The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):


  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”


Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Political Compass and similar measures

A bit more than a month ago I posted a comparison of my scores on the Political Compass and other similar measurement schemes. The one thing I have always noted about these is that, while they work better than simple "left/right" scales, two-dimensional schemes like these never get it quite right. I wonder if yet more dimensions are necessary. (But then, I need someone else to devise the test; I'm not a psychologist and I don't think I can do it!)

There is a common psychological analysis test called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It has engendered a number of clones, but all use the same four-dimensional system for classifying people. And I note that every time I've taken one, I always come out the same way, an unambiguous ISTJ. (My wife comes out almost the exact opposite; she is usually an ENFP, which is truly the exact opposite, but on the "thinking-feeling" axis she is so close to the zero point tat she sometimes comes out as an ENTP, and thus is often categorized as an ENxP. But the important thing is, all these personality measures seem to be consistent, while the political ones sre not.) I really think there needs to be more teased out. Perhaps not a four-dimensional scheme, but certainly more than two.

One thing I note is that there is a distinct urban character to my libertarianism. While I want to be left alone to my own way of thinking, I'm not eager to be left on my own. The idea of providing for my own self-defense rather than relying on the police appalls me, as does the idea of driving everywhere rather than using public transportation. This, of course, comes from growing up in a big city, but it separates me from many libertarian types. And it probably explains why I part company with them on Second Amendment-related questions.

I wish people would look at this more closely. There needs to be a better way of gauging political similarity.

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