Beyond the cult of personality, behind the most divisive issues such as how to fund government and what people can legally do with and to their bodies, there are some fundamental questions that can easily get overlooked. What are your thoughts on these four framework questions?
A. Overall,1 do you believe people are basically bad (1) or good (100)? Try to put a number on it.
B. Overall, do you think the better economic system would reward people based on what they need or on what they deserve (meaning what people will pay for one’s skills/talents/expertise, according to its value to them)? Again, put a number on it, with (1) favoring need and (100) favoring deserve.
Note: admittedly we could have a whole other discussion about what someone “needs” and “deserves.”
C. What do you think are the main functions of government (say, 3-5 of them)? You could do one list for Federal and another for State & Local. If you need inspiration, you can check the preamble of the US Constitution.
D. In an ideal society, what percentage of the wealth created by citizens should go to fund government?2 In other words, what portion of the fruits of your labor should be spent at the discretion of you and your family, and what portion should fund the functions of government you list in Question C?
Now that you’ve clarified your own values about human nature and the role and scope of government, here are a couple of online quizzes you can take to discover your political stripe and find how well a host of candidates match your views.
The Nolan Chart survey asks your opinion on specific topics ranging from health care to foreign policy. Once you answer 10 multiple choice questions, the site will plot you on a 2-dimensional political spectrum that incorporates your views on both economic freedom and personal freedom. (insert the 2 Nolan Chart images here — attached). Are you a liberal, conservative, statist or libertarian? And to what degree? Were there any surprises in the survey’s assessment?
Lastly, The Vote Match quiz offers 20 quick questions over four broad topics: Individual Rights, Domestic Issues, Economic Issues and Defense/International Issues. It shouldn’t take you longer than a minute or two. It then matches your score to how a range of candidates say about and how they have voted on such issues.
Again, did your list turn out the way you thought it would? Were there any surprises?1 Yes, in all these rating questions there will be “it depends” and “in some cases” and innumerable qualifiers. I am asking you to think overall.
2 As a benchmark, all three levels of government consumed 40.6% in 2011 (data from Economic Report of the President, February, 2012.)
Lori is a Denver-area mom to tweens Tessa and Reed. She writes regularly about parenting, mindfulness and occasionally politics at LavenderLuz.com. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption, published by Rowman & Littlefield, will be available in the spring of 2013.