Libertarian Socialism: An Intersection of Political Values

So it has been a discussion among my internet friends lately that we are often talking into an echo chamber of people who share our exact political beliefs. So this quiz was posted and many of us discussed our results (mine is shown below, and I’ll break it down in a minute), most of which were variations on a theme. This really made me think about my political beliefs. Personally, I am much more passionate about individual issues than parties or schools of political thought, which in reality means I haven’t ever really done  my research about what these various schools of thought represent. As I (and many others) become more politically active in the current cultural climate, it is ever more important to know what we stand for.

Results of a political values quiz, result: Libertarian Socialism

The results from my quiz were interesting to me, and perhaps a little different than I was expecting. The website gives a pretty good breakdown of what it all means, but obviously this varies from person to person based on their values. My result surprised me, and almost made me feel repulsed for a moment, so I thought I would dive in further and find out what it all means.

First, let’s break down what the eight different values represent as a whole, and in relation to me:

Economic Axis: Social

The higher side of this axis for me is Equality (74.4%): “Those with higher Equality scores believe the economy should distribute value evenly among the populace.” As a person who spent much of her childhood only able to survive because of social programs like Medicare and Food Stamps, this makes sense. Even though I am now a self-sufficient adult who no longer needs this assistance, I want it to be available to those who need it. The other side of this axis is Markets (25.6%): “Those with higher Market scores believe the economy should be focused on rapid growth.” I support the growth of markets, but I also think that it isn’t the most important priority.

Diplomatic Axis: Peaceful

The higher end of this axis for me was World (72.3%): “[People with high World scores] often believe in a peaceful foreign policy, emphasizing diplomacy, cooperation, integration, and at high values, a world government.” As a person with international friends and a love of the world as a whole, it makes send that this percentage is high. I am a person who strongly opposes violence unless there is no other option, and I think that the world is a better place when countries work together. The other end of this axis is Nation (27.7%): “Those with higher Nation scores are patriotic and nationalist. They often believe in an aggressive foreign policy, valuing the military, strength, sovereignty, and at high values, territorial expansion.” This doesn’t fit me, because even though most days I am proud of my country, I don’t think they are the best (sorry!). I know there are always ways for countries to improve, including my own.

Civil Axis: Libertarian

The high end of this axis for me is Liberty (76.2%): “Those with higher Liberty scores believe in strong civil liberties.” I am definitely a strong and passionate proponent for equal rights for all people, and I believe that government interference in what we do with our bodies and the like should be minimal, but at the same time, I know that government and authority is necessary for a society to function. I’m not an anarchist, and I know that a decentralization of government just isn’t practical, and would do more harm than good. The other end of this axis is Authority (23.8%): “Those with higher Authority believe in strong state power.” This includes things like being in favor of censorship and government surveillance, both of which are things I do not support, so it makes sense that this percentage is low for me.

Societal Axis: Very Progressive

The highest percentage axis leaning of all of these for me was Progress (77.4%): “Those with higher Progress scores believe in social change and rationality.” The 8values website also goes on to say that these people are usually secular or atheist (I am United Methodist), but the rest of this fits me very well. I am deeply passionate about the environment and fighting climate change, as well as scientific innovation in medicine. This means that the other end of this axis was my lowest score, Tradition (22.6%): “Those with higher Tradition scores believe in traditional values and strict adherence to a moral code.” I like to think I have a strong moral code, and I do not necessarily think that these two side of the axis should have to be in direct opposition to one another. I believe the world needs change. which is most likely why this score is so low for me.

So what does this mean?

8values is honest that “This is a work in progress and is much less accurate than the values and axes, so don’t take it too seriously.” I’m gonna take this information with a grain of salt, because to be honest, the thought that I am a libertarian socialist freaks me out a bit (just look at this Wikipedia page, don’t you feel overwhelmed?). This quiz definitely made me think a lot more about what I believe in, and where I got those beliefs. I think on what my parents believe in (they don’t like socialism or government interference in life), what my religion tells me (progressive, but not as progressive as I am), and I have really gained more perspective on who I am. Am I a libertarian socialist as this quiz leads me to believe? I’m not so sure…

Did you take this quiz? Did this change the way you think about your political beliefs? Post your results below! 

Race to the Red Planet: Mars 2033

I’m really passionate about space. A lot of the reason I got a degree in physics is due to a childhood passion for the cosmos. I wanted to be an astronaut more than anything as a child. To be able to see the vast expanse of the universe and do research that would change the world? That’s the dream for me. Unfortunately, I have a bad knee and have terrible vision, and astronauts have to be in prime physical condition. So instead, I find the wonders of the universe in physics.

Space travel has become more and more prominent in recent years due to its integration into the private sector via organizations like Space X, who also strive to make reusable rockets, instead of our current unsustainable single use rockets. But what does this mean for NASA? And what does it mean for those of us who hope to go to space but aren’t astronauts? Private sector organizations show the world that anyone can go to space if they have the money, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a good idea.

Funding has just been granted to NASA for a program that intends to launch a manned mission to Mars in 2033, which seems like a long way off, but is a huge step in space exploration, and will even effect the way we live life on Earth. Some of the most revolutionary leaps in technology and medicine have been products of the space program. Research happens at the International Space Station each and every day,  a worldwide collaboration in discovery. They aren’t the only ones headed to the Red Planet though. The private organization Mars One intends to make a permanent colony on Mars along the same timeline NASA has for its manned mission, but this plan seems overly ambitious and unrealistic.

The main differences between these private organizations and NASA are funding, accessibility to civilians, and rules about what we are allowed to do on the Martian surface. Where Mars One and even Space X want to colonize on Mars (though with very different methods), NASA wants to explore the surface, gaining scientific knowledge with minimal disruption to the planet’s surface. The NASA Office of Planetary Protection strives to make sure that we do not harm the places we explore.

I have all the hope in the world for future space travel. The biggest thing holding the human race back from getting people to Mars is due to money, because space travel is really expensive. There is much to be gained from space travel, but only by working together on an international scale will we have the skills we need to truly discover the secrets of the universe.

What do you want the future of space travel to be? Should humans live on Mars?