Now it seems even more fitting I'm a Pink Floyd fan...

>> Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Everybody's doing it. It looks like Jim started it. And Ilya, Michelle and Janiece have followed suit. So how could I not join in? Do a little online poll, get a little picture for the blog showing my political leanings.

Let me tell you, before we get to the big show, what I expected, oblivious goof that I am. I really did sort of expect that the poll was place me sort of in a centrist-ish position, a little left of some of my friends, but still within yodeling distance. After all, while I certainly favor some economic regulation of business, I think most of the people I associate with--even the conservative ones--are fellow civil libertarians. We like the free speech and don't think the government should poke into our private lives. And anyway, I'm a helluva lot more moderate now than I was in high school....


Radical Liberal on political map
You want government out of your personal life. On the other hand, you want more government in your economic life. This puts you closest to either the Green Party or the radical wing of the Democratic Party. You might even consider yourself a socialist, or a “true” communist (as opposed to the “state capitalists” who ran the old Soviet Union). Approximately 3% of the takers of this quiz scored in this area, 18% for all liberals outside the centrist circle.


Well. Okay. Maybe not a helluva lot....

But a little. No, really. I've mellowed. No, I have.

My tongue, my cheek. I'm proud to be a lefty. I'm proud to be a part of an intellectual and moral tradition that includes union marchers and civil rights leaders. Those were my people who got the forty hour work week and fought Franco's fascists in Spain and who got themselves shot and left in ditches for registering people to vote in the South. I'm proud of that tradition, and I'm proud to be a liberal and I don't care who knows it. It became a dirty word in the mouths of American conservatives during the '80s because people like Nixon had bankrupted any claim right-wing politicians had to the moral high ground, so their propagandists had to take a Newspeakish tack because they weren't going to win by convincing everybody that the rich ought to be richer for some damn reason. Damn straight I'm a liberal--that's our word, brother, and I'm taking it back.

Even to the small stuff, you know: that bad little pun in the title--"pink" as in lefty, "Pink" as in Floyd; Roger Waters is a self-avowed socialist and David Gilmour keeps giving away houses. Hey, I've said it before, we lefties have better music

But I digress. The quiz. The one that seems to prove I'm left of Castro or something--I won't argue with the results (they flatter me, frankly), but it's a helluva dumb sort of quiz. Take the question they ask about censorship: "Should the FCC regulate the content of broadcast television?" And the first answer is "Yes! The government should own the air waves. We need a system like the BBC." That's two different issues, you know? It's one thing to say the government ought to own the airwaves and another to say they ought to regulate content, or how. After all, the airwaves are a limited resource, and I think it's sensible for the government to hold the airwaves as a public trust and to dole out the frequencies so we don't have every asshole in the country jamming every frequency. At the same time, it should be no surprise that my answer to their question was in fact their last, "leftiest" answer, "No! Any government censorship is intolerable. Give broadcasters the same freedoms of expression enjoyed by publishers of books and magazines--including how much sex, violence and crude language." Of course it's not entirely unreasonable to suggest that perhaps it ought to be a condition of leasing or assigning frequencies that the radio spectrum ought to be used for the public good--including at least some level of family friendliness and responsibility to the public; but the "moderate" answer you can pick on the quiz, "Yes. The current level of FCC power is about right," is clearly wrong. The FCC, as far as anybody has been able to determine, is run by asstards.

That's a persistent issue throughout the quiz. I believe the Second Amendment should be preserved, but also that it can be preserved with some level of regulation (this is a topic for a future post, but I'll just say that the only Constitutional right anybody seems to think is absolute is the Second--your rights to Free Speech are curtailed by libel law and your right to be Free From Search curtailed by exigent circumstances, but to hell with you if you even hint that maybe conceal-and-carry was kind of a retarded idea); none of the answers provided fit the regulatory schemes I might entertain, so I picked the middle one. I chose an extreme on the government spending question because I felt I had to, not because there aren't some programs that I think are indispensible but could be run more efficiently with smaller expenditures. There was a certain amount of wondering when I was going to be asked about my wife-beating proclivities as I went through the list. (I stopped beating my wife on alternate Fridays, if you want to know. Or I would if I were married.)

Finally: the very best thing about the quiz results was not my showing as a member of the great fraternity, but the fact the people who designed it decided to use Village for the font. Village is like Albertus, except for the open "e" and dotless "i" and "j," and it's of course the font that was used for The Prisoner, one of the awesomest TV shows ever. And a little bit lefty, too. Just saying. Anyway, I wonder if the quizmakers used it just because it's a pretty, quirky font, or if they had some kind of agenda. It does seem interesting to use a font with that history on a graph that attempts to peg everybody to a political circle. I am, after all, a man and not a pair of numbers plotting a specific point on a cicle defined by a two-dimensional axis. Laugh mockingly now, if you want to. But I'm still not going to tell you why I resigned. Be seeing you.

6 comments:

Ilya Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 5:42:00 AM EDT  

I guess for "outliers" the quiz produces largely correct results :) It's us poor moderates who get baffled by the results.

In seriousness, I agree that many of the answer choices were out of whack. Aside from omitting several important political dimensions (foreign policy?), only about half of the questions presented me with a clear fitting choice.

Nathan Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 8:09:00 AM EDT  

I took the quiz and tossed the result. It put me as a left-leaning libertarian. In most cases, I couldn't find an answer that really fit what I wanted.

Bah.

vince Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 9:06:00 AM EDT  

It's an online quiz, and meant to be fun, I think, far more than accurate, but like Nathan, I took the quiz and tossed the results.

The one good thing about quizzes like this is that it helps remind us both how questions are phrased, and what answers are available, determine, and can skew, the results.

Janiece Murphy Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 9:17:00 AM EDT  

I think I'm more liberal than the results indicated.

::fist-bump:: Fellow Liberal!

Jim Wright Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 11:09:00 AM EDT  

Oh yeah, these online quizzes are always goofy in one fashion or another, and probably about as accurate as those quizzes in FHM or Cosmo.

But, they're interesting if only because for ones like this they get you to think about things, and may even lead to a cool blog post, like this one.

Leanright,  Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at 2:42:00 PM EDT  

Who wants to guess how my results turned out?

Hint: you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out.

Quite fun.

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