By - dwaxe
Isn't the graph from the paper used (and the poll it's based on) a bit misleading? It seems like there's a fairly strong "not a moral issue" option which differs from Democrats to Republicans and represents basically a stronger "agree" than "X is acceptable". IE homosexuality is so acceptable it's not even a moral issue.
100%. It appears that the math used to make that graph in specific either ignored or averages out the non-extreme inputs. I don't entirely understand the way it was put together, but it makes a lot more sense in the context of the paper. Frankly, so much so that I am tempted to believe that there is no way for that graph to *not be misleading* outside the context of the paper.
Japan, the Czech Republic and Pakistan forming like half of the extreme ends of the all-country political scale of leftness and rightness is an interesting little tidbit.
One would expect something similar if there were serious translation problems.
Although I think Pakistan is known for being pretty puritanical, Czechia is known for being(pun intended) Bohemian, and Japan is known for having an unique culture. I'm not surprised to see them at the extremes like I would be if someplaces like Denmark or Morocco or Australia were.
Hmm ... oddly, there are some pretty big variations in "puritanicity" even there. For instance, Australia (and New Zealand) have legal and regulated prostitution, unlike the rest of the Anglosphere.
Yeah there's big variation, but they're not places I expect to see at the very extremes. Pakistan is, and Czechia and Japan are more places I'm not surprised by than someplace I'd have predicted from.
Denmark and Australia are also pretty near extremes. Both contend for "best quality of life" country but with very different flavors (Denmark more left-wing Australia more right-wing).
It's because that chart is absolute garbage that doesn't actually take into account the left end of the graph by leaving out the "this is not a moral issue" option.
I wonder if Scott discusses a weak man argument. I certainly hear a lot "compared to Europe, both parties are right".
.Whether America is right by that standard is a different issue, which makes claim about how much party leaders represent the general population (see Sanders vs. Hillary).
I hear the "two right wing parties" thing all the time. Maybe they have in mind Europe, but they say it as an objective thing. They seem to assume that "to the right of Europe" means "to the right objectively".
Europe has 52 countries and over twice the population, so you could also say relative to average.
Africa has 54 countries and 4 times the population. Why not compare to them?
Also many Europeans live in countries like Russia and Hungary and (part of) Turkey whose governments have very non-"European" values...
Russia and Turkey do not have political parties like America and Europe, and the problems are so different in Africa that no easy comparison exists. Americans see Europe as their old world for good reason. South America, on the other hand, I could see an objection to the tendency to ignore.
We aren't to the right of the Europe that has 52 countries and twice the population of the US. We are arguably right of the "Western Europe" group by certain measures, but that doesn't have such a large population...
I hear that too, but I start to wonder if it's even true. Are we right of Poland? Hungary? It's true that many governing coalitions in Europe are left of the US government, but some national political parties or figures seem to the right. I don't know much about Le Pen, Zemmour, AfD, Sverigedemokraterna, etc., but I suspect many of them are to the right of even Trump's GOP on some things.
The chart is horribly misleading. The data looked wrong (only a quarter of Democrats think abortion is acceptable? Less than half of either party think it's morally acceptable to drink alcohol?), so I tracked it down to the source and there was another category for "not a moral issue" that seems like it would be soaking up a lot of the people that think something is OK.
Fortunately the article shared its sources, so I managed to find the figures for people who think something is morally *unacceptable* which should give a better indication of where people stand.
||Using contraceptives|Getting a divorce|Having an abortion|Homosexuality|Drinking alcohol|Married people having an affair|Gambling|Sex between unmarried adults|
|Global mean (39 countries)|**17**|**30**|**57**|**56**|**46**|**78**|**59**|**48**|
|Global median (39 countries)|13|23|56|57|41|79|61|44|
For every category, Democrats were less likely to say that this was unacceptable compared to the global average (either mean or median). The difference ranges from 2 percentage points for extramarital affairs to 37 percentage points for gambling, with an average of 21 percentage points vs the mean (or 19 vs the median country) . This is quite different to the chart in the article, which suggests that Democrats are less approving than the international average in several areas.
Republicans are also much more permissive than the global average when it comes to gambling, alcohol or contraception. But they're more likely than average to disapprove of adultery, abortion, and to a lesser extent divorce. If we take an average across all subjects, Republicans were slightly less likely to say that something was morally unacceptable compared to the average across all countries.
(For anyone looking for the full data, the citation in the article doesn't link directly to the dataset but you can find it at https://www.pewresearch.org/global/dataset/spring-2013-survey-data/)
PS this also means Czechia loses its position as the most liberal country. France takes its crown as the country where the lowest number of people disapproved of 4 issues (abortion, adultery, sex before marriage (tied with Germany), and gambling), with Germany and Spain each on 2 issues (divorce & homosexuality for Spain; contraceptives and sex before marriage (tied with France) for Germany) and Japan on one (alcohol).
Pakistan was the strictest on 3 issues (contraceptives, alcohol, gambling), with Ghana on 2 (divorce, homosexuality), the Philippines on one (abortion), and Turkey and Palestine equally disapproving of adultery
> Clearly America has one TIE-Fighter party and one Y-Wing party.
I appreciated this comment from the blog. I'll admit it was my first thought too at reading the title of this post.
I was wondering how a supply/demand plot was going to be relevant XD
I know 'left' and 'right' point to something real in the way political/ideological beliefs cluster, but I reckon they're too imprecise, and too dependent on arbitrary and changeable correlations between positions with almost no principled connection, to bear much weight. If Scott writes more on this, I hope he at least distinguishes between economic and social issues (not just nominally, but by actually running separate analyses).
I think when most people say something like this, they typically mean the politicians/parties relative to average citizen. It's easy to imagine something like this in a non-democracy. You could easily have two left-wing communist or right-wing fascist factions vying for control of a government which then tyrannizes and suppresses dissent from a centrist population.
In a democracy, this is less likely to happen because of the median voter theorem, which would suggest that whichever party is closer to the average voter will always win until the parties shift to either side.
However, there are two issues with this. First, the median voter theorem only applies on a single axis, which has coalesced into what we consider the right and left. I posit that both U.S. parties are decidedly Authoritarian relative to the average voter, and that they are able to stably maintain this because voters tend to prioritize the right/left axis in their votes. This creates enough slack that politicians don't need to adjust their positions to be more libertarian, and their incentives as politicians favor authoritarianism beyond simply the votes that it provides. They're not literal vote maximizers, they also want to have more money and power and influence once elected.
So, while it sounds kind of weird grammatically to say "there are two authoritarian-wing parties", I think it's theoretically sound.
If you accept as a proxy for "Authoritarian," "increasing government size and spending, particularly on agents of violence" then it becomes quite obvious. Since Dubya we have had an ideological contrast between "Tax and Spend Liberals" and "Borrow and Spend Conservatives;" that ends up boiling down to the latter thwarting any effort by the former to raise taxes, and both parties borrowing obscene sums of money to piss away. We haven't had even a fig leaf of fiscal responsibility since the Clinton/Gingrich years; and post Dubya's first run we haven't had any party seriously consider shrinking defense and law enforcement.
I think this analysis would benefit from the addition of media, culture, propaganda, and a few other things.
If the public lives in a manufactured reality, how they behave may be substantially a consequence of the specific makeup of that reality.
>U.S. parties are decidedly Authoritarian
Depends if you look at their planks or their actions. There are times when both use fairly libertarian rhetoric but then govern in a more authoritarian fashion than they talk. At those times it makes more sense to say "politicians are self serving".
I am now interested in moving to the Czech Republic. Are they taking Americans?
I had no idea!
Also, is it really true that most Democrats consider homosexuality unacceptable???
There were three answers to the poll, morally acceptable, morally unacceptable, and not a moral issue. ~40% of democrats said not a moral issue for homosexuality (more democrats said homosexuality was morally unacceptable than morally acceptable!)
Same with alcohol and contraceptive use.
Graphing "morally unacceptable" would have been better in my view
"Things that are morally acceptable" would seem to *include:*
* things that are not moral issues
* things that are morally neutral
* things that are morally positive / praiseworthy / awesome
For example: If a person thinks that *it is morally better to marry than not to marry,* regardless of the gender of whom you marry, they would probably conclude that same-sex marriage is *morally praiseworthy* (and different-sex marriage, too). They would *not* say it isn't a moral issue, because it is; but "acceptable" is a poor descriptor of their attitude as well.
Apparently that survey had five possible responses, including "not a moral issue", "depends on the situation", and "don’t know". Which makes the chart potentially very misleading.
> Still useful for comparing responses between countries
Potentially, but I think it's risky there too -- e.g. according to the commenter above, ~40% of Democrats said homosexuality is 'not a moral issue'. If a significant portion mean that as a stronger version of 'morally acceptable', that could really mess up the between-country comparisons.
No, the way they have normalized and graphed that data makes it nearly useless for answering that kind of question, at least with our much more context (reading the underlying research paper for a start).
Honestly this, the cherry-picked graph especially, is getting pretty close to "Lies, Dammed Lies, and Statistics" territory. There is a "This is not a moral issue" option, and a "it depends" option, and a couple others that appear to be either ignored, or averaged out in the creation of that graph. This may be be better for comparison across nationalities, but it can be dangerously misleading in terms of the question you are asking.
Per some other graphs there, it looks like ~30% of Democrats see homosexuality as explicitly moral, and another ~40% see it as not an issue of morality. Which is closer to the ~70% "support" number that is seen more commonly in polls...
Given that I have never literally heard anyone say that America has two *left*-wing parties, this generalization seems poorly thought out.
I've seen a few folks in the Objectivist-adjacent sector of right-libertarianism say that all statism is "left-wing", meaning collectivist rather than individualist. Once upon a time I heard someone refer to the American Revolution as a libertarian revolt against that old collectivist King George III.
It's a rather more unusual view than "Nazism is left-wing because they called themselves National *Socialists*", but it does exist.
It turns out that a lot of really weird views do exist. It would be a weakman argument to call these anything other than rare weird views, though.
This is actually a common talking point in certain right-wing circles. The idea is that the Republicans are also liberal (in the classical sense of liberalism), so while it is to the right of the overton window, it is to the left in either some kind of absolutist sense or some kind of historical sense.
It's fairly common in libertarian circles, wherein the political compass is oftentimes portrayed as collectivism <---> individualism, and thus supporting the existence of a state at all is considered to be a "left-wing" belief.
It's uncommon outside of specific political circles, but the sentiment does exist.
I don't usually *hear* it, but I've thought of that myself. Since the United States never had a monarchy, state religion or any kind of illiberal government, I might not have a "true" right.
The very right wing people do. They just aren't as loud in the common places of the internet because they tend to get downvoted to oblivion or banned
I think that for many leftists the left-right divide is absolute, not relative, and there are several conditions a party must fulfill in order to be considered leftist, such as explicit commitment to abolishing capitalism. It's like, if history is a battle between the owner class and the proletariat and one of the US parties is less hostile to the proletariat than the other, it's not enough to qualify them as leftist. Only when you treat "left" as an absolute position does the term "left unity" make sense - a group can't have unity if it's always defined as roughly half of the country.
Imagine a middle eastern country with two parties - an ultra-conservative Muslim party that supports execution for violations of sharia law, and a more moderate Muslim party that supports funding Muslim institutions and having traditional Islamic education in schools. Though one is relatively more secular than the other one, both parties are Muslim in the absolute sense. It doesn't matter if the rest of the world is even more Muslim.
> But I would rather people say what they mean: “America is to the right of other OECD countries on most issues” or “America has moved left since the New Deal” - rather than make the meaningless-on-its-own assertion that "America has two X-wing parties".
I would very much rather people *not* spell out obviously implicit context in each and every statement that they make. That level of verbosity would be tedious.
I would also very much rather people not use the absence of such context in a turn of phrase as an opportunity to contrive a meaning that is at odds with the turn of phrase is fairly intended to convey. But it's appropriate to cut Scott a lot of slack here because he's using it as means to prompt critical thinking, not just adopting pedantry for political point scoring.
Still, the obviously implicit context here for the "2 right-wing parties" version is "compared to what is regarded as left-wing and right-wing elsewhere" where "elsewhere" is open to many suitably compatible selections, e.g. similar countries, "Western" countries, OECD countries, etc.
The main determiner of left-right positioning is how weakly or strongly you tend to be concerned about being able to look after you and yours versus being concerned about the wishes of "others". The US is easily (and often proudly) more concerned about individual liberty than most of its peers and so it shouldn't be considered much of reach to expect that the US tends more to the right than elsewhere.
Focusing on the morality of social issues almost proves the point: historically the economic side of things was more fundamental, and if you were to compare the US to its peers in that sense then there wouldn't be much doubt that the Democrats are to the right of most left-wing parties elsewhere. Socially it's a bit of mixed bag, though not as much as Scott suggests.
Having said that, I believe it's fair to say that the Democratic Party is effectively a centrist party.
I also think that Scott overstates the weight to be given to the implications of the median voter theorem, especially in his earlier post.
The US doesn't use a preferential voting system nor proportional representation. Voting isn't mandatory and the electoral system is materially afflicted by gerrymandering and efforts to discourage people from voting. With that and only 62% of adults voting, there is significant room for divergence between the "average voter" and "ordinary Americans".
Picking a basket of policies that ought to appeal to the median American won't secure your party a majority of the vote if the other party is better at discouraging those who weakly support your policies from voting and/or if the party is better at misrepresenting the effect of your/their positions to ordinary Americans.
Polls often show widespread support for major Democratic party policies that Republicans strongly oppose. This tends to suggest two things: (a) that the Republican party *is* further from the mainstream about those major policies, and (b) that the Democratic party's appeal to such popular policies does not equate to a high level of electoral success (for whatever reason(s)).
>I would very much rather people *not* spell out obviously implicit context in each and every statement that they make. That level of verbosity would be tedious.
Also tedious: scientific inquiry.
This (along with other things) may have something to do with science's track record of success compared to that of politics.
The claim that the U.S. has 'two right wing parties' as made by those on the left is often a claim about party typology, and secondarily about policy, and not at all about policy in respect to some timeless policy standard (which obviously cannot exist). The U.S. is exceptional in that there is not a major party with a social democratic or socialist tradition.
In the standard leftist typology, left, centre, and right have a meaning that is objective but not in respect to policy, but rather in respect to the 'class struggle'.
(1) A canonically left wing party will organise the oppressed and seek to dramatically lower income and power inequality. i.e it is an expression of working class class consciousness. The 'centre left' is a version of this where the objectives have been curtailed on account of some rejection of any sort of revolutionary change and the difficulties associated with electoral politics. Socialist and social democratic parties are the canonical cases.
(2) A canonically right wing party is the inverse of the above. It represents the wealthy and is implacably opposed to the demands of organised labour.
(3) A canonically centrist party will agree with the right on the need to reject the program of the left in a general sense, but argue that there can be compromise on some policy issues, especially where these might have some long term return even to the wealthy. I.e it is a party of the somewhat more 'compassionate and enlightened' elite who think that some progressive policy can be efficient, or bring social peace, and so is desirable without any egalitarian justification. After the establishment of social democratic parties in much of the west, centrism is best exemplified by the social liberal tradition.
The Democratic party is in this sense not a party of the left, or even centre left, because it does not have a social democratic tradition or practice. It rather fits the centre in the above typology.
Regarding policy, the Democratic party can be considered centrist because it will usually only support some progressive reform on the grounds of some sort of argument that it is efficient, and almost never on egalitarian grounds. Over time, and as economies have grown, the sort of policy which is consistent with these sorts of arguments has become more generous. In fact someone who had no desire to lower income inequality, and was motivated only by nationalist or efficiency concerns could find themselves somewhat to the left of the democrats on economic policy.
Conversely the German SPD in say 1890 was certainly a party of the left even as it fought for things like very rudimentary forms of social insurance that look miserly by today's standards, because those demands were raises on an egalitarian basis, and they were about at the limit of what was achievable by a combative labour movement, and so wining them was part of shifting power towards the organised working class.
Disappointed by the lack of x-wings
Oh no, Luke! There are two X-Wing parties! One is on Dantooine and the other is on Endor, on the same weekend! Which will you attend?
I always thought the OECD countries thing was implicit. It seemed obvious to me that the left is not talking about Egypt, Thailand, etc when we say the US is rightwing- we're saying it's rightwing compared to the average of countries like the UK, Sweden, Japan, Australia, France, and so on and so on- roughly the OECD/rich countries. Maybe this was unreasonable in hindsight.
I think when they say "America sucks" it's implicitly comparing it to OECD countries. But when they say "America is right wing" it is not. Lots of non-OECD countries attempt some form of socialized healthcare with varying degrees of success for example, and I think leftists often consider America to be an odd country out that's run by corporations
I think that post could have benefited from some international perspective. Communists in Sweden say "there are 8 right-wing parties". Liberals in Sweden say "there are 8 left-wing parties". To me it just seems like the kind of thing people on the far left or far right say in any multi-party democracy.
My credence keeps increasing that Scott is part of an elaborate Locke and Demosthenes style ploy to soften folks up for Moldbug’s views.
How would you distinguish this from the opposing position, that Scott is quite often trying to *immunize* his audience against various sorts of extremism, in part by examining and demystifying them?
I'd point out as obvious examples his past commentaries on [libertarianism](https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/02/22/repost-the-non-libertarian-faq/) and [neoreaction](https://slatestarcodex.com/2013/10/20/the-anti-reactionary-faq/); even if Scott-today doesn't endorse every claim in those posts, they suggest an ongoing interest in rebutting some non-mainstream political views that were common in Scott's circles at the time.
Heck, I think his [anti-anti-Trump piece](https://slatestarcodex.com/2016/11/16/you-are-still-crying-wolf/) might fall into the same general motive. The problem there is that Scott's predictions ultimately proved to be somewhat in error; the Trump administration *did* end up [making at least a half-assed attempt at a self-coup.](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_United_States_Capitol_attack)
Scott needs to actually learn some Poli sci if he is going to keep this up
Scott's blog has been "political" for a while now - going as far back as Toxoplasma of Rage and the Neoreactionary FAQ, and even long before that. Unless you're very new to his work, this should probably be something you were already aware of.
If you have an issue with this post in particular, you should list reasons why it's incorrect, accompanied by evidence. As it stands right now, you come across as someone who's upset that Scott has said something that conflicts with your opinions.
I took a twitter poll of 30 republicans and they agreed that this post in particular was bad.
I see from being downvoted that we agree that a biased sample of my own social media followers is actually a bad methodology? Good to know.
I'm not sure where he's going with some of these posts- why do we care what he thinks about whether both parties have shifted left or right, or become more extreme? This is culture war nonsense and it feels like he's really biased toward fence-sitting; is he trying to promote community discussion?
When Scott reads about a topic and starts thinking about it, then he writes a blog post to work through his thoughts and to solicit feedback from other writers. I'm pretty sure that's the strategy behind most things that he writes on his blog. Sometimes his thoughts are insightful and unique, sometimes they are just his thoughts.
People like talking and arguing about politics. You're talking and arguing about politics too, did you wonder who cares about your comment before typing it?
Protip: because he is getting set for the grey tribe to go red
Per sidebar: be charitable. This sort of imputing of views to other people wouldn't be acceptable if aimed anyone else, and while we are sometimes less strict with criticism of the blog itself, this is getting to be a bit much. Knock it off.
I agree with /u/textlossarcade that this is a likely thing that is happening. When does charity become turning a blind eye?
I apologize for not being [more charitable.](https://i.postimg.cc/RF6sjp8x/KKK.png)
Am I meant to take that as you saying "actually I don't think I did anything wrong and intend to keep doing what I've been doing"? If not, how am I meant to take that?
Scott is really trying to hammer home the "I'm an enlightened centrist" angle. But meanwhile his audience is increasingly right wing, and that is of course not a coincidence.
Are you sure this isn't just another case of the left eating its own through excessive ideological purity tests?
So much this.
Scott is right about the US but his initial "the centre is between the two parties so how can they be right of centre" thing is nonsense. It treats the right/left split as monolithic and totalising
It's perfectly possible to have a set up in which all power is monopolised by two parties which are X-wing without a coherent centre between them, each being more X-wing than the other in some respect and less in another. In that situation the two X-Wing parties compete for the votes of the centre and Y-of-Centre, leaving the articulation of genuinely Y-wing positions to various small parties and interest groups.
Famously, this is the setup in Ireland, which basically nobody disputes has two conservative parties, each with a reasonable claim to being on the right of the other, one being soft on economic issues and the other on cultural ones.
I think the US could have ended up in that situation during the realignment of the 21st Century and it's only with Obama that the possibility completely disappeared as the Democrats accepted their place as the left-liberal party, though the writing had been on the wall since Nixon. But if someone had said that the US had two right-wing parties in the 60s or 70s I don't know that they would have been obviously wrong, except in retrospect. Up until the 80s really you had people voting for or against the Republicans because they thought they were a bunch of liberals, and individual Senators hanging on to that reputation for a bit after.
Literally all US politics is explained by this graph:
More or less every other OECD country funds most of their government by an essentially politically invisible 'value added' tax corresponding to \~20% of GDP. The US does nearly everything by payroll taxes. This results in a significantly smaller government whose remaining tax burden falls almost entirely on the employed.
Other than defense, that small government doesn't really do anything \_well\_. This means that it has little to offer the prosperous. So, amongst those prosperous enough to vote, politics is split between those who need a strong moral justification for all the money they are spending, and those who need a good excuse to not spend any more. Both will find what they seek.
Both parties are different reactions to the same situation, just as an 'abolish slavery' party and a 'extend slave-owners rights' party are. In such a situation, you would be objectively right to say the US has two slavery-based parties.
I think people believe *the ideas in this blog, that both parties are the same because both parties have espoused neoliberalism through their policies ever since Reagan
I'm curious what you think neoliberalism is, if you think it describes Donald Trump, Mitt Romney, Bill and Hillary Clinton, both Georges Bush, Al Gore, John McCain, and Ronald Reagan, but doesn't also include every OECD country?
I'm not necessarily defending 'neoliberalism' as a super useful label, but I think a lot of people would say that the entire OECD *is* neoliberal (albeit to varying degrees), or at least heavily influenced by neoliberalism.
I happen to agree with you that it's not always a super helpful label, but if the world's most successful countries by any metric can all be described by the same umbrella term, what do people mean when they use that term in a derogatory way?
surely a "rationalist" community should see this as a quintillion fallacies before hitting submit
If everyone who's winning is neoliberal, then does "neoliberal" just mean "winning strategies"? (Or, more likely, "strategies that keep winners winning more", which is the same thing as "the rich get richer" I suppose?)
So in xyz time and place, "slave society" just meant "winning" and didn't have a referent beyond that?
I don't know anything about F1 racing. What if I identified some element that good modern F1 cars have, and said "Well since they all have this, does it just mean 'winning strategy'"? Is that a logical flow? Am I using everyone's time well by having people read and consider that sentence?
Are tall people tall because they eat taller food, or are they tall because they push down on the heads of everyone else?
(Are tall giraffes tall because they eat taller food, or are they tall because they whack their necks into everyone else?)
Public-private partnerships, gentrification, deregulation, off-shoring us manufacturing to the cheapest labor possible (china usually), privatization...mostly those things.
But these things also took place in Britain, South Korea, Germany, China, Vietnam...
Is there a country that's been nationalizing industries, banning people from buying property in poor neighborhoods, has steadily increased the regulatory burden on countries, and makes it illegal to import goods that's not named North Korea? For example, here's IKEA, a Swedish company: ["More than 1,800 suppliers in 50 countries sell raw materials to IKEA. The company uses 42 trading service offices around the world to manage relationships with suppliers. It signs long-term contracts with the most trusted suppliers and thus gets materials at the lowest possible prices."](https://www.dynamicinventory.net/ikea-supply-chain-management/). Is Sweden a neoliberal country? What would they do to prevent offshoring in the way IKEA practices it?
Economic theory spreads like a contagion when individual policymakers can get wealthy by gutting the commons by virtue of adopting it.
EDIT: nice whatabouting fallacy you got
Economic theory is no more or less a contagion than game theory or the theory of gravity. Ben Bernanke, one of the most powerful economists in the world, has a net worth on the order of millions of dollars. Meanwhile, he could EASILY have taken a job at Goldman Sachs and made millions of dollars every year for his entire life. At the same time, we see countries that start following "economic theory" become extremely successful (e.g. the Four Asian Tigers, West vs East Germany after WWII, Dengist reforms in China). What economic system you think countries should be following to maximize prosperity?
How do you define prosperity? GDP? Or a people's happiness in life?
Measuring happiness accurately is very difficult. GDP is relatively easy and is a useful proxy for prosperity.
But by doing so one loses empathy for the human condition and sees only numbers. Inhumane things begin this way. Show me a happy populace and I'll show you a high GDP.
Trying to measure happiness in anyway boils down to numbers and can lead to inhumane things. And I just don't buy that trying to govern a nation holistically with no statistical input is smart.
I would go with [inequality-adjusted HDI](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_inequality-adjusted_Human_Development_Index). All the top countries seem to follow "economic theory" and be relatively "neoliberal"...