Political Compass

Last week I rather flippantly described my personal ideology like this:

Though I started off as a lefty a few years back, since leaving the near-extinct Democrats in 2003 I've been sitting firmly on the left-right fence, with the pickets occasionally doing damage to my sensitive regions. On economic and foreign policy, I'm on the right with the free marketeers and the less nutty neo-cons. On social policy, I'm lining up with the vegetarian gay whales in defending their right to euthenise their IVF babies in privacy.
After bringing up this Big Question, the comments section quickly led to a discussion of the Political Compass, a useful online tool which uses a series of simple moral, social and economic questions to determine one's political ideology - both on an economic scale from left to right, and a social scale ranging from authoritarian to libertarian.

So here, for the first time since I last did it, is my result:

Economic Left/Right: 4.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.64

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to my right...
So I guess that means I have the economic free marketeerism of Jacques Chirac and the respect for liberty of the Nelson Mandela. I can live with that.

Lord NelsonIt's Jacques!

(Alas, if only I had the fashion sense of Nelson and the expressive forehead of Jacques...)

True, there are limitations in the survey method - a small collection of questions, often with loaded wording, with a small number of possible answers. Even with these limitations, it's a useful way to help clarify where you stand politically. It also deserves plenty of credit for differentiating lib/auth from the left/right divide, in a way that much better reflects ideological positions than did previous representations.

So jump to the survey, find out where you stand, and tell the world.


Ari Sharp said…
There were quite a few comments already posted on this topic when it came up a few days ago. Here's what people had to say:

Peter...Canberra said...
Wow. I though "Land Rights for Gay Whales" was the classic satirical slogan for left social causes, but that one blows it out of the water.
"Defending the right of gay whales to euthenise their IVF babies in privacy" Gold.

On a more serious note, Ben Butler's ‘right wing’ remark does highlight a perennial quandary in trying to label someone’s politics (and let’s face it, putting things in boxes is fun and more things so much simpler). Political Compass (http://www.politicalcompass.org/) has an interesting survey that splits people’s beliefs into the social and economic spectrums. Obviously it’s not perfect, and it seems a little US centric. Ari’s remark about foreign policy has also made me wonder how well it covers that topic.

Anyway, with any luck this will start a wild chain of people posting their results :)
I’ve done it 3 times over the years, and usually get slightly left on economics and midway on libertarianism. This time I got:
Economic Left/Right: -2.88
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian:

9:25 AM
Polly said...
We haven't bothered to watch Last Man Standing because the ads for it make it look pathetic (we're part of the great Desperate Housewives switch-off).

As for whether or not you're left or right, Ari - I think I'm in a similar position. I've done a lot of politcal quizes and consistently end up much more "centre-right" on economic issues - and mostly "left" on social issues. What pisses me off is the attitude that a few on the left have that says you have to be a communist, PETA supporting tree-hugger before you can care about social justice issues.

9:58 AM
Mothy said...
Compass is wrong.

Economic Left/Right: -4.38

Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.95

Those questions are too simplistic. Everything in life is much greyer than it is put there, and anyone that strongly agreed or disagreed with all of them is trying to create a particular result. But then I've always been difficult to pin down to one particular box. Ari's Right-Wing? Hell, that must make me a fascist.

Meanwhile on Last Man Standing I've no idea but on the face of it its jsut another Secret Life of Us. I'll give a more informed verdict after it shows at the ungodly hour of 11:30 tonight (must be a repeat) up here in the Capital.

Also, I find Polly's comment funny, because what pisses me off is the perception that to be "green" you have to be "red".

In a post-Democrat world, people ask if I will join the Greens, to which I say I'm not leftie enough. Then they ask if I will join the Labor Party, but I cannot stand voting on party lines, its a violition of representative democracy I cannot stand and has eroded the public's need to know something about their candidate beyond who's membership card they've got in their wallet.

If the person is tehn stupid enough to ask if I'll joins the Libs, the Nats, Family First or One Nation, they tend to then find me flinging my drink in their face and preparing to glass them with what's left.

Desperate Housewives - never started watching, don't intend to. Give me the Six Feet Under and Aaron Sorkin-era West Wing seasons any day.

Failing that, watch the OC for my trash intake.

11:15 AM
Anonymous said...
Oh, and a "tard" is the most recent variation on the schoolyard classic "retard", more often than not altered to be "f**ktard".

11:18 AM
Polly said...
Mothy, I agree with you on the "you have to be red to be truly green" garbage from some people. I've gotten into a furious argument several people involved in politics (including someone who worked for ACF) about these issues. Apparently, caring about GLBTI rights, or poor kids locked in detention centres means you should be part of the "Green" movement. Or caring about preserving your local wetlands, or preserving old-growth forests means that you should oppose the evil, capitalist running dogs and embrace the wonders of socialism.

11:53 AM
Rebekka said...
I don't know what's going on this morning - I'm obviously feeling quite fierce on social issues as I got -7.59 on the libertatian/authoritatian scale, which I think is probably reasonably accurate. My score on the left wing/right wing scale though I think is skewed. I got a -6 which puts me firmly at the left end of the scale - but in fact my economic beliefs are not that far left. They just aren't. I don't know how the test has come up with this result! Think Keating and you've probably got a fair indication of where my economic beliefs are on the spectrum. The test lied!

9:03 AM
Jayde Lovell said...
So, what you are saying is you're a libertarian?

There is some sort of problem if right wing = conservative; some of the 'rightest' people I know are libertarians.

Damn that test, it lies, it lies!

2:19 PM
Polly said...
I finally got round to doing the test, and I'm -3.95 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian, and -0.13 Economic Left/Right, which is interesting if the test really does skew economic left :/.

Personally, I think libertarians highlight the inadequacies of left and right as political categories.
Are they left or are they right?

10:26 PM
Jeremy said…
The quiz was flawed on it's economic questions. Too many of them focussed on minor things like arts funding and business vs. creatives, missing the more important questions like social welfare, market failur, social insurance and so on. It gave me about -2/-3 but I think it's questions could have been much better designed.
K said…
Looks like you are on your own in that category Ari.

I'm Economic Left/Right: -6.25
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.67.
boy_fromOz said…
Economic Left/Right: -4.13
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.00

I'm with Jeremy on the poor question design.
1. 'If economic globalisation is inevitable, it should primarily serve humanity rather than the interests of trans-national corporations.'
How's this instead -
'Should McDonalds have won its libel case against the Greenpeace activists Steel and Morris?'
or to take it further -
'Should the European Court of Human Rights be able to overrule British libel law to protect freedom of speech?'
Anonymous said…
Tafty says:

Hey Ari,
I'm in your square: (3.88, -1.74).

I wonder if there is another measure that could be added in order to create a 3D politcal "globe". Or even some n-dimensional political space. Maybe I'm getting a bit carried away.

Jeremy does make a good point. Free market advocates still often support controls of market failure, whereas the reverse isn't really true - so the test may have a bias to the left. But it looks like a good approximation for a 3 minute quiz!

Freeworldnik said…
Economic Left/Right: -3.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.59

I've inched about .7 to the right on economic issues and .4 to the right on social issues since I first did the test. Then again, what the hell kinda test is it without any adequate foreign policy determinants or broad-based economic questions?

The only mildly accurate category is probably the social one- I think it's been fairly on song, judging by the results of various friends and knowing where they stand.

Overall I reckon I'm probably far more rightwing on foreign policy and slightly more rightwing on economics, like Ari. However, I'm probably further off the scale in the other direction on environmental issues. Probably a tad further left on social stuff too.

Then again, in a world where the Libs are advocating big government and centralisation, and Labor is arguing for a retention of states' rights, who's to say what is a left or right issue anyway?

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