I am a Social Democrat… that hates animals.

I recently took the online political quiz at politicaltest.net.  It told me that I am a Social Democrat who is more extremist than 88% of the population. That’s no surprise.  But the really interesting part of the results, for me, is the way that it correctly identified the few small ways in which I am not a stereotypical liberal.

Greg Stevens is a Social Democrat

My most obvious deviation from the liberal archetype is in the last dimension that they measured: ecological vs. anthropocentric. I could nit-pick a little about the way they identified the two sides of this dimension: one can be both ecologically-minded and anthropocentric. I don’t know what the true opposite of “anthropocentric” is, and I suspect the people who created this quiz don’t either… which is why they ended up with “ecological.”

Personally, I love the environment. I recycle. I’m for green energy. I think we should give up fossil fuels.

But I am also drastically, perhaps horrifically, anthropocentric. Animals are cute, but they are not people. I eat animals, I use beauty products that were probably tested on animals, and if I were thus inclined I would have no moral objection to wearing animals as clothes. Human beings are predators, and I make no apologies. Life may suck for some animals, but it sucks equally much for a lot of people. If you are a Vegan who wears Nike shoes, you are a freaking hypocrite. So there you have it: I’m anthropocentric.

Apparently I’m more nationalistic than the archetypal liberal, as well. I’m not surprised by this, although once again I’ll object to their choice of terms. The opposite of “nationalistic” would be “globalistic” not “cosmopolitan”.  But regardless of the term used, the fact remains: I believe in protectionism and “fair trade” rather than “free trade” and I think that the United States is right to attend to its own interests first and the rest of the world second. I don’t necessarily envision utopia as a place without national borders at all, because I value heterogeneity of beliefs. If a group of people half-way across the globe want to run their government as a kingdom instead of a democracy, I think that’s their prerogative and none of our business. I also believe that trading with the rest of the world doesn’t mean we need to lower our standard of living or our minimum wage to meet the “lowest common denominator.” So in that sense, I’m nationalistic.  Go U.S.A.!

The other thing that may have affected my “cosmopolitan vs nationalistic” score is the fact that I said that I “somewhat agree” that illegal immigrants who have committed a crime should be deported. I’m not a “border hawk” by any means, but I also have difficulty accepting the idea that the only solution to the difficulty people have getting into the United States is to enter illegally. If they came here illegally, they committed a crime, and they are not citizens. If you believe that the barriers to entrance to the United States are too high, then that is where to fight the battle. Change those laws. Change that bureaucracy. The way to fight the battle is not do dismiss or accept criminal activity.

So all-in-all I think this is a great quiz. Not only did it accurately peg me as a Social Democrat (which is not difficult), it did a very good job of identifying the ways in which I diverge from the stereotype.

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  1. Simon says:

    If you’re hunting and killing the animals yourself, you are a predator. If you’re just buying packaged meat…you’re a scavenger. The predator enjoys FRESH blood and flesh, possibly with the prey still somewhat alive. The scavenger eats what is definitely dead and usually has been for some time. Sorry, Greg. You don’t get to hang with the tigers. Keep going until you get to the vulture club.

    • Greg Stevens says:

      When talking about instincts, dietary needs, and feeding behaviors, I’m not sure it makes sense to evaluate terms like “predator” on an INDIVIDUAL basis.

      In pack animals (of which humans are a variety), it is common to find individuals who do NOT hunt, but whose food is provided by the hunters in the pack. Most commonly this would include women, children, elderly, and sick individuals. But in some packs, with some animals, beta males will hunt and provide food for the alpha male. Does this make the alpha male “not a predator”? That’s a semantic question, I suppose. More relevantly: does that mean that the biology of the alpha male (or the female, or children, or elderly, for that matter) is somehow not the biology of a predator? When a pack animal is injured and no longer hunts for itself, do its instincts suddenly change? Do its nutritional needs suddenly change? Does it basic biological wiring change?

      Of course not. It’s still a predator, because it belongs to that species… whether it, as an individual, hunts for itself or not.

      Technology has changed the way we acquire our food. Specialization and culture have changed how we acquire our food. But I don’t think the cultural facts of either domestication or specialization change the fact that we have the biology of meat-eating things..

  2. Ryan says:

    I have to recant a bit of what I stated in lieu that the poll used the word ‘Anthropocentric” as an antonym for “Ecological” . I find it a very biased poll as the words used are very polarizing (ie anarchist or authoritarian). Its like saying “pro-life or serial killer”. Anthropocentric to me has nothing to do with ecology as much as it does with a philosophical conscious perspective as in something as simply knowing that mans perspective is limited to mans experience. That simple. So perhaps we can disregard this silly discussion on that there is not much philosophical merit to the poll or your post whatsoever. Not to be taken out of context. 😉

    • Greg Stevens says:

      Well, I agree with you completely, at least with respect to the use of that word. It was a very poor choice of words on the part of the poll.

      But to speak more abstractly to the word: people use terms with the suffix in two ways, which I think can create some confusion.

      Some people use -centric terms (e.g. egocentric, ethnocentric) in a very non-judgmental, very neutral way to refer to the PERSPECTIVE that someone is taking. A person is being ethnocentric if they are viewing their world from the perspective of a particular ethnic or cultural group, for example. It isn’t a “bad” thing per se: it’s just an acknowledgment of the fact that it is a particular point of view, from a particular perspective and set of background assumptions.

      However, other people use the term as a kind of judgment, to imply not only a perspective but also a PREFERENCE or a bias. When these people say “ethnocentric” they don’t just mean “I am looking at it from the point of view of my ethnic group” but rather “I think my ethnic group’s perspective is BETTER than any other.” Same with egocentric: some people use this to mean the same thing as conceited, or the assumption that one’s own self/ego is the BEST way to view things.

      I think this same dichotomy is out there for “anthropocentric” too. Some people use it in a very technical and unemotional way: it just means acknowledging our perspective as humans. Other people use it as a kind of judgement: you are terrible and prejudiced because you like humans better. (Or something like that…..)

  3. Ryan says:

    Hate animals? Hate is an extreme aversion or hostility towards. Would you care to explain your extremist perspective, which you have towards your fellow inhabitants, to the like minded Homosapien such as I? Is this hate conditional (ie scentience, intelligence) then if so is it not also Ethnocentric? Maybe you are declaring yourself something that requires much more thought. I am only encouraging my fellow inhabitants to be more thoughtful especially when speaking towards one another using pejoratives. If you do “hate” animals then how do you personally advocate your hate towards non-human animals? Just curious. Maybe this is a culture I need to include in my scope. Thank you for your time and consideration.

    • Ryan says:

      p.s. note that conditional meaning ones inward world (egocentric) or outward world (ethnocentric) declares how one shapes their beliefs and the source of guidelines (ego or ethno) that shape those beliefs. Time for some homework.