Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Metapolitics Go-meme

How should politics be conducted? I've marked in my positions on the 7-point scales below. To participate yourself, simply copy this entire post (including links), and mark your choices accordingly before posting it to your own blog.

a) Liberalism   X - - - - - -   Radicalism (1/7)
Do the ends justify the means? Procedural liberals insist on the primacy of fair play and democratic process. Radicals care less about method, and more about getting the desired result.

b) Rationalism   X - - - - - -   Subjectivism (1/7)
Is there ever a "right answer" to political questions? Rationalists think that reasoned debate could, ideally, lead to consensus about the common good. Subjectivists see politics as a mere contest of wills, all rhetoric and power plays, where the goal is simply to have your individual preferences win through.

c) Direct   - - - X - - -   Representative Democracy (4/7)
Should power rest more with citizens or elected representatives?

d) Aggregation   - - - - - X -   Deliberation (6/7)
Should political decisions be reached by simply aggregating individuals' prior preferences, or by submitting reasons for deliberation and critical scrutiny?

e) Federalist   - - X - - - -   Globalist (3/7)
What's the most appropriate level for political decisions? Federalists favour local-level decision-making (which may vary across localities), in contrast to Globalists.

f) Libertarian   - X - - - - -   Authoritarian (2/7)
How much discretionary power should be allowed in politics? Libertarians favour greater (e.g. constitutional) constraints on the exercise of political power. Authoritarians (may include populists and paternalists) are the opposite.

g) Economic Left   - - X - - - -   Right (3/7)
How favourably do you view redistributive taxation and other typically "Left-wing" economic policies?

Track List:
1. Philosophy, et cetera
2. [Add link to your blog here]


  1. Your last one is intriguing. Could this be the first visible sign of the ageing process?

  2. Heh, it may be more that I'm unsure how to classify my views on the left-right spectrum. But free market + Unconditional Basic Income is a combination I've been advocating for a while. (So, to clarify: I'm all in favour of redistribution via UBI. It's other forms of leftish regulation, or redistribution done badly, that I'm suspicious of.)

    P.S. I'm glad you picked up on the meme -- I'm not sure how many NZers still read my blog these days!

  3. I think in terms of authoritarianism - there is a question of whether the power given to the governemnt is "power over people" or "power to do what they want"
    I support the first but not the second.

    Ie having lots of systems and checks and balances - but in the end great freedom to take action as required.
    regarding e) there is a question of how you weight different policies - surely we can consider global warming war etc are best decided at a global level and some customs might be better at a local level - but how does one weight them? the former arevastly mroe important but less numerous.

    and b) I think there in a sense is no right "question" but if you had a question and appropriate assumptions then there WILL be an answer and we should find it.
    And that you could construct a "best/agreed question" which is I would say somthing like "utilitarianism" for example.
    sorry if Im hard to follow here.

    finally a) as a concequntialist I think that ends do justify means BUT I think the classic radical actions (like blowing up an abortion clinic) are prone to have massive side effects --- and anyway it is better to focus on the long term strategy which is probably best done via the system.


  4. I didn't think to mention this before, but isn't it actually procedurally conservative to care more about procedures for the sake of stability? It's procedural liberals who are willing to abandon procedural tradition as a means to an end. I think you're a procedural conservative.

  5. Ha, interesting suggestion! I thought "procedural liberal" was the standard term for the position I described here, but perhaps it is a little misleading in light of other uses of the term 'liberal'. (Though I should add that I am happy to abandon procedural tradition in order to replace it with better procedures, say more deliberative democracy, etc. What I see as crucial here is not holding on to tradition per se, but rather the privileging of procedural concerns over first-order ends.)

    Genius - yeah, it takes some simplification to squeeze one's views into these little scales (which - as in the authoritarianism case - may measure more than one thing); just pick whatever seems roughly best to you. Re: (a), of course I'm a consequentialist too, but not of the naive/direct sort, which is what this question is about.


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