really attempting to hide their agenda. I really don't see the Dems and Repubs doing the same*, they generally come across to me as much more Machiavellian, willing to do whatever they need to in order to gain and hold on to power.

*Probably because they have more to lose, because they actually have power.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby OllieGarkey » Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:43 am UTC

Dark567 wrote:....I mean sure there are unscrupulous people in any group, but quite frankly I don't think libertarians are really any worse. If anything I would guess that they are probably slightly more honest, maybe not with themselves, but with what they plan on doing. Most seem to be pretty forward with their ideology and beliefs, not really attempting to hide their agenda.


First of all, I think most of the thinkers you mentioned, liberal or conservative, are trustworthy.

I don't think Von Mises is. I don't think he's intellectually honest. When the CATO institute kicked out the liberaltarians: http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_ ... raltarians for ideological reasons, they started to look more sinister to me. Before researching them I would have agreed that they were, as a group, honest.

Not so anymore.

I never claimed that the Dems or Repubs were paragons of virtue, and you're right that their hands aren't clean either. What I'm trying to point out is that the Libertarian Party is just as dishonest as any other ideological group.

But in addition to the politicians who always have agendas, whose arguments always need critical evidence-based examination, I've become suspicious of people like Von Mises. I've heard it said that Mises once stormed out of a forum with other economists after calling them all socialists. I can't find a source for that, so it may be apocryphal, but after reading Von Mises myself, I would argue that he isn't being intellectually honest. You must accept his assumptions, he argues, without really providing evidence for them. This is despite the fact that all evidence is contrary to his assumptions about things such as the gold standard and independent banking.

I could write a longer post about that if people want it sourced, I'm keeping it brief so we don't get bogged down.

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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Glass Fractal » Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:54 am UTC

OllieGarkey wrote:I never claimed that the Dems or Repubs were paragons of virtue, and you're right that their hands aren't clean either. What I'm trying to point out is that the Libertarian Party is just as dishonest as any other ideological group.


My preferred criticism is that their platform include things that are more like the plots of Captain Planet villains than political parties.

My favorite is section 2.2 which includes privatization of America's air supply.
http://www.lp.org/platform

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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby drkslvr » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:38 am UTC

Glass Fractal wrote:My favorite is section 2.2 which includes privatization of America's air supply.
http://www.lp.org/platform

My mind is reeling over what I just read. People actually think that makes sense? That B follows from A? That privatizing the air is a good way to prevent air pollution? :shock:

I think I know what we need to prioritize over the next 10 years or so: Education. The fact that Americans find this kind of thing reasonable is proof of how badly our educational system has failed.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Dark567 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:12 am UTC

It doesn't say anything about privatizing air. It just claims private businesses and organizations have more of a vested interest in the preservation of their maintaining of their natural resources than the government does, or rather that private land owners have more of a interest in protecting air than government. It doesn't suggest literally privatizing air.
2.2 wrote:We support a clean and healthy environment and sensible use of our natural resources. Private landowners and conservation groups have a vested interest in maintaining natural resources. Pollution and misuse of resources cause damage to our ecosystem. Governments, unlike private businesses, are unaccountable for such damage done to our environment and have a terrible track record when it comes to environmental protection. Protecting the environment requires a clear definition and enforcement of individual rights in resources like land, water, air, and wildlife. Free markets and property rights stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems. We realize that our planet's climate is constantly changing, but environmental advocates and social pressure are the most effective means of changing public behavior.

My understanding of the libertarian position, is that if someone pollutes the air, and it harms your land/business/you, you should have the right to sue the polluters as much as possible.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby OllieGarkey » Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:32 pm UTC

It's a waffle, he's exaggerating but

free markets and property rights stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems.


Ultimately means that people can get away with murder.

Right to sue doesn't mean guaranteed renumeration of wrongs. Especially if the company in question can hire better lawyers. (Protip: The company in question can hire better lawyers.)

We have the right to sue right now. You can sue anyone for anything at any time. That's the law.

The reason green organizations don't use lawsuits, they have the right to but the reason they dont, is that lawsuits are expensive and won't be succesful.

So what they're essentially saying is that the system that isn't being used right now because it won't work is the system that they want.

It's insidious.

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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Glass Fractal » Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:44 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:It doesn't say anything about privatizing air.


2.2 wrote:Protecting the environment requires a clear definition and enforcement of individual rights in resources like land, water, air, and wildlife.


The libertarian position about individual rights regarding land is that it should be privately owned.
The libertarian position about individual rights regarding water is that it should be privately owned.
The libertarian position about individual rights regarding animals is that they should be privately owned.

The libertarian position about individual rights regarding EVERYTHING is that it should be privately owned. It's the basis of the entire philosophy. They have to build in arbitrary exceptions whenever someone points out places where this would be stupid. The American Libertarian Party just happens to mention air so it's a good place to start pointing out the flaws in their version of freedom. Trust me on this, if the US suddenly started going massively libertarian the Ronpaul and his friends would complain about the socialized air supply and the free rider parasites benefiting from the plants in national parks.

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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:47 pm UTC

I think you're unfairly and incorrectly demonizing and straw manning the libertarian position. Like, a lot.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Glass Fractal » Wed Mar 23, 2011 3:32 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I think you're unfairly and incorrectly demonizing and straw manning the libertarian position. Like, a lot.


So what is the libertarian argument in favor of socialized air?

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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Mar 23, 2011 3:34 pm UTC

I dunno, do all socialists believe in stripping individuality and in obeying the all knowing and loving State?
The libertarian position on natural resources isn't that they should all be owned by the first capitalist to jump to it. If you want to do even an iota of thought exercise on the matter, it'd be easy to come to the conclusion that libertarians would view protecting the environment, and thus, it's resources, something that no individual has a right to singularly own. I.e., if a village relies on a river for it's drinking water, it is not my right to use that river to dump my factory waste into, because I am violating their right to personal freedom. If I want to dump my waste into said river, I have to pay them or reimburse them the value of the river.

I.e., part of thinking that individual rights are sacrosanct is the understanding that you cannot violate someone else's rights. This is something that anti-libertarians always forget in an effort to demonize the ethos.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Glass Fractal » Wed Mar 23, 2011 3:39 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I dunno, do all socialists believe in stripping individuality and in obeying the all knowing and loving State?


Their party platform doesn't mention it and "obedience" isn't the central tenet of their philosophy so I doubt it. They could be lying though.

Izawwlgood wrote:The libertarian position on natural resources isn't that they should all be owned by the first capitalist to jump to it. If you want to do even an iota of thought exercise on the matter, it'd be easy to come to the conclusion that libertarians would view protecting the environment, and thus, it's resources, something that no individual has a right to singularly own. I.e., if a village relies on a river for it's drinking water, it is not my right to use that river to dump my factory waste into, because I am violating their right to personal freedom. If I want to dump my waste into said river, I have to pay them or reimburse them the value of the river.

I.e., part of thinking that individual rights are sacrosanct is the understanding that you cannot violate someone else's rights. This is something that anti-libertarians always forget in an effort to demonize the ethos.


I guess you could pretend there aren't millions of contradictory rights. That would be pretty silly though.

In the village example the "violating anothers rights" argument is impossible to resolve. The person with the waste has the natural, fundamental, and unassailable right to determine what he does with his property (that's extremely central to Libertarianism). The people drinking from the river have the natural, fundamental, and unassailable right for it to not be poisoned with waste. If he dumps it in the river their rights are trampled on. If they tell him he can't dump it in the river his rights are trampled on.

How do we choose who to side with?
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Mar 23, 2011 3:57 pm UTC

I dunno. No systems perfect, and every system has it's 'but human nature breaks this!' aspect. My inclination is to side with the people, and require the factory owner provide some form of compensation for the usage of the river. Perhaps by paying the value of water and river usage.

In most of Rand's books, you see examples of this sort of thing. Workers in her protagonists factories are all amply and reasonably paid. So yes, you could make the argument that in a libertarian free market system, people would crush the working man because they could and it was in their best interest. But that's not really what the ethos is advocating, when it says everyone's rights are immutable. The question, as with all systems, is where you draw the line.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby zmatt » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:34 pm UTC

Glass Fractal wrote:I guess you could pretend there aren't millions of contradictory rights. That would be pretty silly though.

In the village example the "violating anothers rights" argument is impossible to resolve. The person with the waste has the natural, fundamental, and unassailable right to determine what he does with his property (that's extremely central to Libertarianism). The people drinking from the river have the natural, fundamental, and unassailable right for it to not be poisoned with waste. If he dumps it in the river their rights are trampled on. If they tell him he can't dump it in the river his rights are trampled on.

How do we choose who to side with?


strawman. Either that or you don't understand the idea of individual rights. Put simply you can do what you want as long as you don't infringe on others rights. That means you can for example go evil kenivel and jump a bike over buses, but you cant drive down the road the wrong way. You can dump chemical in your yard but you can't let them leech into the ground water and contaminate everyone's water supply. You can have as much freedom as you want up until you limit someone else's. I don't see what is so difficult to understand.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Glass Fractal » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:59 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I dunno. No systems perfect, and every system has it's 'but human nature breaks this!' aspect. My inclination is to side with the people, and require the factory owner provide some form of compensation for the usage of the river. Perhaps by paying the value of water and river usage.


So . . . regulation. Neat but anti-libertarian.

Izawwlgood wrote:In most of Rand's books, you see examples of this sort of thing. Workers in her protagonists factories are all amply and reasonably paid. So yes, you could make the argument that in a libertarian free market system, people would crush the working man because they could and it was in their best interest. But that's not really what the ethos is advocating, when it says everyone's rights are immutable. The question, as with all systems, is where you draw the line.


The ethos matters less to me than the results. "Crushing the working man is okay but maybe think about not doing it." is hardly different from "You should crush the working man." when you also construct a market place where the people not crushing the working man will fail.

zmatt wrote:
Glass Fractal wrote:I guess you could pretend there aren't millions of contradictory rights. That would be pretty silly though.

In the village example the "violating anothers rights" argument is impossible to resolve. The person with the waste has the natural, fundamental, and unassailable right to determine what he does with his property (that's extremely central to Libertarianism). The people drinking from the river have the natural, fundamental, and unassailable right for it to not be poisoned with waste. If he dumps it in the river their rights are trampled on. If they tell him he can't dump it in the river his rights are trampled on.

How do we choose who to side with?


strawman. Either that or you don't understand the idea of individual rights. Put simply you can do what you want as long as you don't infringe on others rights. That means you can for example go evil kenivel and jump a bike over buses, but you cant drive down the road the wrong way. You can dump chemical in your yard but you can't let them leech into the ground water and contaminate everyone's water supply. You can have as much freedom as you want up until you limit someone else's. I don't see what is so difficult to understand.


But why are those people allowed to trample on my freedoms to drive how I want and contaminate what I want? Surely my rights matter. Their right to make laws ends where it restricts my right to drive and contaminate things as I wish.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:07 pm UTC

Glass Fractal wrote:So . . . regulation. Neat but anti-libertarian.

Er, that's not what I suggested, but ok, an interesting extrapolation; Government should exist to protect the rights on the individual. That means if someone decides to squash the rights of the individual, by, say, excessively polluting a water way, the government would step in.

Glass Fractal wrote:The ethos matters less to me than the results. "Crushing the working man is okay but maybe think about not doing it." is hardly different from "You should crush the working man." when you also construct a market place where the people not crushing the working man will fail.

I'm not sure you've ever read anything about libertarianism. The ethos is "Individuals have a right to personal freedoms and the right to their property". That is what libertarianism is. If you think the only way for a capitalist system to succeed is by crushing the working man, than you aren't picking a fight with libertarianism, you're creating a strawman against free markets. Also, free markets aren't only a libertarian concept, fyi.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:21 pm UTC

First: I identify as a libertarian. Unfortunately lots of other libertarians make me ashamed to do so. I am not a conspiracy theorist, and consider white supremacism to not only be among the dumbest perspectives possible to take, but to be entirely contradictory to an ideology which values the individual. Also, I find the recent trend of corporatist religious fundamentalists identifying themselves as libertarians as extremely worrying, because, just like white supremacism, neither is compatible with valuing individuals.

Libertarianism is a vast ideological territory. Noam Chomsky and the Ronpaul are both libertarians. It includes left-anarchism (Libertarian Socialism, in Noam Chomsky's case) and anarcho-capitalism (you will only find these people on the internet) and everything in-between, because it is centered on the personal liberty (and life in general), rather than pessimistically restricting it. Right-libertarianism is for the most part a recent, America-centered phenomenon.

Glass Fractal wrote:
2.2 wrote:Protecting the environment requires a clear definition and enforcement of individual rights in resources like land, water, air, and wildlife.


The libertarian position about individual rights regarding land is that it should be privately owned.
The libertarian position about individual rights regarding water is that it should be privately owned.
The libertarian position about individual rights regarding animals is that they should be privately owned.

I don't know how you get " clear definition and enforcement of individual rights to mean ownership. It strikes me as meaning "if you pump nasty chemicals into the air/water/soil/etc., you are violating the rights of others and should be made to stop."
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby omgryebread » Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:29 pm UTC

Glass Fractal wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:I dunno. No systems perfect, and every system has it's 'but human nature breaks this!' aspect. My inclination is to side with the people, and require the factory owner provide some form of compensation for the usage of the river. Perhaps by paying the value of water and river usage.


So . . . regulation. Neat but anti-libertarian.
Nope. For one, it's not regulation, it's enforcement of property rights, which are usually distinguished. If you stole my car, the criminal justice system would help me get it back and prosecute you for it's theft. That's not anti-libertarian.

The question is who owns it. Philosophically, libertarians are divided between left-libertarians, who say that everyone owns certain resources, in this case, water supply. So the factory owner does own it, but he needs the consent of the other owners to pollute it.

Right-libertarians have a first-come-first-serve attitude. Though most would still recognize the downstream village's ownership of that part of the river, and so polluting it would violate their rights. The big difference between the two philosophies comes more from natural resources like minerals, or stuff like broadcast frequencies.



So basically, it's not regulation at all. It's enforcement of property rights, which is extremely important to libertarians, and pretty much anyone on the right.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby jestingrabbit » Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:34 am UTC

I'm sure that libertarians are both virtuous and wise, and debased and ignorant: they're a group of people and so not entirely homogeneously anything much. As this is a thread about the Nolan chart, we could maybe talk about the methodology behind the chart and not its effect on the number of people who perceive themselves as libertarians, nor the conduct of libertarians compared with other political groups.

I think that there are several things wrong with the Nolan chart, and similar online tests (I'm looking at you political compass). Firstly, it presupposes some axes are meaningful and useful and secondly, it represents those axes as being perpendicular and independent of one another.

Sure, the axes didn't come from nowhere, they are our inheritance from centuries of political theorizing and philosophizing and millenia of the actual governance of human civilizations. However, just because a group of people talk about something in a particular way doesn't make their way of talking about it right, or more useful than other approaches. In particular, there are several political issues that have arisen in this last century that aren't traditionally explained by these axes, environmentalism being the most important in many countries. So, rather than just accept these axes, I'd suggest that a more rigorous approach would be to actually form a list of statements of political positions on specific issues, from the speeches of current, local politicians or recent reports of journalists or other social commentators, perhaps twenty or a hundred statements in all. Then have people state how much they agree or disagree with a particular statement. You could then do a proper statistical analysis that would tell you what the shape of the data is and how it can best be described, as clusters or as an approximately two dimensional blob with particular axes, or whatever. To classify individuals you could repeatedly ask them to describe the relative value, truth and/or importance, of two of the statements. That way, you haven't assumed how to analyse political positions, you've let the populace describe their positions to you. You haven't presupposed that particular axes exist and with particular relationships, you've found how the data is actually arranged. You've objectively discovered which axes are meaningful and usefully describe political positions.

My second point relates to how the axes are positioned, both from a theoretical and practical perspective. Every time I see the political compass I can't help but notice that they place the vast majority of actual candidates on a pretty linear subset of one quadrant of the compass. Rather than put the origin of their axes on or around that locus of actual candidates, they put it off to one side. So, practically, their categorisation has little descriptive power for real life candidates. Theoretically, I question to what extent issues are either social or economic, and not both. To pick a fairly current issue, consider the possibility of a government healthcare guarantee. Providing that has both social impacts and economic impacts: people with chronic or acute illnesses are more likely to be able to fully participate in the society, but it will require funding via taxation, and it will alter the employment situation by increasing the pool of available labor (as well as having other effects in America particularly). Several policies that are identified with the "left" side of politics have clear social and economic impacts: unemployment benefits and disability benefits being perhaps the most obvious policies to put in this category.

So just to summarise: why are these axes the right ones? why are they perpendicular? and where is the origin? There seems to be little to support the choices that Nolan suggests, with past theory being the clearest reason. If you really want to change the way that we think about politics, as the political compass site suggests it is trying to do, starting with pre-existing frameworks might hamper your efforts in the long term.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Zamfir » Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:33 pm UTC

@jestingrabbit, I don't even think past theorizing or experience does much to support a Nolan chart. After all, a Nolan chart is explicitly intended as a modification to the common wisdom. With the common wisdom that a single left-right axis is the most important factor to understand politics, and that other factors tend to be second-order effects that pop up and down without a clear order of importance

Nolan doesn't add the idea that there are actually more things important in politics than just left vs right. Everyone knows that. The claim is that collectivist-indivualist is the second-most important factor needed to understand politics, plus (like you say) a claim that this factor is largely independent, orthogonal of the left-right axis. But that is hardly the obvious outcome of past theory.

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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Dark567 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:41 pm UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:Theoretically, I question to what extent issues are either social or economic, and not both. To pick a fairly current issue, consider the possibility of a government healthcare guarantee. Providing that has both social impacts and economic impacts: people with chronic or acute illnesses are more likely to be able to fully participate in the society, but it will require funding via taxation, and it will alter the employment situation by increasing the pool of available labor (as well as having other effects in America particularly). Several policies that are identified with the "left" side of politics have clear social and economic impacts: unemployment benefits and disability benefits being perhaps the most obvious policies to put in this category.
I think when social issues is labeled on the chart, it particularly means non-economic social issues. All economic issues are by definition also social issues. There are on the other hand a large number of social issues, that are really only tangentially related to economic issues. I would say a better name for the other axis would be something like "moral issues", but a lot of people like to moralize economics so that doesn't necessarily make sense either.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Zamfir » Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:08 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:I think when social issues is labeled on the chart, it particularly means non-economic social issues. All economic issues are by definition also social issues. There are on the other hand a large number of social issues, that are really only tangentially related to economic issues. I would say a better name for the other axis would be something like "moral issues", but a lot of people like to moralize economics so that doesn't necessarily make sense either.


There are two different ways to look at a chart like this, especially the second axis. It can be seen as a descriptive claim about reality: the pre-defined concept on the second axis happens in reality to be roughly independent of the predefined concept on the first axis. Or the chart can be seen as the definition of a new, potentially useful concept. For example something like "social issues not already covered by the left-right axis", so the axes are othogonal by definition.

If you do the second, as you propose, it's perhaps best not to give it a name that is already in use for another concept. If you call it "moral issues", you easily end up again with a descriptive claim, that opinions on moral issues are independent from a left-right (or economic left-right) stance.

if you choose to do the same, you have to wonder whether this new concept actually useful. Is it easily observable? Can you make very different tests where people still show up in a similar place on this axis? Are there many issues that become clearer to understand, if you try to disentangle left-vs-right out of them?

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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby torgos » Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:57 pm UTC

OllieGarkey wrote:
But in addition to the politicians who always have agendas, whose arguments always need critical evidence-based examination, I've become suspicious of people like Von Mises. I've heard it said that Mises once stormed out of a forum with other economists after calling them all socialists.


This story was related by Milton Friedman, and occurred at the first 'Mont Pellerin' meeting(essentially a "classically liberal" think tank or meeting group; the first meeting had, amongst others, Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Karl Popper in attendance) when the topic of a progressive income tax came up, and there was a general sentiment in the room that it was justifiable.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Dark567 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 5:51 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:if you choose to do the same, you have to wonder whether this new concept actually useful. Is it easily observable? Can you make very different tests where people still show up in a similar place on this axis? Are there many issues that become clearer to understand, if you try to disentangle left-vs-right out of them?
I guess, looking historically, as far as countries go, I see at least another dimension, that the left-right spectrum doesn't really seem to capture. The leftist soviet union is substantially different than less authoritarian modern leftist countries and the rightist Nazi Germany also seem to be substantial different than the rightest Hong Kong. At least in the US, I feel like the left-right diagram works for most politicians because they are somewhat forced into it as part of the party system. If we were to start describing non-politicians, the (semi-)independence of the axes would be more identifiable. I think at least previous examples of authoritarianism show that its relatively independent of the left v. right dichotomy, and warrants another axis. Upon second thought I probably should have described it as "political freedoms" instead of "moral issues", as I intended to include free speech etc. in it, and I think it better describes the idea that you can both be authoritarianism and left v. right are pretty independent historically, if not with todays politicians.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Cryopyre » Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:46 am UTC

Libertarian as a historical term just mean individualistic and anti-oppression. In America, it has come to mean libertarian-capitalism which is a gross contradiction of terms, seeing as how capitalism is as libertarian as feudalism. The problem with the Nolan chart is it labels capitalism as on the positive side of freedom. I assume this is because the phrase "free market" has the word "free" in it, I guess the DPRK is also democratic. All jokes aside, capitalism is a contradiction to the ideas behind libertarianism because the system of capitalism is built to allow coercion of people. Just because you can work your way up to the position as oppressor does not make it unoppressive, (very limited) class mobility does not mean freedom because your system still requires an oppressed class.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby omgryebread » Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:59 am UTC

Cryopyre wrote:Libertarian as a historical term just mean individualistic and anti-oppression. In America, it has come to mean libertarian-capitalism which is a gross contradiction of terms, seeing as how capitalism is as libertarian as feudalism. The problem with the Nolan chart is it labels capitalism as on the positive side of freedom. I assume this is because the phrase "free market" has the word "free" in it, I guess the DPRK is also democratic. All jokes aside, capitalism is a contradiction to the ideas behind libertarianism because the system of capitalism is built to allow coercion of people. Just because you can work your way up to the position as oppressor does not make it unoppressive, (very limited) class mobility does not mean freedom because your system still requires an oppressed class.
Wow, no. You're the one hijacking the term libertarian here. Yes, they are socialist libertarians, but they aren't the only ones who can lay claim to that term.

Philosophical libertarianism is incompatible with socialism, though left-libertarianism has a socialist aspect to it's holding of some resources.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Cryopyre » Sat Mar 26, 2011 2:41 am UTC

omgryebread wrote:
Cryopyre wrote:Libertarian as a historical term just mean individualistic and anti-oppression. In America, it has come to mean libertarian-capitalism which is a gross contradiction of terms, seeing as how capitalism is as libertarian as feudalism. The problem with the Nolan chart is it labels capitalism as on the positive side of freedom. I assume this is because the phrase "free market" has the word "free" in it, I guess the DPRK is also democratic. All jokes aside, capitalism is a contradiction to the ideas behind libertarianism because the system of capitalism is built to allow coercion of people. Just because you can work your way up to the position as oppressor does not make it unoppressive, (very limited) class mobility does not mean freedom because your system still requires an oppressed class.
Wow, no. You're the one hijacking the term libertarian here. Yes, they are socialist libertarians, but they aren't the only ones who can lay claim to that term.

Philosophical libertarianism is incompatible with socialism, though left-libertarianism has a socialist aspect to it's holding of some resources.


The first Libertarians (such as Proudhon) were socialists. It's important to recognize that most socialists are not state-socialists. Most are democratic socialists or anarcho-syndicalists (socialist libertarians). Socialist libertarians still believe in the power of markets, however, they also believe that on the local level businesse have to be democratically controlled. Hell, socialist-libertarians have had their own functional governments in Spain and Israel (Which were rooted out by fascists and the current Israeli government).

But, anyways, capitalism is just incompatible. Capitalism create hierarchies which are inherently unequal.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby omgryebread » Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:07 am UTC

Cryopyre wrote:The first Libertarians (such as Proudhon) were socialists. It's important to recognize that most socialists are not state-socialists. Most are democratic socialists or anarcho-syndicalists (socialist libertarians). Socialist libertarians still believe in the power of markets, however, they also believe that on the local level businesse have to be democratically controlled. Hell, socialist-libertarians have had their own functional governments in Spain and Israel (Which were rooted out by fascists and the current Israeli government).

But, anyways, capitalism is just incompatible. Capitalism create hierarchies which are inherently unequal.


Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy wrote:Libertarianism, in the strict sense, is the moral view that agents initially fully own themselves and have certain moral powers to acquire property rights in external things.
Obviously, no definition is going to be definitive, especially for a movement that spans philosophy and politics. Yes, the first political libertarians were socialist.

But assuming libertarianism is about self-ownership, there's nothing at all that requires equality, or even equality of opportunity. In the extreme sense, a totally poor person, with no material possessions still owns themselves. If we do not compel that person to do anything, then we are libertarian, no matter the opportunities we give (or don't give) them. Equality of opportunity requires taking something from someone, which is a violation of their self-ownership and ownership of their property. Which is why you find very few strict libertarians.

Political liberalism is different, yeah. And you can have socialists there, though yeah, they couldn't be state socialists. But I don't see how socialist libertarians are that different from anarcho-capitalists. Both support full freedom of action, they do differ on ownership. But the worker in anarcho-capitalism is still free not to work (that means he starves, but that doesn't really violate anything in political libertarianism as it's commonly understood.)

Edit: Re the Chart, I score liberal on the smallest political quiz, but I hate most licensing schemes (why would a barber need a license, wtf?), prefer school vouchers, rather than public schools, support removing zoning laws, support a broad and active foreign policy backed by a powerful military, and a lot of other things anathema to liberals. Though I have to admit that I do consider myself liberal, somewhere between progressive and classically liberal.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby zmatt » Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:50 am UTC

I think for the sake of this thread we are referring to the American Libertarian party, who are the ones who tend to use these political quizzes the most. In that sense then they are not socialists. They believe in the welfare of all men, but that it is best administered through charities and private donation and government is very inefficient about it. The American Libertarian party has an official stance on just about every major political issue save for a few morally and philosophically ambiguous points such as abortion.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby pizzazz » Sat Mar 26, 2011 4:05 am UTC

In regard to the original post, I don't think your results necessarily mean the test is worthless; rather, I think it showcases how strongly concepts of individual liberty are ingrained in modern American politics (ie there are a lot of libertarian ideals in both parties, in fact in the very founding nature of the US).

The quiz itself does seem lacking in detail, as they only give you five issues on each side. However, your characterization
But he's not a libertarian! He thinks that America is a Christian nation! He thinks that brown people are trying to swarm over the border and reconquer the Mexican Cessation and have Anchor/Terror Babies! He thinks that gay people are choosing to act like sexual deviants and are going to come and rape his children in the night! I imagine!

is blatantly unfair and wrong. You appear to be using Republican, Conservative religious Tea Party, and the above garbage interchangably, which is just nonsense. Perhaps you should "imagine" yourself a better newspaper.

(I'm also not sure how Nolan's supposed plagiarism is relevant...).

Libertarianism is not at all incompatible with capitalism. Libertarianism doesn't rely on equality of wealth or talents or anything else. Moreover, if not capitalism, I'm not sure *what* economic system would be compatible with libertarianism.
It isn't necessarily incompatible with socialism, if that socialism comes from an agreement among the people, and is not forced (if you enter into a contract with others, the enforcement of that contract is not anti-libertarian, so if you enter freely, that's still libertarian).

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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby iChef » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:34 am UTC

There need to be two additional axes. One showing concentration of power (monarchy vs. pure democracy) and foreign policy (isolationist vs. open free trade). I really can't take the Nolan chart seriously until it is accurately graphed on a hypercube.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:37 am UTC

iChef wrote:There need to be two additional axes. One showing concentration of power (monarchy vs. pure democracy) and foreign policy (isolationist vs. open free trade). I really can't take the Nolan chart seriously until it is accurately graphed on a hypercube.

I would love to see that chart properly expressed.

Also, I don't see isolationist vs free trade as proper opposites (interventionism would be the proper one; free trade's proper opposite would be protectionism, and the opposite of democracy could be autocracy or technocracy; in the end it depends on the general population having no power to make decisions); yes I am being partially inspired by the political systems of Paradox games).

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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Glass Fractal » Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:40 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Glass Fractal wrote:So . . . regulation. Neat but anti-libertarian.

Er, that's not what I suggested, but ok, an interesting extrapolation; Government should exist to protect the rights on the individual. That means if someone decides to squash the rights of the individual, by, say, excessively polluting a water way, the government would step in.


That water way is owned by the polluter. The government involvement is infringing on his personal freedoms and property rights. Sure it's probably saving lives but that's giving up a little freedom for a little security, which I'm told means they deserve neither.

Izawwlgood wrote:
Glass Fractal wrote:The ethos matters less to me than the results. "Crushing the working man is okay but maybe think about not doing it." is hardly different from "You should crush the working man." when you also construct a market place where the people not crushing the working man will fail.

I'm not sure you've ever read anything about libertarianism. The ethos is "Individuals have a right to personal freedoms and the right to their property".


Okay, sure, that's the mythology. So what?

The ethos of socialism is insurance of some level of equality and the ability to put ones rights into practice, but I think I was you who deemed it "psychotic". The ethos of Nazism was we should save Germany from evil oppressors. The ethos of theocracy is that the nation should be run by a perfect and all known being. The ethos of authoritarianism is that we should be saved from stupid, crazy mobs.

Ethos means nothing, especially when it's carefully built on vagaries like freedom and rights.

omgryebread wrote:Right-libertarians have a first-come-first-serve attitude. Though most would still recognize the downstream village's ownership of that part of the river, and so polluting it would violate their rights. The big difference between the two philosophies comes more from natural resources like minerals, or stuff like broadcast frequencies.


And telling the polluter what he can do with his stuff violates his rights. We're right back at contradictory rights. They can't stop him from dumping without violating his rights. He can't dump without violating theirs. So in practice all that matters is who is more powerful.

As for socialized resources, I don't think I have to explain why Libertarians (American ones at least) will never consider that.

Sheikh al-Majaneen wrote:
Glass Fractal wrote:
2.2 wrote:Protecting the environment requires a clear definition and enforcement of individual rights in resources like land, water, air, and wildlife.


The libertarian position about individual rights regarding land is that it should be privately owned.
The libertarian position about individual rights regarding water is that it should be privately owned.
The libertarian position about individual rights regarding animals is that they should be privately owned.

I don't know how you get " clear definition and enforcement of individual rights to mean ownership. It strikes me as meaning "if you pump nasty chemicals into the air/water/soil/etc., you are violating the rights of others and should be made to stop."


I'd be more inclined to believe you if Libertarians didn't hate pro-environmental regulations. Remember, killing people incidentally doesn't initiate force, so it's okay. Stopping someone from killing people incidentally does initiate force, so it's bad.

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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:55 pm UTC

Glass Fractal, when the entirety of your argument is based on strawmans, you should reconsider your argument.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby Dark567 » Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:13 pm UTC

Glass Fractal wrote:That water way is owned by the polluter. The government involvement is infringing on his personal freedoms and property rights. Sure it's probably saving lives but that's giving up a little freedom for a little security, which I'm told means they deserve neither.
Yeah, but what happens when that polluted water ends up on my property? You end up infringing on my property rights, which is exactly where the government is supposed to step in under libertarianism. Libertarianism doesn't give you the right to violate someone else's right.

Glass Fractal wrote:I'd be more inclined to believe you if Libertarians didn't hate pro-environmental regulations. Remember, killing people incidentally doesn't initiate force, so it's okay. Stopping someone from killing people incidentally does initiate force, so it's bad.
They might not like regulations, but its not they want to continue allow pollution. They would prefer much stronger tort law, and open up toxic torts to also apply to property.
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Re: Weighing In on the Nolan chart

Postby HungryHobo » Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:21 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Glass Fractal, when the entirety of your argument is based on strawmans, you should reconsider your argument.


But strawmen are so much easier to attack.
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