While running for Congress as a Republican, my statements in favor of social tolerance made me unpopular at some candidate forums. Republicans tend to favor economic freedom, but not personal freedom. Although the thumping I received at the polls was probably due to factors outside of political philosophy, it still caused me to consider whether I would be more comfortable in another political party.
America currently has a two-party political system, and several friends have suggested that I belong more in the Democratic Party than the Republican Party. I have rejected that suggestion in the past because I think the Republican Party stands for small government and I am hopeful that the dominance of the Moral Majority in the party is not permanent. But if the Moral Majority keeps its hold on the Republican Party, there is a third party in America that is trying to attract voters who are not completely comfortable in either the Republican or Democratic Party. That party is the Libertarian Party.
The motto of the Libertarian Party in Texas is “Fiscally Conservative, Socially Tolerant.” The nationwide Libertarian Party has endorsed a test to help traditional Democratic or Republican voters determine whether their values should cause them to vote Libertarian instead of D or R. (This Libertarian strategy reminds me of the current Republican strategy to suggest to Hispanic-Americans and African-Americans that their conservative fiscal and social values should place them in the Republican Party instead of the Democratic Party. The problem with the Republican strategy is that Republicans often come across as mean, inhospitable people.)
The Libertarian test is called “The World’s Smallest Political Quiz.” It contains ten simple questions and can be found on-line at http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz. Unfortunately, the test, which has been taken by more than 15 million times since 1995, didn’t help me find my true party because it categorized me as, not a Libertarian, not a Republican, not a Democrat, but a Centrist:
- Centrists espouse a “middle ground” regarding government control of the economy and personal behavior. Depending on the issue, they sometimes favor government intervention and sometimes support individual freedom of choice. Centrists pride themselves on keeping an open mind, tend to oppose “political extremes,” and emphasize what they describe as “practical” solutions to problems.
I encourage you to take The World’s Smallest Political Quiz. Although I have listed the questions below, you should go to the link provided above to receive your score and get categorized into a political philosophy. The questions (and my answers) are as follows:
- Government should not censor speech, press, media, or internet. Agree. This is a no-brainer.
- Military service should be voluntary. There should be no draft. Disagree. A draft should be available in emergencies to ensure shared sacrifice.
- There should be no laws regarding sex for consenting adults. Agree. Another no-brainer.
- Repeal laws prohibiting adult possession and use of drugs. Maybe. We should continue to prohibit excessively dangerous drugs, but we should legalize mj.
- There should be no National ID card. Disagree. We need a national ID card to combat illegal immigration. I think historical notions of privacy are outdated.
- End “corporate welfare.” No government handouts to business. Agree. This is a no-brainer.
- End government barriers to international free trade. Agree. This is another no-brainer.
- Let people control their own retirement; privatize Social Security. Agree. Government SS is too inflexible to fit the wide variety of individual needs and objectives. I recently changed my mind on this issue, so I consider it a close call.
- Replace government welfare with private charity. Disagree. The safety net is too big for private charity.
- Cut taxes and government spending by 50% or more. Disagree. Even if you privatize Social Security, I don’t think you can cut 50% of government spending.
The four other political philosophies are:
Liberals usually embrace freedom of choice in personal matters, but tend to support significant government control of the economy. They generally support a government-funded “safety net” to help the disadvantaged, and advocate strict regulation of business. Liberals tend to favor environmental regulations, defend civil liberties and free expression, support government action to promote equality, and tolerate diverse lifestyles.
Libertarians support maximum liberty in both personal and economic matters. They advocate a much smaller government; one that is limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence. Libertarians tend to embrace individual responsibility, oppose government bureaucracy and taxes, promote private charity, tolerate diverse lifestyles, support the free market, and defend civil liberties.
Conservatives tend to favor economic freedom, but frequently support laws to restrict personal behavior that violates “traditional values.” They oppose excessive government control of business, while endorsing government action to defend morality and the traditional family structure. Conservatives usually support a strong military, oppose bureaucracy and high taxes, favor a free-market economy, and endorse strong law enforcement.
Statists (Big Government)
Statists want government to have a great deal of power over the economy and individual behavior. They frequently doubt whether economic liberty and individual freedom are practical options in today’s world. Statists tend to distrust the free market, support high taxes and centralized planning of the economy, oppose diverse lifestyles, and question the importance of civil liberties.