Like you're surprised...

>> Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Center For American Progress has recently posted a forty-question quiz, "How Progressive Are You?" based on a recent pair of reports the Center has produced.

My results will shock and astonish regular readers, for sure:

This makes you extremely progressive. The average score for Americans is 209.5.

This not only puts me nearly a hundred points above the mean score for "Liberal Democrats" (whatever they are), but more than a hundred points over the means for "Liberals" and "Progressives." Yes, ladies and gents, I am apparently, according to The Center For American Progress, more progressive than a Progressive. I am a Meta-Progressive, if you will, Progressivsaurus Rex. Tell me you're shocked.

And I possibly could have scored higher if only I'd known how to parse this item:

The primary responsibility of corporations is to produce profits and returns for their shareholders, not to improve society.

Is that a normative statement or a positive one? I mean, I'd like to think that corporations are capable of being socially responsible and doing good (if I'm still any kind of socialist, I'm one of those mixed-economy socialists, you know, French, basically), but as a positive statement I think the above item is pretty generally false. For that matter, it's even debatable as a normative statement insofar as the specific financial purpose of the corporate structure is to generate profits and shareholder returns; i.e. whether it's subjectively a good or bad thing, it is the corporation's responsibility as an institution. Of course, even that's more complicated than it looks at first glance--there's nothing to keep shareholders from forgoing financial rewards in exchange for the satisfaction that comes from achieving a worthy social goal (i.e. the investors may agree to repurpose the corporate framework), but how often does that happen?

So, you know, I gave it a "5" because I had no idea what the hell they were getting at. Coulda been a zip, coulda been a "10," meh, I took the average. There were one or two other questions kind of like that, but that was the one that stood out enough for me to go back through to make sure I had the wording right.

Should I make anything of this result? Although it's essentially meaningless, I can't help deriving a certain smug satisfaction out of being to the left of liberals. O'course it also goes along with my godlessness as being a reason I couldn't ever hold a public office. Still, it's nice to have a dumb internet quiz tell you you're still a little bit the radical lefty you were in your younger and more dashing days. Thanks, dumb internet quiz!


Random Michelle K Saturday, March 21, 2009 at 8:51:00 AM EDT  


Not that you're surprised by my score either.

I had a lot of 10s and 0s, which probably accounted for the bump. The things I care about, I tend to feel strongly about.

As far as corporations go, they're amoral entities, far more likely to make immoral decisions than individuals, and as such need to be more highly regulated.

They should have the same goals as individuals, but because they are amoral, they don't.

Nathan Saturday, March 21, 2009 at 9:18:00 AM EDT  

I got a 300/400. Question 38 asked (paraphrase): Religous Faiths should concentrate more on tolerance, etc. and less on abortion and homosexuality. In all fairness, I didn't think it was any of my business what "religious faiths" should be concentrating on. My business should be opposing them when they're batshit crazy.

Random Michelle K Saturday, March 21, 2009 at 10:06:00 AM EDT  

Well Nathan, to be honest, if you actually consider the books upon which these faiths are founded, the main ideas espoused are charity and love.

So when you have whack-jobs espousing ideas that aren't necessarily found in the books that are the foundation of their beliefs, I think you've got some problems.

Damnit, I had more to say, but I've gotta go.

Eric Saturday, March 21, 2009 at 12:00:00 PM EDT  

Unfortunately, the main idea of the books tends to be as schizophrenic and scattered as you might expect an anthology of aphorisms/verses/chapters/books assembled over a period of time to be.

It's not hard, for instance, to cherry-pick the Tanakh/Old Testament for verses advocating murder and domestic violence (a famous and funny exercise in that can be found here) or for a message of love and tolerance. And the truth, unfortunately, is that the cherry-pickers are all right in their interpretations to some extent--any reading must either be selective or full of self-contradiction.

I'm not pointing this out for the sake of bashing religion, I'm just saying. Indeed, it's not even a criticism if you accept that most of these texts were written and edited by people over lengthy periods of time--it's exactly what you would expect. One day, the major problem for the People is what to eat; another day two centuries later, the big concern is rival neighbors; a third day in a different era and the big problem is a schism within the sect. Etc. Of course they're inconsistent, it's not even the same people grappling with the same issues.

Anyway, I was willing to agree entirely on the religious statement as a normative one, because even though I'm not religious, I think that's what faiths ought to do. And it is my business when a religious person takes his faith out of his home or church and into the civic sphere in a way that hurts me or those I care about: a faith focused on tolerance is less likely to push for a constitutional amendment that makes friends and family members second-class citizens and causes them grief, to cite an obvious example. And indeed, as I've said before: an ecumenical faith may be the least textually or dogmatically consistent worldview, but it is the one that's happiest if you don't want your neighbors burning you at the stake or throwing bombs at each other.

Carol Elaine Saturday, March 21, 2009 at 7:24:00 PM EDT  


I'm less progressive than Eric? Oh noes!

Again, that should come as a surprise to no one. (Hell, I just finished yet another anti-war march.) Like Michelle, a lot of 0s and 10s figured prominently in my answers.

Leanright,  Monday, March 23, 2009 at 12:36:00 PM EDT  


It's quite obvious though, that the questions were created BY liberals and FOR liberals.

One of the major tenents of Fascism is heavy government regulation of privately owned businesses. The irony in that is that for years, the left has called Bush a "Fascist". Now he's being criticized for NOT regulating corporations enough. So, it would seem to me that the left's problem with GWB is that he was NOT fascist enough.

Eric Monday, March 23, 2009 at 2:07:00 PM EDT  

1) While some people will call any governmental official a fascist, and those on the left are especially prone to using the epithet thoughtlessly, no serious, rational, thoughtful person accused Bush of being a fascist (and yes, I know I made a Mein Kampf joke the other day--I also pointed out that it was a stupid joke, and why).

2) Fascist states have nationalized large corporate concerns, but there's a difference between nationalization and regulation.

In fact, the distinction is so fundamental, does it even need to be elaborated on? Telling a corporation they can't engage in certain business transactions is not only no less legitimate than telling you you can't engage in certain transactions (e.g. the purchase of cocaine or the sale of sex-slaves), but it's more legitimate since a corporation is not a natural person and only exists by virtue of a charter to do business as a corporation provided by the state.

3) You were doing better for awhile, Leanright. And your first paragraph makes a fair point about the stupid internet quiz. But your second--come on, man! You make a straw man argument (accusing the left in general of calling Bush a fascist), tear down this straw man with a dubious factual claim (on the nature of fascism), and then make a conclusion (about the left's alleged problem with Bush) that doesn't even really follow from the (faulty) premises. I mean, ouch.

Not your best work.

Leanright,  Monday, March 23, 2009 at 3:07:00 PM EDT  

My issue is that the media and the left have stated that the Bush admin did nor attempted to do anything to curb the mortgage crisis by imposing regulations. I simply don't think anyone really looked into it...

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