Are You a Neocon?
Regular readers of LRC or other right-of-center sites are sure to have seen terms like "neoconservative" and "paleo-libertarian" from time to time. A quick Google search can explain what the words mean, but definitions don't really answer the more interesting and important question — which one are you?
Naturally you might be neither "paleo" nor "neo." But for those who'd like to find out I devised a quick quiz during a spell of procrastination a few months back. Here it is. After answering twenty questions it'll give you my impression of which of ten modern American ideologies is the best fit for you, along with links to sites representing the philosophy of each.
There's no shortage of political quizzes on the ‘net, but how many others includes "paleoconservative" and "third way" as categories? Not many (or any) that I've seen. And to be thoroughly immodest, this quiz is less slanted than most too. I'm a pale-something myself though, so if you find bias that's where I'm coming from. Other than that the major flaw is that I don't know modern left-wing ideologies at all well, so the categories of "radical," "liberal" and "third-way" probably are not how leftists would classify themselves.
The quiz questions are mostly about public policy. An alternative method would have been to ask general philosophical questions, or even to ask for interpretations of historical events. I chose the policy-oriented approach because it seemed most straightforward and clear.
Here, in brief, are the ideologies that the quiz examines. You'll probalby want to take the quiz first though. The sketches below aren't an answer key, but you can probably deduce from the definitions how someone of a given ideology would answer a particular question. That's the entire principle of the quiz, after all.
Centrist — Just what it sounds like. Someone who doesn't have any particularly strong ideological leanings in any direction.
Conservative — Specifically a "fusionist" conservative of the National Review - Heritage Foundation mold. Someone who believes in traditional morality and capitalism, and the need for a limited government to allow both to flourish.
Left-libertarian — The quiz uses a mild definition of a left-libertarian, an anti-statist who is somewhat fearful of corporate and religious influence on public life.
Liberal — Supports economic regulation to promote social justice and takes a progressive stance toward moral or cultural issues.
Libertarian — A libertarian opposes most or all government activites. Does not favor much or any government support for either moral or economic systems.
Neoconservative — A "neocon" is more inclined than other conservatives toward vigorous government in the service of the goals of traditional morality and pro-business policies. Tends to favor a very strong foreign policy of America as well.
Paleoconservative — "Paleocons" want less US involvement in foeign affairs than other conservatives and oppose mass immigration. They are also more favorably disposed toward the South and the idea of secession, or at least decentralization, than neoconservatives.
Paleo-libertarian — Similar to other libertarians except for oppostion to mass immigration, and shares the paleocon appreciation of the South.
Radical — Critical of bouregois morality and strongly opposed to capitalism and willing to use state power to achieve desired ends.
Third-way — More supportive of foreign intervention than liberals and less supportive of economic regulation, coupled with more-or-less progressive social views. "Third-way" is to liberal what neoconservative is to conservative.
June 26, 2001
Daniel McCarthy [send him mail] is a graduate student in classics at Washington University in St. Louis.
Copyright © 2001 LewRockwell.com