Instead of being social, I'm sort of goofing off and sort of trying to clean a little (after being inspired by Rebel's bout of weekend cleaning). I just took a sort of interesting but sort of dumb quiz at The Political Compass that is designed to situate people on a political spectrum with two dimensions (social and economic), the theory being that it is more insightful than the traditional single-dimension left-to-right spectrum. I agree wholeheartedly with the concept, because socially, I consider myself highly liberal, but economically, I'm moderate-to-conservative. It's why I'm hesitant to classify myself as a Democrat (but I do anyway, more or less). Anyway, after taking the website's quiz, here's where I'm supposedly situated on the compass:
The Political Compass
Economic Left/Right: -2.75
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.00
Obviously I expected to land closer to the "Libertarian" end of the Social spectrum than the "Authoritarian" end. I'm certainly not a Libertarian (as an overall ideology, I think it's pretty dumb), but I support legalized marijuana and abortion, I oppose the death penalty, I am concerned by anti-terror curbing of civil liberties, etc. But I really don't consider myself to be as economically "lefty" as the quiz is telling me that I am. The reason for the discrepancy brings me to why I think the quiz was kind of stupid: some of the questions had (in my opinion) flawed premises and therefore elicited very misleading answers from me. For example: "The only social responsibility of a company should be to deliver a profit to its shareholders." Well, in theory, I strongly agree with this statement. Companies aren't designed to make the world a better place, and that's not what they exist for. They exist to make profits, and that is what they should do. But what of the environment, the downsized employees, etc? Well, the environmental costs of what the company does should be paid by the business along with all of its other costs through very carefully designed regulatory systems. That way, the business only polutes to the extent that it is profitable to do so (keeping in mind that it's probably not profitable to pollute very much, because pollution is very expensive when you have to pay for all of its consequences). Companies should support the employees that they lay off by paying high taxes that ensure that the government can afford really good public health care, retraining programs, etc.
My point is, I don't think it is the responsibility of a company to be anything other than a ruthless little profit machine. I think it is the responsibility of government, not business, to protect its people and its environment. Business should merely be made to pay their fair share in order to help the government do all this (after all, government is gracious enough to support the legal and property rights that businesses rely on).
So in retrospect, I should have answered that question with a "strongly agree", but instead I said "disagree" because I don't think that business should be given the latitude to tromp all over people and the environment, and I feel like that's what the question was implicitly asking. But maybe I was overthinking the whole thing. But this also brings me to the point that my actual view involves a pretty powerful federal government that collects a lot of taxes and does a lot of stuff, which should probably scoot me a bit closer to the "Authoritarian" end of things.
Yeah, so, did I mention how bored I am?