James Leroy Wilson's blog

Thursday, March 03, 2016

I disagree with the Libertarian Party on... the death penalty?

I went to the website ISideWith.com, mainly to see how much I agree with various Presidential candidates. That itself was out of curiosity and not a determination of who I will vote for (if I vote at all). The results also show how your answers compare with the "party line" of each party. 

It's the best political quiz I've ever taken. Other quizzes might ask a question like, "Do you agree with subsidies for Planned Parenthood" and if I say No, I'm categorized as a social conservative. This quiz allows for more nuance; I could say something like, "No, and I oppose all subsidies to any organization." That points, more accurately, in the libertarian direction.

But is the quiz, on the whole, accurate? Probably, but I'm left wondering a bit.

My results show I am in 97% agreement with the Libertarian Party. No surprise there. I searched for the disagreements.There were some differences in how I answered that I consider minor. Others, however, struck at me:
  • Affirmative Action. The quiz says the LP is against. I'm against it in State-controlled institutions, but have no objection to preferential hiring or admissions in the private sector. I believe my position is more libertarian. Here's the confusing part: it is also the position of Section 3.5 of the Libertarian Party Platform.
  • Immigration: The quiz assigns the LP answers that seem more restrictive than I would have thought, and more restrictive than I answered. My hope is that libertarians who want restrictions do it only as a security issue, and never as an economic or cultural issue.
But the biggest surprise was the death penalty: The quiz assigns the LP as in support. That's not how I answered. There is no "libertarian" answer to criminal justice issues except to compensate the victim more than we do now. And I have no more moral objection to killing a murderer than I do killing a dangerous animal. But I thought that libertarians generally agreed that the criminal justice as it exists is so broken, the taxpayer cost of death penalty appeals so great, and the risk of executing the innocent so great, that prudence and justice would call for its abolition. Even the conservative Nebraska legislature abolished it. 

It's no big deal to me that I disagree with other libertarians or the Libertarian Party on some things. And 97% agreement suggests that there isn't much. But I am curious how the quiz came up with its "party line" answers.

And if it is sometimes wrong with LP answers, could it be more often wrong on other party answers? Or candidates?

1 comment:

  1. Scott Semans4:00 PM PST

    I'm impressed with the quiz, much more depth and intelligence than most. I got 87% for Gary Johnson, a so-so libertarian candidate. My real surprise was 73% each for Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein, but the quiz WAS light on economic issues, heavy on foreign & social policy. Guess they've outed me as a left-libertarian (blush). Kasich was on the bottom for me, with 24% and Bloomberg with 39%, both of which are too far north of zero, I think. Death penalty and at least a dozen others were write-your-own answer responses, which were presumably not counted unless they've got some damn smart algorithm. I respect the creators of this quiz for not forcing responses and allowing free-response. I've long felt the views of libertarians were underrepresented and distorted by both the content and the structure of most polls, and have urged libertarians to boycott polls that mention only the D and R parties.

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