"The most fundamental question: are people good or bad? In other words, if left to themselves would people destroy social order or create a new and better society? For this part of the scale I'll borrow from Church history.What if you believe that people are good individually, but that they cease to be good once they become an unmediated group? I have a postcard pinned up above my desk that says "Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups."
An Augustinian believes that, ultimately, people are sinful; politics is, or should be, concerned with establishing laws and institutions which enable sinful people to coexist without tearing one another apart.
A Pelagian believes that, ultimately, people are good; politics is, or should be, concerned with enabling people to work together, play together and generally enjoy life in ways which have hitherto not been possible."
Personally, I'd redraft it slightly to say "Never underestimate the ability of a large group of nice people to behave stupidly when they get together."
When I find the answer to this question, I’ll be able to use Phil’s metric to find out what sort of person I am. But, rather exasperatingly, there appears to be a chance that I’m a f**king hippy.
That would be the person who had his flamethrower confiscated at Glastonbury one year. Wouldn't that be a good deal more ironic than any of the things that Alanis Morissette thinks are ironic in that dozy song of hers?
If Phil's answer to my question is what I think it is, I'm a Pelagian. Or wrapping the whole thing up, I'm a PDRW - a hippy reformer.
He asks if anyone can come up with a better term than hippy? I'd like to amplify this request.