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placeholders on the bar graph of politics

[UPDATE: Not one person understand what I am trying to do, nor did anyone follow the directions. We'll try this again later.]

In this morning's post where I declared that I was no longer going to pay attention to anyone on either the far left or the far right, JW left an interesting comment:

I don't think that Indymedia and Free Republic are that useful to appeal to here. They are both way over their respective lines. What would be interesting is to see who various folks think is just barely over the line. For example, I think that the staff of Reason is, by and large, just shy of the line ... and many of the NRO 'Corner' people (Derbyshire, e.g.) are just over it.

Maybe The Nation as just-over-the-line on the left? (On average, that is; I think that Alterman, e.g., is within the 'gray zone'.)

So, here's the challenge. I made this handy-dandy little graphic:

[click for full size]

For no particular reason at all except to satisfy my curiosity and perhaps to give people a better idea of where they line up politically (so when someone says 'you're a far-right wacko,' you can reply, 'no, look at this handy-dandy chart. My politics are more in line with Weekly Standard , so you can see I'm not nearly as much of a wacko as you think I am!) we're going to fill this chart in, from Indymedia all the way to Free Republic.

We're only going to use online forums, publications that have online versions and bloggers. Yes, bloggers. You, too can decide if you are Oliver Willis or Atrios, John Hawkins or Stephen Green. Or maybe you're just NPR. Or NRO.

It's for you to decide. All you have to do is figure out what goes where. You don't have to do all of them. In fact, you can just suggest one. For instance, you could comment that NRO would go in space G, right next to Free Republic.

Forget all those complicated politcal compass tests. This will be the new standard for declaring your political status!

Right. Well, play along anyhow.


Aw, shit.
Here comes the SondraK gang bang but, I just don't believe Freepers are as far polarized in your spectrum as Indy's. That's just not fair! Indy's are INSANE!

I've been saying for many years now -- long years on Usenet and in hard copy writing back to the late Seventies, let alone since my first blog entries -- that I think single axis attempts to analyze politics are more destructive to good thinking and useful conclusions than they are helpful.

So on your chart, put me 5 units up. Where I fall on the left/right: on some issues a 3, on some a B, on some an E, on some a 7, and so on.

People who can be simply summed up this way are, well, simple.

Which I personally find completely boring, but that's me. (If I can predict in advance what someone's opinion is, why do I need to bother to hear them express it?)

I think, Gary, you could choose an overall number/letter without being boring or simple.

I am generally liberal of views regarding things like abortion, gay rights, progressive taxation. I'm conservative when it comes to the war on terror, defense, and pro-death penalty.

I'd say I'm about a 6, maybe a 5, overall.

I'm probably a D or an E. I confess to visiting neither Indymedia or Free Republic. I don't visit Atrios or Ted Rall, but I make a daily stop at RWN.

I think the one thing that moves me towards the center is I like to laugh. I've noticed people on the fringe tend to lose their sense of humor along with their sanity. Maybe that alone would push me back to a C.

Damn. I'm not a good judge. You grade me, Michele.

I don't know how to grade myself. Some kind of conservative..where to make distinctions? I don't find the death penalty useful, I'm mostly against abortion, I like lower taxation from the perspective of liberty and my distaste for making citizens dependent on the federal government. There, a whole bunch of labels.

I can handle snarky political discourse, as long as its honest. Coulter may be a demagogue, but she was dead right about McCarthy. Tell me which is worse.

Mostly I get frustrated by manipulative politics that seeks power and control rather than to serve (and I see it on both sides of the aisle...news flash there), and the weenies who can't get over their frustration about Bush long enough to comprehend we are in the fight of our lives. I wouldn't have voted for FDR, but when he led us against the last, worst totalitarian threat to the world, I'd have sucked it up over less important issues like the nanny state.

Grade me? Please?


I guess I go on either A or B; I'm very right-winging when it comes to economics but I'm pretty much a libertine live-and-let-live guy, which might make me more a liberal than most. This might just inspire me to make a declaration of personal positions on my blog tomorrow when I get home, Michele.

Think 6-7, read C.

I went out and found a multi-axis test here

Even so, it's not all that accurate for me as I happen to feel that government is a service provider - little else - and so I check things like Universal Health Care with the understanding that my intent is to use government as a conduit between consumer and ultimate provider in order to reduce overall costs.

Likewise, things that increase costs for all, such as smoking (and boy, do I smoke) should be taxed to reflect that added cost.

Anyway, it seems I'm a little to the left of Centerville. I'm not as strange as I thought...

Or maybe I am

(And that's what I've been doing the last couple of days...)

Yeah I know this is off the blog topic.

The most interesting people are have strong views that place them in different parts of the line.

My current fave is Chris Hitchens, a communist who's also a pro-war-on-terrorism hawk.

Arianna Falaci is similar, though her exteme anti-immigration rhetoric and views would be seen as very far right by most Americans. I think the fact that Italy is much more fully populated than the US mitigates that a bit. It makes sense to close the borders when your country is already full.

If you're a stalwart Democratic voter, but (i) believe in general in free trade and free markets, and (ii) can't stand PC gibberish, can you be further left than a 3? I'm guessing not. So put me in at 3.

I lived most of my life in Cali...was called a conservative. Now I live in the MidWest...and get called a liberal. Yet, only my address has changed, not my core beliefs.

(OK, So I lived outside San Francisco, they'd consider Daschle a conservative.)

I'd say I lean to the right, since I believe National Security trumps all...if we don't have a country, all other issues become moot.

grin I'm with Mike Hendrix, wherever he ends up on the graph. ;]

[I know, that's not helpful. Sue me. ;)]

I think the generic Paleocon folks (who sadly, lack a representative forum) should probably be where Free Republic is. FR threads can range from vile to pretty mainstream right-wing, while the IndyMedia kids are hard Green Party left-liberals at best and chewing on their tinfoil hats at worst.

Nitpicking aside, I'd place my views around D or E depending on how you're weighting my issue portfolio.

There is still no place for libertarians on that bar. That is why the ole' left-right thing does not work.

I'd say I lean to the right, since I believe National Security trumps all...if we don't have a country, all other issues become moot.

I don't think national security as a whole is a rightwing platform. By saying so, a person is implying that the left wing is against protecting America--which is absolutely false. Everyone is for American security. Saying so is like saying you're a republican because you don't believe in beating your wife.

There's a whole lot of grey area around that topic. Saying that you're protecting American interests throuh mutual cooperation, allies, and strong threat of force is one thing, an opposite tack would be to protect American interests through a systematic toppling of foreign countries, an aggressive military stance, and a reliance on sheer power. Both have advantages, both have disadvantages. But that's where the policy argument lies, not with right being for the defense of America and the left busy signing landing orders for the Franco-Russo-German armies.

I, for one, align in the Dick Lugar/Chuck Hagel camp of national security which is generally at odds with the rest of the republican party. I'm also a true free trade guy, not free trade only when it appears to benefit us and then protectionist otherwise. I'm liberterian in my social views. I believe that the government has a responsibility to, not control the progress of society, or try and engineer society, but to establish safe parameters and basic provisions that allow natural progress to occur.

Unfortunately, that mix is not represented by any one wing of current two party system. I typically vote for the lesser of two evils.

The trouble with left vs. right is that ultimately neither term means anything. The origins of the term have to do with "the people who sat on the right side of the French parliament house" vs. "the people who sat on the left side" (who, needless to say, disagreed with their counterparts). The only light that history shines on the terms is that they stand for "Status Quo" vs. "Anti-Status-Quo". It's easy to see what Left/Right is NOT: it's not Statism/Individualism; it's not Communism/Capitalism; it's not Conservatism/Dynamism; and it's not Totalitarianism/Liberalism.

The problem with left/right charts is that people like me see Indymedia and The Free Republic as having just as much of a mish-mash of arbitrary values as "centrists" supposedly have. I don't see either of those as being "purists" of any particular coherent belief system (other than stupidity, perhaps). Indymedia and FR both represent a combination of incoherent beliefs and dogged ignorance. Whereas I see myself as an extremist (in that I hold a single value paramount, from which all of my politics are derived) - and yet on that chart I'd probably be a "moderate". Which I am most definitely not. My belief in individual liberty is not in the slightest bit "moderate".

I got what you were trying to do! I just didn't know enough to put something out there. But I agree with you about NRO and the Cornerettes - they are as far right as can be. I'd have to put Instapundit pretty dead center. Sullivan probably a little to the right of him. Lilkes? More or less right than those two? Then there's Frank at IMHO - how do you rate satire?

I wouldn't get too caught up in the, "I go both ways" thing. When Michele first posted the graph, I just took it as a measure of hysteria, right or left, more than as a definition of my political philosophy.

I'll settle firmly in the C/D range. The shrillness of the 1/G crowd hurts my brain.

I have always been from the school of thought where the politcal spectrum is actually a circle. the far reaches of each ideology begin to resemble each other the further out you get.

But for the sake of this argument I would place myself at an E.

I propose:

1. Democratic Underground
3. Tbogg
4. Hesiod
5. Atrios
6. Tapped
B. Michael Totten
C. Andrew Sullivan
D. Prof. Instalinker
G. Misha, Mad Puppy

I don't fit in that list properly, Hipocrite. I dunno... I don't think it can be done. People are too different.