The Enhanced-Precision Political Quiz

Version 7 release, updated August 2012. More options. More objective. More up to date. And pretty close to a final version. Please report bugs/omissions in the blog after you are done.

There are multiple-choice questions for each issue, followed by a question on the relative importance of the issues. The property rights questions are in green while the personal freedom issues are in sky blue.

Important note: in the interest of objectivity and flow this version of the Quiz does not strictly order the answers from bigger government down to smaller government as Version 6 did. So read all the options before choosing.

For those looking to test their results with others on a forum from before August 2012, the classic emotion-measuring version is here. But perhaps the better option is to convince the forum members to retake using the new version. It is considerably less biased— maybe even unbiased (whether I completely succeeded in being unbiased is for others to determine).

Trade Policy

The classical economists Adam Smith and David Ricardo made compelling cases for free trade. Specialization and comparative advantage benefit all trading partners. But did their proofs take into account the modern welfare state, minimum wages and pollution regulations? Are first world nations such as the U.S. giving away their seed corn to rising mercantilist powers such as China, while hurting their working classes in the bargain? Then again, what of the complexity, corruption and crony capitalism which can arise when the government tries to offset foreign export subsidies with retaliatory tariffs, counter subsidies, etc.?
What should the U.S. trade policy be?

Military Draft

Our all-volunteer military is working but it is expensive, and federal deficits are ballooning. Furthermore, some people worry that most of our military is coming from limited regions/demographic groups of our country. On the other hand, some say that resorting to a military draft is a form of slavery.
To what degree should military service be voluntary?

Mortgage Crisis

The housing bubble has only partially popped. Despite billions in bailouts, the financial system is still shaky. Millions of homeowners owe more on their homes than their homes are worth. Moving to find a better job is thus hindered. Should we do something more? If so, how do we avoid creating another bubble? Or does a future bubble matter?
What should we do about the ongoing mortgage crisis?

War on Terror

After the World Trade Center attack on 9/11, the United States embarked on a campaign of introducing democracy by force of arms and taking out terrorist cells abroad. It seems to have worked. We have suffered no major terrorist attack at home since, and democracies are sprouting all across the Middle East. But the price has been enormous in terms of treasure and lives lost. Did we overreact? And in the longer run, have the recent wars inspired as many future terrorists as we have taken out? Opinions vary.
What is/was the appropriate military response to terrorism in the 21st Century?

Health Care

Medical costs are exploding, bankrupting individuals, corporations, and governments. Some blame the excessive use of insurance: moral hazards, lack of shopping, blizzards of paperwork. Some blame lawsuits and/or excessive licensing requirements. Others point to lack of preventative care for the poor, and emergency rooms clogged with poor people who cannot get care elsewhere.Recently, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare"), an incredibly complicated piece of legislation which is currently phasing in. Many on both the right and left believe ObamaCare is a mere stepping stone to a single payer system. Others say ObamaCare is pretty close to what the Republicans proposed in response to HillaryCare.
What should we do about exploding health care costs?


Marijuana is in many ways as soft or softer a drug than currently legal drugs. It is far less addictive than tobacco, and induces far less belligerent behavior than alcohol. Making marijuana illegal is Prohibition all over again, an enormous subsidy for gangs and organized crime. Then again, marijuana does have health hazards, and long term use can cause paranoia and resistance to "working for The Man." Can we field an army with marijuana legal?
Should marijuana be legalized?

Public Education

Public education is a key component to a successful democracy, or an example of democratic socialism — depending on whom you ask. Regardless, pundits all over the political spectrum claim that U.S. public schools are worse than they should be. They point to better test scores by students all over the world to back their assertions.
Should our system of public education be significantly reformed?

Hard Drugs

Hard drugs such as cocaine and opiates are dangerous, both to the users and those around the users. They are addictive as well, so the “right to choose” argument is weaker than it is for softer drugs like marijuana. On the other hand, making these drugs illegal subsidizes dangerous criminal gangs, and diverts users from the dilute forms (coca leaf tea, smoked opium gum) to the more concentrated forms (crack, heroin).Finally, because discrete drug use is operationally a victimless crime, we require police state tactics in order to have any chance at successful enforcement.
Should we change our laws against hard drugs?

Other Welfare Programs

Work is not always available, or the pay is not enough to live on. Bad decisions and bad luck happen. Without some time of safety net (either public or private) people suffer even in a wealthy society. However, many claim that existing welfare programs discourage work, saving, marriage, and other productive habits. And government welfare as a whole is bankrupting the nation. Finally, many people are falling through the cracks of the existing system. Though the government spends billions, many poor people still suffer today.
Should we change or eliminate our government welfare system? (For the purposes of this question, don’t consider Social Security, healthcare programs, or public education, as we cover those elsewhere. Also, do not consider government aid for the truly handicapped as part of this question; let’s just consider those who don’t need a caregiver or be institutionalized.)


The United States and other developed nations have welfare systems and minimum wage/job conditions laws designed to set a minimum standard of living for all citizens. This minimum standard is way above the standard of living for billions of people in poorer nations. This leads to massive immigration pressure. Immigrants — legal and illegal — enter rich nations like the U.S. willing to do hard jobs at minimum wage or less. Consumers of their labor benefit, but many citizen laborers suffer and some of them go on welfare raising the general tax burden. We currently set immigration quotas far below the demand, with the result of millions of illegal aliens residing within the land. Since they are illegally here, they cannot safely call the police, so alien communities are ripe pickings for organized crime. But getting them out would be a civil liberties nightmare.
What should the U.S. immigration policy be?


The Second Amendment was written in a time of open frontiers and muskets.Today, gunfire disturbs the peace of our public housing projects and mad men gun down crowds with large clip semi-automatic weapons. Then again, guns can also deter crime, and an armed populace can make life difficult for an aspiring tyrant...
To what degree should guns be regulated/restricted in the modern age?

Sex Industry

If you own your body, why can’t you sell it or images thereof? On the other hand, love and marriage are precious and declining. If cracking down the sex industry would save marriages, then wouldn’t this be worth the price? But is the sex industry responsible for the decline of marriage?
To what degree should the sex industry be legal?

Social Security

Like a Ponzi scheme, Social Security was a fantastic deal for the first recipients, and a less good deal for those coming in late. Unlike a Ponzi scheme, Social Security is theoretically sustainable as long as we are willing to set taxes high enough to handle two workers per retiree. Defenders of Social Security can point to its safety; detractors can point to how the major stock indices have outpaced wages even taking into account recessions.
How should we fund Social Security as the Baby Boomers retire? Should we continue Social Security?


When is abortion murder and when is it the moral equivalent of clipping fingernails? Opinions differ. Should we leave this question purely as a matter of personal choice or should the State intervene at some point?
At what stage in pregnancy should abortion become illegal? (Not counting medical necessity.)


How important is each issue? Which issues most affect your votes? (You can skip this section if you consider all issues equally important.)
Who cares? Somewhat Important Very Important