Heh! Libertarians Aren’t Libertarian!!!!! Or Something.

I thought I’d do something fun today, for New Years, while giving people something to consider.  As it turns out, this was a bit more work than I wanted it to be.  So, forgive me if this seems a bit incomplete.

Survey | 2013 American Values Survey: In Search of Libertarians in America

In my internet travels, I ran across a survey which hits upon a topic I’ve written about in the past, that is, what is and isn’t a libertarian, and, how does that fit with the proper noun, Libertarian.

I’ve noted in the past that there seems to be a disconnect between the big “L” Libertarians, and the little “l” libertarians. I thought it was kind of funny how the Brookings Institute handled this. They made their own definition of “libertarian”. Indeed, they’ve come up with a simple little questionnaire to allow you to determine if you are or aren’t “libertarian”. We all do love labels, no?

For the record, let me state what I believe makes a libertarian. This would be a person who’s default view is that anyone can do anything they choose, as long as it doesn’t infringe upon someone else. Also, while they believe the central power of the federal (and state) government should be severely limited, they understand the need for some governance. This separates them from anarchists. A libertarian understands confiscation of wealth, typically through taxes, is an inhibition to the liberties of the individual. The onus of success, or failure, fails to the individual.

Now under this definition, many of us would be libertarian. However, as the image above indicates, because of the esteem they hold for individual liberties, they have an aversion to Puritanical religious imposition. This causes them to be somewhat antagonistic to the religious right. A much too simplistic way to consider libertarians are fiscally conservative but, morally liberal. Brookings Institution’s Public Religion Research Institute tries to address and quantify this. To the survey …….

According to a newly developed Libertarian Orientation Scale, less than 1-in-10 (7%) Americans are consistent libertarians, and an additional 15% lean libertarian. At the other end of the spectrum, an equal number of Americans are consistent communalists (7%), and an additional 17% lean communalist. A majority (54%) of Americans have a mixed ideological profile, falling in between libertarian and communalist orientations.

Now, if you’re like me, you want a peek at the Libertarian Orientation Scale.  And, this is where I thought we could have some fun.  I thought I’d give the survey and let the readers see if, according to PRRI, whether or not we’re libertarian.

WordPress has this cool thing with Poll Daddy, which allows me to build polls and surveys.  Of course, like all things, one gets to pay for the deluxe package.  So, we’ve got what we got.

This survey is a 7-point Likert scale.  1 being you strongly agree and 7 being you strongly disagree, 4 being ambivalent.  PRRI also added a statement to reflect to opposite end of the spectrum.

Now, before you take the survey, and this is important!!!  Don’t click finish before you tally your answers!!! During the test run, it just took mine and said thanks.  So, tally your answers, and your total will place you in what PRRI thinks you’re at on the libertarian scale.

Then, after that, I’ve a poll, to where we can see where the readers of suyts are at!

Survey is here ….  http://suyts.polldaddy.com/s/are-you-a-libertarian 

Then the poll  

Lastly, it thought it would be interesting for readers to see these results from PRRI ….



Hopefully, I got the scaling right.  I’m using a different editor than I usually use.  But, this demonstrates a disparity in people who self identify as libertarians, and what PRRI believes is libertarian.

There’s a lot more to say about all of this, but, I’m done playing with this stuff.  So, enjoy and see where you’re at and let us know!!!


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27 Responses to Heh! Libertarians Aren’t Libertarian!!!!! Or Something.

  1. suyts says:

    Turns out, according to PRRI, I’m a libertarian. I would have thought I’d more fit in with “libertarian leanings”, but, that’s just according to PRRI.

  2. Bruce says:

    Nice polls you set up Suyts! I didn’t get a result for the are-you-a-libertarian one. Should I have?

    The graphic shows what the problem with survey stats is: a third to a half of self ID’ed ‘libertarians’ are using a different definition for what the term means politically. I suspect cannabis legalisation people all regard themselves as libertarian, which may well be true in that very narrow sense…except in many cases these people otherwise are to the left of Lenin.

    • suyts says:

      Thanks!! The compliment makes up for the demerit you get for not reading my post in its entirety!!! (Just ribbing!!) No, it doesn’t tally for you. I think it would if I paid for an upgrade. So, you have to tally it yourself. Score is the sum of the answers. It should let you take it again if you don’t remember.

      And, yes, I agree, some self-ID’d libertarians only do so because of the cannabis advocacy. And, yes, I’d consider them somewhere close to Lenin, otherwise. This is the problem with the big L libertarians.

      • Bruce says:

        Quite true. ‘Tally’ escaped my brain for some reason. New year’s resolution: get a new one. And eyes.

        I had another look at the survey and I’m probably only about three points out on the poll. Good enough for government work.

  3. DirkH says:

    Iwas on the extreme end (!) for nearly all questions but in the middle for availability of guns. You can hand out Marihuana to a crazy person, but you shouldn’t hand out a gun to a crazy person. So test them first, or go back to institutionalizing crazy people. Yeah I know, that brings the problem with it that the government gets to decide who’s crazy but it’s not a simple problem.

  4. Me says:

    I scored a 29! 😆

  5. suyts says:

    Cool, maybe by the end of the day I’ll tally the survey and see where the average is.

    • Me says:

      Normally I don’t do surveys because they word it to get their desired results no matter how you do them, but your’s was straight foreward.

      • rg says:

        Agree, liked the straight foreward questions. Didn’t expect to find myself so far libertarian
        (24) Would have described self more leaning to middle of road. Nice poll

    • suyts says:

      Well, thanks, but, with only minor modifications (because of word limits) that was the survey PRRI did. But, yeh, most of them want to elicit a certain response. In this one, there’s no response I was looking for, just curious, and I thought others would be too. Something kinda fun to do.

  6. rg says:

    If you find yourself bored – since the NFL is starting to wind down, you could throw up a sunday poll on controversial topics of the week. Tally the results and sit back and watch the comments commence. Hey, just trying to keep you busy! 🙂

  7. leftinflagstaff says:

    Yep. Libertarian. 21. But I knew that already. 🙂

    And yes, this labeling is really kinda silly. The only label we should concern ourselves with is ‘American.’ The label too many of us, and too many of our leaders, are rejecting lately.

  8. cdquarles says:

    I’ve been a libertarian for a very long time, due to the corruption of the word liberal. I’ve been a member of the Libertarian party locally, but tend to not vote for the national candidates. They’re too crazy. I have been a member of the Republican party, national and local, but can’t stomach the establishment.

    In Alabama, you do not register by party. You ID yourself at primary elections, for the purposes of nominating candidates for the General election. Since we like to limit government waste, such elections often get combined with other ballot measures. If you vote in the primary, you pledge to vote for that party in the General election. AFAIK there’s no penalty for changing your mind in the interim .).

  9. copernicus34 says:


  10. HankH says:

    I scored a hard libertarian (19).

    I would differ with part of your definition of a libertarian though. You say:

    This would be a person who’s default view is that anyone can do anything they choose, as long as it doesn’t infringe upon someone else.

    That sentence is accurate in describing the default view of a libertine. A libertarian is very often a moralist opposed to behavior that goes against the interests and betterment of society even if the behavior doesn’t infringe upon someone else. Libertarians tend to be vocal advocates of responsible personal conduct towards others both privately and publicly. We tend to see liberals and libertines as having similar moral compasses which is why we tend to be more comfortable around social conservatives.

    • suyts says:

      Heh, it comes down to labels we wish to attach to ourselves. I’m a conservative with libertarian leanings. But, the survey says I’m a libertarian. You can say you’re a libertarian, but, most of your views are like mine, and mine, yours.

      But, that was my point. Who defines what we are? I think, we’re better to define ourselves rather than let someone else do so.

      • HankH says:

        We indeed have very similar views. If someone were to ask me if I were a conservative or a liberal, I would answer a conservative without hesitation. That said, I’ve always identified myself as a libertarian but not a Libertarian – the distinction between viewpoint and party. As you make the point, there are those distinctly different labels.

  11. B.C. says:

    I scored an “18”. Putting hard labels on people is the Left’s way of dividing and conquering. They try to put everyone into their various little grievance groups and pit them against each other so that there’s no single group large enough to throw them (the Left) out of power. The only “group” that’s going to matter, in the long run, is the one that is well-armed and remembers what the root of the word “libertarian” means.

  12. dan says:

    Well …that was enlightening….I scored less than Ron Paul 😉
    I expected it to reveal that I was a
    conservative anarchist along with Attila the Hun

  13. kelly liddle says:

    In theory the poll can only work for Americans because we all have different sized governments and behave in very different ways internationally. It is true that many self identifying Libertarians are concerned with their personal pet issue

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