Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Compasses and directions 

I had two curiously connected yet disjointed Web experiences this morning. First, I read Mark Sherman's AP story posted on Yahoo! News about a Federal judge ordering the Bush régime to either charge or free José Padilla, an American citizen being unconstitutionally detained as an " enemy combatant" for 2-1/2 years without ever having had formal charges laid against him. While this should be cause for celebration by any who respect the rule of law and the theory that government should be responsible to its citizens rather than its rulers, many of my fellow Americans seem to take a different view. For those with strong stomachs not easily swayed by utter lack of civility, you may find the Yahoo! discussion board for that article interesting. Those of us who were hoping to be able to go home in our lifetimes to a Constitutionally-governed country may be at variance with foreseeable reality.

The other discovery of the morning was the Political Compass website, which has an interesting little survey - rank yourself along a two-dimensional grid, liberal-conservative and authoritarian-libertarian. Roughly in line with my expectations, my scores came out as :
Economic Left/Right: -8.38 (leaving the neighbourhood of moderately leftish) and
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.15 (somewhat less libertarian than I expected).
One might ponder on the choice of assignment of negative values to the left or to libertarianism. However, for those of you who remember your middle-school geometry and trigonometry, a standard grid is ordinarily drawn with increasing values to the right and top from a central origin point. I'm sure some authoritarian righty will find fair to bash the "negative" libertarians or liberals. It saves him the trouble of coming up with a substantive argument.

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