March 15, 2005

Three things I did this morning

1) I read this report and nearly collapsed laughing.

2) I love quizzes that fill my head with useless information about myself. So I took this one and found to my amusement that it classifies me as a ... gasp, libertarian.

I swear I am not making this up (thank you Dave Barry).

3) I checked the May 19 entry here and found, to my delight, that I could have written it nearly any day of my life. It reads:
  • Looking at a wall: I was standing quite near to a wall. I turned my attention towards it for a few moments. Having done this for several seconds I turned away from it and carried on doing something else.


Yazad Jal said...

I always knew you were a strong "social" libertarian. Regarding economics, I wasn't so sure. I've written on the topic last year and you might like to check out the post: So are you a libertarian?

Dilip D'Souza said...

Yazad, actually I have no idea what a "social" libertarian is, nor what an "economic" libertarian is. To tell you the truth, I'm not so sure I care!

I was expecting this quiz to tell me I am a writer. It didn't. Need to do something about that...

Thanks for the pointer.

Sriram said...

Dilip, you are not a libertarian. Trust me.

To be a libertarian, you need to believe in certain things:
1 . The individual's rights to freedom (mostly from the government)
2 . Inviolacy of private property.
3 . All exchanges and transactions happen voluntarily, without any coercion whatsoever.

I have been reading you for years and while you like to believe you agree with these things, I don't think so.

The reason the quiz says you are a libertarian is that you are logical when you take the quiz, but emotional when you write columns and form opinions (that doesn't mean you are illogical, just that emotions overpower logic).

If you were a libertarian, you wouldn't talk about how the city of Mumbai should plan the city (planning is a statist euphemism for central control by few over the millions of individuals).

If you were a libertarian, you would have no problems with people owning cars. Your personal opinions on car would affect your puchase of a car, but you would not propose imposing anything on others.

If you were a libertarian, you would oppose all taxes, since that is a form of coercion.

If you were a libertarian, you wouldn't believe that healthcare and toilets are birth rights.

If you were a libertarian, you would believe that just because someone is born, doesn't mean that the universe owes him/her anything (food, medicine, shelter, retirement saving, blah blah).

If you were a libertarian, by now you would know that politicians and bureaucrats are not saviors of humanity and complaining about how they are not doing their jobs well is pointless.

If you were a libertarian, you would agree with George Cloud when he says "The problem is not abuse of power, it is having the power to abuse." Or with Lord Acton when he said "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

BTW, there is no such thing as "social" or "economic" libertarian. Those are terms used by people whose beliefs are not founded on solid, clear principles.

Dilip D'Souza said...


Groucho Marx once resigned from a club, saying I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.

Your comment here makes me give renewed thanks to Groucho and his wit.

I would have thought it was obvious from the tone I used referring to this quiz (the words "useless" and "amusement", for example), but I guess it wasn't. I couldn't care less what a quiz pronounces -- it's about as interesting and amusing as a horoscope is. In this case, I'm especially uninterested in being a libertarian if libertarians set a battery of tests in place, as you seem to want to do. (Is that what being a libertarian means, that you have to jump through hoops to satisfy those who have already pronounced themselves as such?)

All of which is why I said, I was expecting this quiz to tell me I am a writer. Unfortunately for me, it didn't. I'm now looking for a quiz that will pronounce me a trapeze artist. Any pointers?

Sriram said...

Dilip, I guess you are right. Labels like 'libertarian' or 'communist' don't mean much. However, it is in human nature to classify and name. Libertarianism is not a club where you seek and get membership, it is a set of principles that you subscribe to.

You are a Comp. Sci. guy - imagine if data structures and patterns weren't named. Or what hoops do I have to jump through to be 'accepted' as an object oriented progammer?

The self government quiz is not a Mensa type quiz (we Indians use the word differently from Americans, as you are doubtless aware). It is a handful of simple questions to help locate yourself on the political map. I think its primary purpose is to make Americans realize that are more positions than simple left and right.

I was merely trying to explain the discrepancy between your 'score' on the quiz and positions on various issues in terms of logical vs. emotional approaches. You could, of course, disagree.

Pallavi said...

WellI am a centrist I guess.. according to the quiz... and I got one of those mails... couple of times.. about the million dollar thing.. silly chain of mails... !