January 31, 2015

Who are the liberals? by James Panero on Dec 02, 2005


Just take James Burnham’s simple test. The test, which appears in Burnham’s Suicide of the West, comes by way of Roger Kimball, who wrote on Burnham last year for TNC. Answer these 39 statements yes or no; information on scoring after.

1. All forms of racial segregation and discrimination are wrong.
2. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion.
3. Everyone has a right to free, public education.
4. Political, economic or social discrimination based on religious belief is wrong.
5. In political or military conflict it is wrong to use methods of torture and physical terror.
6. A popular movement or revolt against a tyranny or dictatorship is right, and deserves approval.
7. The government has a duty to provide for the ill, aged, unemployed and poor if they cannot take care of themselves.
8. Progressive income and inheritance taxes are the fairest form of taxation.
9. If reasonable compensation is made, the government of a nation has the legal and moral right to expropriate private property within its borders, whether owned by citizens or foreigners.
10. We have a duty to mankind; that is, to men in general.
11. The United Nations, even if limited in accomplishment, is a step in the right direction.
12. Any interference with free speech and free assembly, except for cases of immediate public danger or juvenile corruption, is wrong.
13. Wealthy nations, like the United States, have a duty to aid the less privileged portions of mankind.
14. Colonialism and imperialism are wrong.
15. Hotels, motels, stores and restaurants in southern United States ought to be obliged by law to allow Negroes to use all of their facilities on the same basis as whites.
16. The chief sources of delinquency and crime are ignorance, discrimination, poverty and exploitation.
17. Communists have a right to express their opinions.
18. We should always be ready to negotiate with the Soviet Union and other communist nations.
19. Corporal punishment, except possibly for small children, is wrong.
20. All nations and peoples, including the nations and peoples of Asia and Africa, have a right to political independence when a majority of the population wants it.
21. We always ought to respect the religious beliefs of others.
22. The primary goal of international policy in the nuclear age ought to be peace.
23. Except in cases of a clear threat to national security or, possibly, to juvenile morals, censorship is wrong.
24. Congressional investigating committees are dangerous institutions, and need to be watched and curbed if they are not to become a serious threat to freedom.
25. The money amount of school and university scholarships ought to be decided primarily by need.
26. Qualified teachers, at least at the university level, are entitled to academic freedom: that is, the right to express their own beliefs and opinions, in or out of the classroom, without interference from administrators, trustees, parents or public bodies.
27. In determining who is to be admitted to schools and universities, quota systems based on color, religion, family or similar factors are wrong.
28. The national government should guarantee that all adult citizens, except for criminals and the insane, should have the right to vote.
29. Joseph McCarthy was probably the most dangerous man in American public life during the fifteen years following the Second World War.
30. There are no significant differences in intellectual, moral or civilizing capacity among human races and ethnic types.
31. Steps toward world disarmament would be a good thing.
32. Everyone is entitled to political and social rights without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
33. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and expression.
34. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
35. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government.
36. Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security.
37. Everyone has the right to equal pay for equal work.
38. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions.
39. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.


Burnham writes: "A full-blown liberal will mark every one, or very nearly every one, of these thirty-nine sentences, Agree. A convinced conservative will mark many or most of them, a reactionary all or nearly all of them, Disagree.

By giving this test to a variety of groups, I have confirmed experimentally -- what is obvious enough from ordinary discourse -- that the result is seldom an even balance between Agree and Disagree. The correlations are especially stable for individuals who are prepared to identify themselves unequivocally as either ’liberal’ or ’reactionary’: such self-defined liberals almost never drop below 85 percent of Agree answers, or self-defined reactionaries below 85 percent of Disagree; a perfect 100 percent is common.

Certain types of self-styled conservatives yield almost as high a Disagree percentage as the admitted reactionaries. The answers of those who regard themselves as ’moderate conservatives’ or ’traditional conservatives’ and of the rather small number of persons who pretend to no general opinions about public matters show considerably more variation. But in general the responses from this list of thirty-nine sentences indicate that a liberal line can be drawn somewhere ... and that most persons fall fairly definitely (though not in equal numbers) on one side of it or the other.

These sentences were not devised arbitrarily. Many of them are taken directly or adapted from the writings of well-known liberals, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man, or liberal questionnaires that have been put out in recent years by the American Civil Liberties Union. The last eight are quoted verbatim from the United Nations’ ’Universal Declarations of Human Rights,’ adopted in 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly."

Who are the liberals? by James Panero - The New Criterion

Posted by gerardvanderleun at January 31, 2015 11:06 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Interestingly, as a self-identified libertarian, I did split these right down the middle, though on a lot of them I would have objected to the conflation of law and morality on a lot of them. I'm opposed to political discrimination on the basis of religious belief, but not social discrimination, which is an individual freedom (and I'm not sure what "economic discrimination" means, exactly, but it's probably in the same category as social). On #5, I think that war necessarily has a component of "physical terror", if not torture, but I'd be vehemently opposed to either in a "political conflict".

I think that the results of this quiz will have shifted in the modern era of speech codes and left-wing thought policing, unless questions such as 2, 12, 21, 23 and others have always been hypocritical "Agrees". It's hard to imagine anything but a negative response to 27 from leftys of the past 40 years or so, though.

Posted by: Umbriel at January 31, 2015 12:56 PM

Odd, or maybe not. Some of them I didn't like the all or nothing, or the exceptions...maybe I erred on the side of giving greater weight to the statement having ignored political ability to take even good ideas and twist them. 21 no/disagree and 18 yes/agree.

Posted by: Tracy Coyle at January 31, 2015 1:14 PM

>1. All forms of racial segregation and discrimination are wrong.

How are you going to eliminate self-segregation without trashing freedom of association?
I've reached the point were I just can't take a survey that's too careless with the quantifiers.

Posted by: Chris Smith at January 31, 2015 2:56 PM

I don't believe that men have inalienable rights of any kind. "Rights" in this sense do not exist. I believe that every man has the duty to love and serve God, and to love and serve his fellow man, beginning with his own family, then his extended family, then his clan, then his ethnic group, then his nation, and finally the human race in general.

I support such things as retirement pensions, welfare, etc., but only in the context of the nation. (Nation = a society characterized by a common ethnicity, language, religion, and culture). The individual Flemish has the duty to care for his fellow Flemish, a Japanese for the Japanese, Spaniards for Spaniards, etc. Given a true nation-state, I would go so far as to support a guaranteed national income for all citizens. However, in the context of the modern proposition "nation", social welfare is nothing but the means by which the Power Clique buys the votes that keep it in power.

I have no problem with imperialism or colonialism so long as the colonial government in question is Christian in nature and has as its eventual goal the Westernization and independence of the colonized.

Ask yourself, and be honest: Would Africans be better off today if the White man were still running things there? Compare Algeria, Nigeria, Tunisia, and Rhodesia in 1950 to the same places today.

On second though, don't. It'll break your heart.

Posted by: Shibes Meadow at January 31, 2015 3:03 PM

"I believe that every man has the duty..."

People like this would receive a hail of shrapnel upon approaching my property.

"You can only rule yourself and not prohibit others to do the same."
--gs, 2099

Posted by: ghostsniper at January 31, 2015 5:27 PM

what a bunch of shit

Posted by: dr kill at January 31, 2015 6:06 PM

"I am tired of fooling around," he said. "As for the rights of anyone, tell your people they can go fuck themselves." The Colonel by Carolyn Forche

That's the nice thing about reality though, consequences are immediate and proportional: a short'n sharp feedback, no room for dithering excuses. — Remus

Posted by: chasmatic at February 1, 2015 6:21 AM

Robert/Nick: Many thanks forresponses. I had be interested to know associated with virtually any gains to the WEB OPTIMIZATION advertisments when this is certainly put in place.

Posted by: Jersey at February 1, 2015 10:14 AM

Another example of stupidity, ill-defined terms and situation-dependent meanings, clouding lucidity of presentation. Simplicity is not synonymous with clarity!
3. Does having a right, in the questions listed, mean that government must ensure that right is fulfilled? Or does it mean that the individual has the right to get off his ass and work to achieve his right by joining, for example, with other education volunteers to form non-profit schools?
4. Is discrimination based on religious belief wrong if that religious belief demands that you be murdered for lack of that belief?
6. Suppose the popular movement is worse-behaving than the dictatorship -- Communist dictatorships vs Czarist and Chinese Chiang dictatorships, for example.
8. Why not tax people proportionately to the goods and services they derive from taxes paid by others? Why not cut government waste and uselessness by disbanding pork-fat prone agencies readily replaced by voter-controlled state agencies.
13. Yes. To simply serve as an example of what can be accomplished by all if they'd adopt and adapt fair-market capitalism and American founding principles. Time for others to let go of the nipple of dependency and to grow up.
14. Colonialism and imperialism are wrong only when they do more harm than good; ask post-British India and post WW2 Japan and Germany.
29. Read Diana West's last couple of recent books on the McCarthy era and the deliberate errors and and unjustified bad-mouthing of McCarthy's claims about communist influence in US goverment.
This is the same kind of crap that forced Stephen Coughlin out of government for his detailed expose of Islamist infiltration and subversive techniques of our government agencies.

I'd continue, but the drones are circling.

Posted by: Howard Nelson at February 1, 2015 12:40 PM

"Communists have a right to express their opinions."

"Right" is a very cheap word.

Then freedom loving capitalists have a "human right" to piss on their imperial and enslaving opinions and build a flower garden with their putrid remains.

"I could have a million friends. All I'd have to do is change my point of view." -I forget who said it.

Posted by: Denny at February 1, 2015 8:58 PM

Interestingly, as a paleo-Conservative, scored 65% "Agree". Of course, that could simply be because of a strong libertarian streak in my conservatism.

I do agree with others that many of the questions are not geared to discriminating between liberal and conservative, but to the stereotype that conservatives are authoritarian and are against the latest liberal mantra. To wit, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion". In my experience, it is the liberals who tell me that I should not be thinking the way that I do, and conservatives say that your entitled to your opinion (even though it may be wrong -- >).

Posted by: Izzy at February 11, 2015 11:56 AM