Government – big or small

A few days ago, a friend said he had become a libertarian and preferred small government – then asked me whether I favored big or small government.

That frustrated me – not because of my friend, but just how common this question is. The problem – for me – is simply that neither a big or small government is necessarily doing what is necessary and appropriate. Big and small don't necessarily imply specific services.

Thanks to my friend's question, I decided to see how political views like mine might be characterized – so I searched for political view tests on the web.

The political typology quiz provided by Pew Research Center was the most highly rated by Google Search – and the quiz was limited to 16 questions – but when I saw the first question, I was really frustrated again:

**If you had to choose, would you rather have…**
    A smaller government providing fewer services
    A bigger government providing more services 

The option of rejecting that choice was not allowed. The forced choice frustrated me so much I didn't continue. Instead, the first quiz I finished was from The Political Compass. This rates political views in four categories:

Authoritarian Left
Authoritarian Right  
Libertarian Left 
Libertarian Right.

I was rated as being a mild member of the Libertarian Left group – interesting but there was not much description of individual characteristics.

So my next such quiz was by My Political Personality – Non-Profit, Independent – which fascinated me because it characterized you as one of eight political personalities:

  1. Utopian Virtuoso

  2. Social Guardian

  3. Astute Logician

  4. Stalwart Nationalist

  5. Justice Warrior

  6. Freedom Steward

  7. Growth Capitalist

  8. Civic Observer

I was rated as a Social Guardian. The description of individual characteristics was generally appealing to me but did not feel totally appropriate to my views.

So, in frustration, I returned to the political typology quiz and took it despite my initial frustration. What amused me was that in this quiz, I fell into a group called the Ambivalent Right, which is 12% of the population.

What did I learn from all this? Something that I had already suspected – a whole lot of us just fall between left and right – and are rated by others based on a conversation about specifics. One example: in a conversation about business in my very liberal neighborhood, I would be considered a conservative – but in a conversation about social values such as abortion, I would be considered a liberal.

So I'm apparently both left and right, as well as conservative and liberal....