Right or Left: What Am I?
I've mentioned here before that I get a kick out of some on the Right calling me a "left winger"- one prominent local Republican referring to me once as a "left wing extremist"- and those on the Left referring to me as a conservative or, as someone recently described me in an e-mail, a "right wing Republican in Libertarian clothes". I figure that puts me somewhere in the middle?
Of course, the political spectrum is more complicated than can be described as being on a left/ right axis. It's more along the line as is shown in the political grid map of the World's Smallest Political Quiz, which I've linked to here before. But even that's a little bit simple in trying to indentify a political ideology, since it's based on a limited number of issues.
So what exactly am I? I consider myself a libertarian- not sure whether of the small or large L variety. Let's look at a few current issues and see whether my position fits with the Right or Left as we commonly identify them:
Same Sex Marriage: I've gone on record a number of times as being a supporter of same sex marriages. I feel safe in saying that puts me at odds with the vast majority of Right Wingers.
Invasion and Occupation of Iraq: I've tried to avoid the Iraq issue here, for the most part, but I was strongly opposed to the invasion before it happened and still am. I suppose that would put me at odds with the Right, but, there are a number of conservatives and/ or Right Wing types- Pat Buchanan quickly comes to mind- that opposed the invasion of Iraq. I would tend to think support of military action would be considered Right Wing amongst most people (although it isn't), so I would probably differ with the Right on that.
Drug War: The vast majority on the Right support the continued prohibition of recreational drugs, but so do many in the Center and, yes, the Left. Opposition to the drug war is pretty much a Libertarian position.
Pollution Controls: Advocacy for more stringent controls on pollutants would be belong with the Left and opposition to more controls usually goes to the Right. I'm probably somewhere in the middle on that issue but would probably lean more in with the Right if I looked at it closer.
Forestry Practices: Advocacy for more controls on private use of forest land and acquisition of more "public" lands clearly goes to the Left. I probably hang with the Right on that one as I think we have more than enough government land now and more than enough restrictions on private land already.
Campaign Finance Reform (CFR): While it seems that's a Left issue, I know of those with the Right who promote different laws to "take money out of politics" too, but I'll brand that a Left issue. I tend to dismiss proposals that end up making it more difficult for people to run for office.
I'm a bit more ameanable to limits on contributions, all else still being equal, but think the vast majority of campaign reform effort is just feel good legislation. I probably hang more with the Right on this one as they're the ones we hear the most about "freedom of speech" being attacked via CFR legislation.
Education: Since the Right generally shares my belief in separation of School and State, I'd generally put myself on their side on that one. I think as long as government schools and rest of the Educational- Industrial Complex is run by politicians, bureaucrats and the teacher's unions, they're a lost cause.
Ok. That's just the issues that came to mind right away. I know I'm forgetting some but from those issues alone that has me right leaning with the Drug War being more of a strictly libertarian issue that I don't feel could really put into the Left category. Most people might feel it is a Left issue. Any obvious common issues I missed?