My Evolving Political Orientation

my political orientation
My political orientation as of October, 2015

Back in October of 2015, I wrote a post about how we need more than the traditional left-right dimension to adequately capture someone's political orientation. The left-right dimension does a decent job of reflecting someone's stance on economic issues, but it is limited in what it can tell us about his or her positions on social and cultural issues. For that, we need to add the the libertarian-authoritarian dimension to the mix.

Right around the time I wrote that post, I took one of the many online tests available to help one locate oneself along both the left-right and libertarian-authoritarian dimensions. I believe the one I took was the one from the Political Compass. You can see the graph it generated for me based on my results pictured here. The graph shows that I am in the libertarian left quadrant. This indicates that I lean to the left on economic issues and that I am far more libertarian rather than authoritarian on most social issues.

My position on the left-right dimension has not changed much over the years, and so it comes as no surprise. I've been far to the left on economic issues for most of my adult life. On the other hand, my position on the libertarian-authoritarian dimension has changed. Specifically, I have moved more toward the libertarian side of the continuum. I imagine this has coincided with my growing concern about what I have seen from the authoritarian left (or "regressive left" if you prefer) and their efforts to restrict the free expression of ideas. Thus, the cultural libertarian label seems like an accurate description when it comes to my position on many social and cultural issues.

I remain a liberal in the sense that I am to the left on most economic issues; however, my liberalism has shifted away from much of what I find in the contemporary progressive movement in the sense that I reject the more authoritarian aspects of their agenda (e.g., heavy-handed political correctness, social justice warriorism, divisive identity politics). I prefer the aspects of classical liberalism that coincide with Enlightenment values and that are consistent with freethought. For example, I oppose efforts to deal with bad ideas by suppressing their expression. I see too much value in exposing ourselves to ideas with which we disagree or even find objectionable.

Will my political orientation continue to evolve? It is hard to say, but I would have to imagine so. I am making more of a deliberate effort these days to expose myself to views with which I disagree, and I do expect I might learn some useful things in the process.