When I saw the headline at The Fix, “Proud to be an American? You’re probably not a true liberal,” I thought, Well, that’s yet another reason why I’m not a liberal.
At least, not as the term is popularly defined. There are a lot of points of alienation between me and today’s “liberals” beyond the fact that Michele Obama set my teeth on edge when she said, “for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country…”
And yet, the study upon which the piece was based, by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, says I fit in a category that has “left” in its name.
Specifically, it thinks I fit in the “Faith and Family Left,” one of eight “political typologies” into which it separates Americans. The category is described thusly:
The Faith and Family Left combine strong support for activist government with conservative attitudes on many social issues. They are very racially diverse – this is the only typology group that is “majority-minority.” The Faith and Family Left generally favor increased government aid for the poor even if it adds to the deficit and believe that government should do more to solve national problems. Most oppose same-sex marriage and legalizing marijuana and most say religion and family are at the center of their lives. Compare groups on key issues.
So, Pew thinks I’m a black preacher or something. OK, I’m certainly more comfortable being that that I am as “Solid Liberal” or “Steadfast Conservative.” I’m even pleased with the “Faith and Family” part, but I could do without the “left” part. Because you know how the current “left” and “right” repel me.
Pew’s questionnaire forced me into that box with questions that had no right answer. Take this one, for instance:
Like the Kulturkampf battle between faith and science, this is framed as a false and unnecessary choice. I don’t hold either of those positions. I clicked on the second one because I HAD to choose. But as you know, my belief is that we have not given up privacy and freedom in order to be safe from terrorism — which the libertarians believe is false. Since we haven’t been asked to do that, then it obviously isn’t necessary.
But a casual observer would read that response and think that I’m in the Edward Snowden camp, arguing against surveillance programs. Which is 180 degrees from where I am, as you know. I think the NSA programs are fine. I just don’t think they intrude on our privacy or freedom.
What I needed was an option like, “Our current security measures are fine, and don’t infringe our privacy or freedom. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluded.” That I could have clicked on happily.
There were a bunch of questions like that. Which causes me to doubt the value of the survey.
And yet, when I had glanced at the categories before I took the survey, my first impression was that if I fit in any of them, it would be the one called “Faith and Family” leaving out the “left” bit.
So maybe there’s something to this method after all.
Maybe you should take it, and see where you end up. Here’s the link.