Who gets your vote now that Ron Paul is no longer on the ballot in most states? Liberty Maven’s newest contributing author, Mark Keller charts the candidates on the Nolan Chart to help you decide.
Some people seem to always vote for the candidate from their chosen party. Others vote for whomever they believe to be the “lesser of two evils”. I, personally, am a great advocate of voting on principle ― voting for the person who most aligns with your views, no matter their party or chance of winning. Determining who that candidate is takes a good deal of research. Detailed analysis of a candidate’s positions on a wide variety of issues is highly important. But when you’re slogging through so much information, it can be hard to compare the different people running for office. How much are these two guys alike? Exactly how authoritarian is this person’s viewpoint?
And that’s where fun stuff like graphs and quizzes come into play. A great way of displaying how a certain political philosophy fits into the spectrum of thought is by means of the Nolan Chart. This is a square (or diamond-shaped) diagram, with a coordinate system charting varying amounts of economic and personal freedom. With the four corners mapped to the extremes of libertarian (absolute freedom), conservative (economic freedom, but government regulation of personal lives), statist or authoritarian (absolute government control), and liberal (personal freedom, economic regulation) viewpoints, any person or candidate’s beliefs can be pretty well reduced to a point on the graph.
An excellent way of figuring out where you (or the candidate you’re considering) fits on the spectrum, is by means of the World’s Smallest Political Quiz. In it, you indicate whether you agree with ten statements about economic and personal freedom, and then are shown where your views fit on the Nolan Chart. It’s quick, it’s simple, and it’s pretty accurate.
I got the idea, a few days ago, to try to figure out what answers the six major presidential candidates would give, if they took the quiz. So, after a lot of research and discussion, I took the quiz for each one of them, and put all their scores together on a single graph, for easy comparison, as you can see in the image above.
The findings were kind of surprising. I would have expected Chuck Baldwin to be closer to the conservative part of the chart, and I didn’t think Bob Barr would be quite so libertarian. Nor did I realize how nearly identical McKinney and Nader were on everything! But McCain and Obama both are, predictably, found in the statist quadrant. Now this isn’t a completely comprehensive score (there are, after all, only ten questions), so there’s a little room for error. And there’s no indication of their views on foreign policy, for example. But you can check the data for each candidate, yourself, at the bottom of this post, where I’ve got an explanation on why I gave them the answer I did on each question.
I doubt anyone will be changing their mind on who to vote for, this late in the season (today, is, after all, election day), but this info should, at least, give you something to think about. And if, in fact, you haven’t voted yet and are still undecided, taking the quiz and comparing your score to the candidates might be helpful.
I’ll leave you with this quote from John Quincy Adams:
Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone; and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.
And now, get out and hit the polls!
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