Civil Liberties

I Like Socialism. Also Capitalism. Also Family Values.


So here's a chart from the fine folks at the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press:

who are the 10 percent against civil rights?

As Bret Jacobson points out over at Big Government, it's a disappointing finish for libertarians, especially when compared with the high marks for progressivism. But things get even more disappointing when you realize that the people who answered this poll—a handy cross-section of the American population—have no idea what these words mean:

Perhaps surprisingly, opinions about the terms "socialism" and "capitalism" are not correlated with each other. Most of those who have a positive reaction to "socialism" also have a positive reaction to "capitalism"; in fact, views of "capitalism" are about the same among those who react positively to "socialism" as they are among those who react negatively (52% and 56%, respectively, view "capitalism" positively). Conversely, views of "socialism" are just as negative among those who have a positive reaction to "capitalism" (64% negative) as those who react negatively (61% negative).

UPDATE: Whoops. My esteemed colleague Tim Cavanaugh posted this yesterday. His take here.

NEXT: R.I.P. Angus Maddison

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  1. This got posted yesterday, Katherine. By Tim, I think. I blame sage.

    1. We’re not here to point fingers. But I got your “blame” swingin’ right here.

      1. You have a lot of chutzpah, talking to me like that. I’m amazed you can even see your penis through your colossal rolls of fat. You disgust me. Not as much as NutraSweet does, but damn, you’re close.

        1. The important thing is that you can see it when it’s thwappin’ you on the forehead. Now quit talking and smile like a doughnut.

          1. My, you’re randy today. Been looking at pictures of Don Draper all morning?

            1. I had to look that up. No dude, I was thinking of you the whole time!

              1. Even better! Any flattery is good flattery.

              2. sage, sage, sage, do you have no women in your life to explain to you the gloriousness that is Jon Hamm?

                1. Apparently they’re keeping it from me.

          2. you can see it when it’s thwappin’ you on the forehead

            A real teabagger.

            Why doesn’t spellcheck know the words: thwapping, teabagger, or spellcheck.

      2. Blame swing. Like a pleasure swing, only with more finger-pointing.

        Suck make sure to put it into a joist so it can hold the weight.

  2. This is what happens when a slightly left-of-center politician is called a socialist for a few years.

    1. Hey look, another guy who doesn’t know that there is no contradiction in calling a “slightly left-of-center politician” a socialist. Here, this will clear it up: http://www.commentarymagazine……ama–15421

  3. But things get even more disappointing when you realize that the people who answered this poll?a handy cross-section of the American population?have no idea what these words mean

    That’s because they don’t mean much of anything anymore. “Socialism” especially has come to mean “anything the government does that I don’t like” for much of the population.


    2. Smith quickly reached for the suicide switch. Better to die a Kullollich’s death than to suffer as a Rylanjulanio, he thought as he flipped it.

  4. That is why I said the poll is meaningless when Cavenaugh posted it like it was profound. People either don’t know or have divergent ideas about what the terms mean. So, the response say nothing about what kind of government they actually want.

    1. Still wrong about this, John. It matters because it helps with branding. So people are stupid. Tell me something I didn’t know. This does. I only wish it included labels like “statist” and “collectivist” becasue I use them a lot, but with mixed reactions.

      1. Yeah that is it. You can sell unpopular ideas by just re-branding them.

        1. Why shouldn’t our political masters learn from our economic masters?

        2. Reading comprehension fail, John (not that I’m surprised, you’re a master of distortion). I said it “helps,” not that a simple rebranding will accomplish the goal. Look around for a change. I cite reality and history. There’s a reason liberals are calling themselves progressives now. Their politics haven’t changed. Their ideas haven’t. But they can sell them better.

          1. Of course, they already did that with the move from “progressive” to “liberal”.

            My pet theory is that it only changes when the emotions to the answer to “progressive toward what” changes. Chew on that.

  5. 37% negative and 38% positive for libertarianism? Does that mean 25% of them didn’t even recognize the word enough to have any reaction? Whereas “Progressive,” a term that literally means nothing in a political sense other then “I’m afraid to call myself a redistributionist” has a 91% recognition rate?

    Behold the power of public education and the MSM.

    1. Having no meaning is what helps the term “progressive”. It lets people project what they like onto the term.

      1. “Progressive” does have a meaning. It means somebody who is actively working to improve society. It’s the opposite of “Conservative” who is someone who wants to preserve society the way it is or go back to the way it was.

        1. Dan we are talking about reality here, not the voices inside your head.

          1. Now that’s rich…libertarians are all about theory and never about reality.

            1. John actually had a point there. “Progressive” has this meaning to you. We don’t know what it meant to the respondents. Hence, you are, in a sense, talking about the voices in your end.

        2. Don’t feed the troll, people.

          1. You talking about John or Dan T. because these days I really don’t know.

            1. John and I have our disagreements, and they are sometimes very deep, but he’s not a troll–or, more precisely, a greifer–like Shitbrains. Shitbrains has only one purpose: to be annoying in order to fill the black hole of infantile need in him for attention.

              He can’t get it from his dead-eyed wife during the 30 seconds he attempts to penetrate her while she lies there like a meaty credenza knowing, but still praying, it will be over soon so that she can take a scalding hot shower and drink herself into oblivion so she won’t shudder at his every touch in the night as he farts and moans next to her.

              1. Thanks for the visual.

              2. Wow SF, very descriptive. Now the rest of my day is ruined.

              3. Wait, why is Shitbrains entitled to his own farts but the rest of us aren’t?

        3. “Progressive” does have a meaning. It means somebody who is actively working to improve society. It’s the opposite of “Conservative” who is someone who wants to preserve society the way it is or go back to the way it was.

          And your very definition shows why the term “Progressive” is meaningless. Although you don’t wish to accept it, it can encompass “conservative” also, since “conservatives” are “actively working to improve society”, but their perception is that X, Y, or Z “change” is a detriment.

          1. I resent the charge.

        4. Improve yourself. Leave me the hell out of it. You can’t, can you? That is why progressives suck ass.

        5. “Progressive” does have a meaning…

          Yes, it means someone who wants to move society forward to the time when groups would throw all the animals killed for the day into one big pot and hand out the meat in equal shares.

        6. “Progressive” does have a meaning. It means somebody who is actively working to improve society. It’s the opposite of “Conservative” who is someone who wants to preserve society the way it is or go back to the way it was.

          Improving society and “going back” are not opposites. I’d like to improve society by going back to a time before the PATRIOT Act. People who lived during times of prohibition may have wanted to improve society by going back to legal alcohol.

          As for preserving society, I’ve never witnessed any politician of any stripe who wanted to be elected in order to do literally nothing. If you have, please let me know who–I’d support such a person sooner than nearly all of our current crop.

      2. Well, libertarianism has a meaning and all kind of crazy crap is projected on it. It’s just human nature, I guess. I would like to see the poll with things defined.

        I’m surprised capitalism did so well since “progressives” have defined it as “baby-eating” since the fall of the USSR.

    2. You’re just bitter that your own category–“people who espouse the personal philosophy of Grimace from McDonalds”–wasn’t on the list. I think you’re better off not knowing what people think of you.

      1. “Can the virus kill the Grimace?”

        “Nothing can kill the Grimace…”

      2. I no longer paint myself purple, not even for formal occasions, asshole.

        1. Yeah, because your heretical ass started following Uncle O’Grimacey instead. So now you just paint yourself green, and not just on St. Dipshit’s Day.

          Grimace is still hurt by your betrayal, you know. He told the Hamburglar, who told The Happy Meal Gang, who told me.

          1. Which raises an interesting question: Was Mayor McCheese a fascist?

            1. He wears a sash, so…yes.

              1. My thinking exactly. You know those fascists are all sharp dressers.

            2. He wasn’t until he ordered cameras put in all the Happy Meal toys as a misguided effort to thwart suicide bombing by fundamentalist Arbians. And his “stop-and-frisk” program on anyone who looked like they might have come from Tacobellistan.

              1. The the dreaded Beef ‘n’ Cheddar menace!

                1. PL, there’s no need to be sexist.

              2. He’s still better than the monarchist aristocrats at Burger King. Have you seen that guy? His arrogance is even more off the charts since that stroke froze his face.

                Carl: Why aren’t your lips movin’?

                MC Pee Pants: Look my shniggies, I had a strizzoke in my brizzain, okay? So, I can’t move all good. Thanks for mentionin’ that. Thank you very much.

                1. Just like you guys to ignore the ginger-based danger lurking at Wendys.

                  We don’t even know if the rug matches the curtains. It could all be one giant ruse.

                2. He ain’t my burger king, the bastard.

                  1. And Sug, you of all people should know that the greatest threat comes not from the burger-based religions, but the one true evil: Chipotle.

                    The burritoramians are not to be trifled with.

                    1. Your burritoramophobia sickens me and has no place in polite society. You are now officially worse than people who eat at Hardee’s.

          2. Next you’ll be cracking on poor Grandma Winky. You are an amoral fiend.

            1. I’m not the one with the entire Airtight Grannies porn series on his jerkPhone.

              1. Airline Grannies, you twat. It’s a BBC production about the tragi-comic adventures of two post-menopausal stewardesses struggling to keep their jobs in the face of ageist and sizeist discrimination.

                1. You’ve been lurking on Feministing all morning, haven’t you. It’s not good for you, dude. I see how it affects you. I’d organize an intervention, except I don’t actually give a shit if you grow a vagina.

                  1. I will not grow a guygina for you. Stop asking.

      3. This raises a good question:

        What the hell is Grimace?

        I mean, Ronald’s a clown, the Hamburglar steals hamburgers (for which McDonald’s is known for producing). The Fry Guys were fries, Mayor McCheese is a sentient cheeseburger, and Birdie is, I guess, a chicken who will eventually be made into chicken McNuggets.

        Grimace? Grimace is a big purple lump with arms and legs. He doesn’t seem to represent any of the foodstuffs provided by McDonald’s.

        What is the Grimace?

        1. Childhood obesity.

  6. I bet they have more informed opinions about Snooki, and she rates higher than libertarians.

  7. As purely a side note:

    I hope that the inventor of the “back-up” beeper for large trucks, the politicians and regulators who made them a law, and the operators of said trucks who leave them IN REVERSE RATHER THAN PARK all burn for eternity in the foulest hell I can devise.

  8. KMW should really check out Hit & Run sometime. It’s not a bad read.

  9. Someday, SugerFree, the rest of the country will learn that it’s all about You.

    Until then, you may just have to learn to live with us mere mortals.

    1. No food for you here, trolly.

      1. Perceived racism, redistribution of wealth, Catholic priests, environmental disasters, dildos, climate “change,” red dildos, affirmative action.

      2. Manna for Dan T.:

        Racism (real and perceived), wealth redistribution, Catholic priests, climate “change,” dildos, environmental disasters, red dildos, affirmative action.

  10. If the public is about one third right-leaning quasi-libertarians, one third unwitting fascists, and one third lying fascists, the numbers add up fine.

  11. I like stuff too.

  12. I agree that the problem is that so many don’t understand what the labels mean. “Progressive”, to the uninformed, sounds like “Progress”, which is normally a good thing. And who’s going to admit they don’t like something called “Family Values”?

    There have been polls in recent weeks that show more people want smaller government and less spending. I bet if you replaced the labels with phrases like “Less government” or “Distribute wealth” the results would be very different.

    This poll is really no different than asking people’s opinions about “Coke”, “Pepsi”, or “RC”.

    1. This poll is really no different than asking people’s opinions about “Coke”, “Pepsi”, or “RC”.

      That would be weird.

  13. people want smaller government and less spending.

    Talk about two meaningless terms!

    1. Are you fucking kidding me? They’re only meaningless in that the government has obfuscated the information it presents to the public regarding the size of the state.

  14. a Progressive: communist fuckhead busybody who can’t mind his own fucking business for ten fucking seconds, and doesn’t mind granting government unlimited, discretionary power as long as his team is in control.

    Family Values: the bullshit reason used by right wing busybodies to violate their supposed beliefs in a government with well-defined and limited powers.

    1. Sigh.

      Progressive: a communist fuckhead busybody who can’t mind his own fucking business for ten fucking seconds, and doesn’t mind granting government unlimited, discretionary fucking power as long as his fucking team is in control.

      Dude, if you’re going to drop the f-bomb, drop it frequently and appropriately. This isn’t DK or Feministing; we have standards, here.

      1. my bad.

        I mean …. my fucking bad.

  15. I think when many people hear the word “libertarian” something militant pops into their head.

    Years ago, I went to a unitarian service, and this woman told me that they had people of all political perspectives. However, when I told her I was a libertarian, she stepped back and looked at me as if I had told her I were a member of the Klan.

    1. What do you get when you cross a Unitarian and a Jehovah’s Witness?

      Somebody who comes to your door and doesn’t know why.

    2. To most, libertarian = living on a militia compound somewhere in Idaho. It’s pretty crazy that so many view libertarians as fringe RW nuts ready to get their AR15 on any second now.

      1. It also doesn’t help when most people don’t know how an AR15 works either.

    3. Unitarians are idiots, in my experience.

      I mean, really, what the hell is wrong with someone who thinks “I don’t believe in a god or any religion at all but I still want to get up early and go to church on Sunday!”

  16. This has got to come as a blow to Glenn Beck, who has been demonizing The Progressives one hour a day, 5 days a week, for the past 6 months at least.

    Now, all you Hit and Runners, are you ready for you worst nightmare?

    A new party: The Progressive Family Values Party

  17. The Progressive Family Values Party

    I move that we found this party right now, as the new party for libertarians.

    What’s more progressive than freedom?

    What’s more family values than stopping cops from kicking down doors and shooting pets in front of children?

    1. I agree. Deceive people into voting libertarian. Spin everything as “progressive” and “blessed by God.”

      1. Yeah, libertarian candidates should start lying their asses off. All other politicians do it, why don’t we start?

        “Sure I’m for Social Security! Medicare? You bet!” Whatever sells. Then vote against them in office on the grounds that additions to the bills “moved the floor.”

        1. My God, it could work!

    2. What’s more family values than stopping cops from kicking down doors and shooting pets in front of children?


    3. Uck. If Hucakabee could start a new party, it probably would be the Progressive Family Values Party.

  18. Did anyone else notice that Republicans are the ones with the negative view of libertarian versus Democrats and Independents?

    1. Yeah. Maybe they are confusing “libertarian” with the universally despised “civil libertarian” crowd, i.e. “liberals.”

    2. Yes. See my comments on the original article yesterday.

  19. I wonder what kind of feedback “corporatism” and “statism” would have gotten.

  20. I just wonder how any Republican can think that socialism is a good thing.

    1. Ever hear of Mike Huckabee?

    2. I like “progress.” So Progressivism must be cool.

      I like to “be social.” So Socialism must be cool.

  21. I suggest to be more popular, we lose “libertarian” – a term, derived from liberty, that is way too difficult for most to grasp and call ourselves the:
    free to kill puppies
    free to kill kittens
    free to kill kittens and puppies
    leave the old to die on ice floes.

    I think the clarity will increase our electoral margins by 50%…uh, getting us 2.3% of the vote

    1. Why the hell do we want the old to die on ice floes.

      We can feed the homeless and he starving with their corpses. And with the amount of medication most of the elderly are on, we can improve the health of the homeless and starving at the same time.

      1. Are you talking about corpse socialism?! Fuck them, if the poor want to eat, they can stow away on an oil rigger and get to the corpses themselves!

  22. Dan T.|5.5.10 @ 11:23AM|#
    “Progressive” does have a meaning. It means somebody who is actively working to improve society.

    Since “improving society” can mean any number of things to different people, you’ve pretty much conceded John’s point.

    You see, however much it may surprise you, many people might disagree with the notion that having your preferences imposed by force of law is an improvement to society.

    1. The Nazis wanted to improve society. We just disagreed with their goals, means, results, and rhetoric.

      1. Indeed.

  23. SugarFree:

    I saw this in another thread, but since I’m like 15 hours ahead of you this one will have to do:

    So you’re an Evansville boy? I read that you bought a bunch of books at some sci-fi book/movie/whatever store. Perchance…you were talking about the Book Broker on Covert? I lived like a mile from there. Happen to know a short, insane man named Dano from the BB?

    1. American General tried to get me to move to Evansville once. I told them to piss off.

      1. I barely know what American General is, but this is no joke: we have at least 8+ AG offices. I used to deliver sandwiches to some of them. Asshole tippers.

        1. To clarify: by offices I mean “substantial buildings.” And by Evansville I mean “not that large of a fucking town to be completely taken over by AG and those creepy McDonalds Diners that seemed to only exist here.”

          1. I’m not sure what’s based there these days. I think it was American General Finance, which was acquired at some point by AIG. I think. It’s been a while.

    2. Yes, The Book Broker. Awesome, place. But I’m actually from Henderson. I did work at The Shoe Carnival for two years so I have earned my E’ville stripes.

      1. Dear lord do I take pity upon you. Even as a kid I recognized that places a living cesspool of WTF.

        I hope you were one of the guys who ran the…fuck what do I call it…the little booth where a customer went in and tried to grab all the Shoe Carnival money to win prizes while the bright lights/big action went on. Had to be worse place to trip than Vegas.

        But hey! It’s right next to Schlotzky’s, the best fucking food on Earth. When I get back from Korea…I’m going to inject that shit in every orifice. And no, the pee hole will not be excluded. I’m reserving it for the reuben.

        1. No, I wasn’t one of the mic guys. Everyone of them was drunk most of the day. Seriously. One of them had so many DUIs I had to get him for his shift. He’d drink down a 1/2 pint of pure grain on the five minute drive over.

          I worked in and then ran the Men’s Department. I worked there in ’89-90, when the average employee turnover was three weeks. I managed 20 months of 60+ hours weeks. I have some horrifying stories. Including the line the store manager took a moment out from dressing down the department heads to do a fat line of cocaine in front of us.

          1. Also, I think I know who you are talking about from BB, but I haven’t lived in Henderson for about 18 years and only hit the BB on Christmas visits and the like.

  24. I can just phone it in now, right?

  25. what kind of people want socialism in our country??? It makes me so upset that people would advocate this at all.

  26. I recently had a conversation with a 19 year old kid who claims to be a conservative. I told him I was a libertarian. His only response to that was “You want to legalize marijuana?” I think that’s all most people think about libertarians.

  27. Positive

  28. JW|5.5.10 @ 12:17PM|#

    Just like you guys to ignore the ginger-based danger lurking at Wendys.

    We don’t even know if the rug matches the curtains. It could all be one giant ruse.

    If you have ever noticed, all of our adverts are now based on straw men set ups of our competitors. Guess who we hired to do our copy? Yep, Hit’n’Run we owe you a big thanks for sending MNG our way.

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