Sunday, March 12, 2006

More Political Quizzes

Here's a couple more political quizzes.

This one is from the Fraser Institute. Basically a Canadian version of the Shortest Political Quiz in the world I had a link to in the previous post. Again, I view is it as how a libertarian would see your particular political ideology.

Here's another one from the US, from a website called Politopia. According to that one I'm socially liberal and in favour of bigger government. The most interesting part of the quiz tells you what part of the US agrees most with your political views. Apparently I should be living in California.

I thought this next quiz was actually the best of the lot. It's pretty similar to the one from Politopia but I think it's little more thoughtfully put together. It tries a little harder to get at the underlying attitudes that ultimately determine your political views rather than just listing off a bunch of very specific issues. You can find it here on the Political Compass website. Here's an explanation of the test and how I scored on it.

About The Political Compass
In the introduction, we explained the inadequacies of the traditional left-right line.

If we recognize that this is essentially an economic line it's fine, as far as it goes. We can show, for example, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung and Pol Pot, with their commitment to a totally controlled economy, on the hard left. Socialists like Mahatma Gandhi and Robert Mugabe would occupy a less extreme leftist position. Margaret Thatcher would be well over to the right, but further right still would be someone like that ultimate free marketeer, General Pinochet.
That deals with economics, but the social dimension is also important in politics. That's the one that the mere left-right scale doesn't adequately address. So we've added one, ranging in positions from extreme authoritarian to extreme libertarian.
Both an economic dimension and a social dimension are important factors for a proper political analysis. By adding the social dimension you can show that Stalin was an authoritarian leftist (ie the state is more important than the individual) and that Gandhi, believing in the supreme value of each individual, is a liberal leftist. While the former involves state-imposed arbitary collectivism in the extreme top left, on the extreme bottom left is voluntary collectivism at regional level, with no state involved. Hundreds of such anarchist communities exisited in Spain during the civil war period.
You can also put Pinochet, who was prepared to sanction mass killing for the sake of the free market, on the far right as well as in a hardcore authoritarian position. On the non-socialist side you can distinguish someone like Milton Friedman, who is anti-state for fiscal rather than social reasons, from Hitler, who wanted to make the state stronger, even if he wiped out half of humanity in the process.
The chart also makes clear that, despite popular perceptions, the opposite of fascism is not communism but anarchism (ie liberal socialism), and that the opposite of communism ( i.e. an entirely state-planned economy) is neo-liberalism (i.e. extreme deregulated economy).
The usual understanding of anarchism as a left wing ideology does not take into account the neo-liberal "anarchism" championed by the likes of Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and America's Libertarian Party, which couples law of the jungle right-wing economics with liberal positions on most social issues. Often their libertarian impulses stop short of opposition to strong law and order positions, and are more economic in substance (ie no taxes) so they are not as extremely libertarian as they are extremely right wing. On the other hand, the classical libertarian collectivism of anarcho-syndicalism ( libertarian socialism) belongs in the bottom left hand corner.



Here's my score

Your political compass
Economic Left/Right: -1.13
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.15


According to the test this means I'm basically in the center on the economic scale, and pretty far towards the Libertarian side on the social scale.

Here's a couple graphs showing how the 'professional team' of the political compass website ranked some famous figures. The first graph shows how they rated the various Canadian political parties in the last election. The second graph shows how they ranked contemporary political figures. The third if their highly speculative ranking of the political views of composers. I get the feeling their test is a little too skewed towards the libertarian and left sides of the scale, but they're some interesting results nonetheless.








Hat tip to Eugene Plawiuk over at the Revue Gauche for pointing out Political Compass test.

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