Left vs. Right
You hear this phrase often, with the Democrats (liberals) being associated with the left, and the Republicans (conservatives) being associated to the right. The Republican right is supposed to support economic freedom, but restrict social freedoms. The Democratic left is supposed to restrict economic freedoms, but support social freedoms. But is this concept of left vs. right accurate?
Do the Democrats truly support social freedoms? Liberal democrats are supposed to be the strongest supporters of civil liberties and freedom of speech. Yet they are the ones most in favor of tolerance codes on college campuses, the fairness doctrine for media outlets, and in aggressively enforcing thought crimes (hate crimes). The Democratic political party is also most likely to support bans on cigarette smoking, actively enforced seat belt laws, and reducing your right to self protection by weakening the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.
Do the Republicans truly support economic freedoms? Conservative republicans are supposed to strongly support our economic rights against interference from the government. Yet they are often the ones most in favor of corporate and farm subsidies, and also bailouts for those deemed “too big to fail”. The Republican political party is also responsible for the largest government entitlement expansion in decades with Medicare prescription drug coverage. When was the last time you heard a prominent republican talk about cutting the taxation and spending levels by 50% or more? Instead, they talk about keeping the government spending approximately the same (maybe a minimal reduction), but then debate on the method for how to collect their revenues – – the current progressive income tax vs. a fair tax vs. a flat tax.
The American government is currently dominated by the Democratic and Republican parties, which in theory are supposed to offer two alternative viewpoints and solutions. While they do have distinct differences in a few key issues, they very often agree more than disagree, and truly only represent varying shades of gray in most political issues.
We, and other libertarians reject the current concept of “left vs. right”. Instead we focus on liberty vs. tyranny. Individual freedom vs. collectivism. Capitalism vs. Socialism. Personal responsibility vs. the welfare state and/or nanny state. The libertarian believes in freedom, and is fundamentally opposed to the statist in almost every regard.
Millions of people have taken the “World’s Smallest Political Quiz” which tries to adjust for some of the flaws with the classic left vs. right concepts. While we are strong supporters of their survey, website, and viewpoints, we believe their scoring system is too simplistic.
Our survey attempts to give an objective, fair representation of the various political beliefs by topic. Each answer is then assigned a point value by degree of alignment to each political philosophy. Since not every adherent of each political party or philosophy agrees 100% with all others in the party, point values vary by answer. For example, most all democrats believe affirmitive action laws were a good idea, but split on whether they think more laws are still required. In this type of case, the democratic philosophy would get point values for two different responses. Additionally, some answers may have point values across multiple political philosophies. For example, the Republican and Statist answer is essentially the same on the topic of prostitution. Both philosophies would have a high point value for the same response.
All the answers and associated points are added up, compared to the total points possible and displayed on the summary graph. Since there is a significant amount of overlap and similarity between the republican and democratic political philosophies, the total points on your survey results will not typically add evenly to 100%. Only the distinction between the libertarian and statist philosophy will have an exact opposite result (e.g. a 100% libertarian score will provide a 0% statist score; and vice versa). OK, so we might not be the best survey in the world…at least not yet. We are constantly improving this site and survey based upon your feedback.