Libertarian Purity Test

Posted: September 10, 2007 in Uncategorized


Libertarian Purity Test
by Bevin Chu
Taipei, China
September 10, 2007

Free market anarchist Bryan Caplan is a professor of economics at George Mason University. He has posted a useful “Libertarian Purity Test” at his website.


As Caplan explains:

“This is the Libertarian Purity Test, which is intended to measure how libertarian you are. It isn’t intended to be any sort of McCarthyite purging device — just a form of entertainment, hopefully thought-provoking. I like it a lot better than the more famous “World’s Shortest [sic] Political Quiz” because I haven’t stated the questions with any intent to give an upward bias to a test-taker’s score, and because it gives a clearer breakdown between hard and soft-core libertarians. Enjoy, suggest your friends try it out, and see how you compare to other test-takers.”

Market anarchists and non market anarchists alike may want to check it out and see how they score.

For the record, the author scored a perfect 160. Yup. Hardcore.

The World’s Smallest Political Quiz is also well worth taking.


  1. David says:

    Bevin, I scored a 160 on that test to.

  2. Samuel Spade says:

    Whenever I sit down to engage in a multiple-choice “test” such as this I realize that I’ve come too far in anarchy to do so. “Libertarians” can normally only handle 100 proof anarchists. I am 180 proof, pure-grain anarchist (Everclear, if you’re a drinking woman or man).

    Example: on question #1 Brian asks for a “yes” or “no” to the question, “Are taxes too high?” In order to answer that with a “yes” or a “no” one would first need to have accepted the premise that “taxes” are a legitimate (or at least “not-too-illegitimate”) source of revenue for perhaps an unpopular but vital entity called “state”. If one truly believes that taxation is robbery, then s/he would have to be excused from answering that question with a “yes” or a “no” — either that, or let herself be “watered down” from Everclear anarchy to 100 proof “libertarianism”.

    In light of Brian’s delimiter for “privatization” I might be able to twist libertarianism apart from my Everclear anarchy long enough to answer question #10 (Should ‘we’ privatize the Post Office?) with a “yes” — but I’d still need to water down my incessant desire to know who the “we” is. I mean, I’m not going to privatize the u.s. postal “service” — I didn’t monopolize it in the first place. So I’ll also pass on question 10.

    Scrolling all the way down to question #64 (Would you call yourself an “anarcho-capitalist?”), I’d need to pass on that one also. You might have seen my list of “ism” and “ist” variations of anarchist thinking (it’s well over 100 now, so I won’t post it here).

    So, Bevin, I’m afraid you’re going to have to score me “zero”. Sam

    • Bevin Chu says:

      Dear Sam, This is merely a map. It is not the territory. Since you’re already at the destination, great! Good to have one more passionate lover of freedom in the world.

      • Samuel Spade says:

        Sorry to be almost 6 months late responding, Bevin. But lewiepaine’s comment just this moment showed up in my inbox — don’t know where that has been for the past month. In cyberworld, ‘feard I’m slow on the uptake. 😦

        I’ll heartily agree that tests merely map the discussion pertaining to liberty and freedom. None of us have the panacea, and few of us will achieve total sovereignty. All sincere comments are valid — none should be denigrated.

        I make no boast at having “arrived”. Anarchy is a journey, not a destination. At 80 I learn every day that I communicate with individuals such as you. I’m grateful for the internet reformation ( ). For better understanding of where I fit in that journey I’ll close by printing here a thought in a comment I recently posted over at Daily Bell :

        “…Brings to mind how I neglected my family, worked my heart out, and stomped the dusty roads of Texas in 1964 Gregorian (last time I ever “voted” in a political election) to get Berry Goldwater elected. As I look back with clarity it’s a very good thing Lyndon Johnson did retain his “seat” (ass?) as grand wizard.

        “…Because now I know that Goldwater would have changed NOTHING. But Johnson did change something: me. Doubt that I would be here commenting at Daily Bell had Goldwater “won” (whatever “winning” means when discussing those egregious dog-and-pony shows)…”


  3. lewiepaine says:

    Took the test and thought it was sorta funny. I’m like Sam. Kept wondering who the “we” is. Anarchy is such a simple and pure philosophy. I now know I was an anarchist way before I could articulate it. Even as a kid, I felt like a ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ but I didn’t know why. Never could understand why people couldn’t just leave me alone and mind their own business…
    But thanks for the link. Always good to know there are still sensible people out there.

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