Binary thinking leads to an inaccurate conclusion
When questions about beliefs oversimplify issues, it leads to a mistaken analysis of those beliefs.
Moral standards set for us in Scripture are black and white. Life is not black and white, and politics should make that abundantly clear. There are often competing values to consider, and a belief does not automatically lead to a particular conclusion or a particular policy preference. That is why we need to be careful about binary thinking. I took one of those online quizzes recently, and some of the questions were, well, questionable. Here are some of them:
Basic utilities like roads and electricity should be publicly owned.
The problem with this one is not that it is binary as much as it is that it lumps two different things together. Electricity and roads are not the same thing. Large swaths of the country get their electricity from private power companies, while roads and highways are almost exclusively public. The quiz gives you no option to separate the two.
My religious values should be spread as much as possible.
If you are a Christian and you submit to the Great Commission, the answer to this is an obvious "yes." I am sure that drove up my "statist" score, but that is not necessarily a statist position. Spreading religious values is not the same as making them legally binding.
It is very important to maintain law and order.
This one also probably made me more "statist," but law and order is actually very important to liberty. Commerce needs law and order to stay in business, as we have seen with stores closing due to rampant theft. Individuals need stability for their own safety and to protect their property. These are not values that compete with each other. You cannot have liberty without stability.
The general populace makes poor decisions.
Well, yes, obviously. There are many societal trends that prove this to be accurate. But recognizing that people make poor decisions does not mean that those people should not be allowed to make poor decisions. The more decisions are made for us by the state, the more harmful errors become. Remember, politicians and bureaucrats are just as susceptible to Total Depravity as anyone else.
The very existence of the state is a threat to our liberty.
The state is necessary to preserve liberty. Abolishing the state and letting roving bands of marauders do what they want is much more oppressive than a properly ordered society with police and courts to protect our rights. If you do not agree, just look at Somalia in the 1990's.
Children should be educated in religious or traditional values.
This probably marked me as "anti-progress," but that is black and white thinking. One can support technological progress while grounding children in critical moral values to guide the use of that technology. A smartphone is a useful tool, but not when teenagers are sending naked pictures to each other and putting their futures in jeopardy while doing so.
No cultures are superior to others.
I do not know where this scored me, but it is self-evidently true that a culture that values human life is vastly superior to a culture like the one governing Hamas, where the violent rape and sexual mutilation of women and little girls is tolerated and encouraged.
Sex outside marriage is immoral.
Once again, this is not an easy, black and white way to determine someone's political philosophy. One can believe - and many do - that this is a morally correct statement while not supporting government getting involved in policing this behavior. An affirmative answer is not authoritarian.
Maintaining family values is essential.
Obviously yes. The family is the building block of society. If we have strong families and mediating institutions like churches supporting those families, that saves money in the long run as people are less likely to be reliant on welfare benefits and are much less likely to be involved in the criminal justice system. Is this a 100% perfect prediction of future outcomes? No, but limited exceptions do not disprove the statistical data.
These quizzes are a fun diversion, but the results can be misleading. This is especially true when the "scores" are calculated with black-and-white values, or when an opinion expressed does not have a policy position attached to it. What is the point, then? That we should all be a little more careful about how we label people or viewpoints, especially if those viewpoints are opposed to our own. We actually may find there is a lot more nuance than we expected.