So I finished hanging the last of 900 of the little beauties at left today, in a 4 hour marathon walk that might have been a marathon in length. Frankly I lost track of how far I walked. I found myself wondering several times “just how many of these things do I have left?”
In the end I ran out of door hangers before I ran out of doors to hang them on.
The important part of the Quiz across Texas (a statewide effort to distribute 250,000 door hangers and other campaign materials) the part that makes it worth my time to participate, is the quiz itself.
Changing politics as usual in the United States means redefining what politics means and that starts with education. The left-right line that has traditionally been used to illustrate political thought is completely inadequate for the task. The Nolan Chart, and the World’s Smallest Political Quiz that has evolved from it, is one of the best ways to illustrate the real range of political opinion that can be found in society.
Getting the quiz into the hands of people who have never seen it before, is a good place to start the education process. I’m proud to have been a part of this.
For those people who wonder about the origins of the Nolan Chart and the World’s Smallest Political Quiz, here’s a summary:
The World’s Smallest Political Quiz is a ten question educational quiz for an American audience designed by the libertarian Advocates for Self Government and published on a web page of that organization. The quiz was created by Marshall Fritz, and associates the quiz-taker with one of five categories: libertarian, left-liberal, centrist, right-conservative, or statist.
According to the Advocates, the quiz was designed primarily to be more accurate than the one-dimensional “left–right” or “liberal–conservative” political spectrum by providing a two-dimensional representation. The Quiz is composed of two parts: a diagram of a political map; and a series of 10 short questions designed to help viewers quickly score themselves and others on that map.
The 10 questions are divided into two groups, economic and personal, of five questions each. The answers to the questions can be Agree, Maybe or Disagree. Twenty points are given for an Agree, ten points for a Maybe, and zero for Disagree. The scores are added for each group and can be zero to one hundred. These two numbers are then plotted on the diamond-shaped chart and the result displays the political group that agrees most with the quiz taker.wikipedia.org
…and for those other people (I’ve run across a few of you, too) who think that the WSPQ is too simplistic, check out this enhanced version of the quiz (with go fast stripes even) authored by an LP activist in North Carolina.
Funny, I’m a Libertarian on that quiz, too.
The old hit them with the WSPQ trick. Works every time.
I had numerous arguments with people over the years that I promoted the Nolan Chart and the WSPQ. The complaints about the structure of the graph usually boiled down to economics not being properly represented as the vertical metric of the graph, but no one that objected to Nolan’s chart could explain to me what the flaw was. I eventually stumbled across the explanation all on my own.
The problem is quite easy to expose if you know how to look at it. The first metric is social freedom. A solid majority of people agree with most of the questions involving social freedom. Nearly everyone who claims conservatism publicly is someone who is careful to say they are socially liberal and fiscally conservative. This is where the problem lies. The second metric is economic freedom. What, exactly, is economic freedom and how is it achieved? Every question on the World’s Smallest Political Quiz comes at this question as if money was archetypal, foundational, a recognizable concrete that we can all agree on.
However, money is nothing of the sort and the origin of money is not what most people think it is. Value is not found in commodities because they exist; rather, value is subjectively assigned to commodities based on the desire of the individual and so varies based on subjective factors such as hunger, rest, thirst, security, etc. If you are dying of thirst everything you have is what that drink of water is worth. That is hardly the basis for measuring economic freedom.