Thursday, December 13, 2007

Where Is Your Political Compass?

Finally found that political test that I've been looking for for quite a while. It plots your position on a four axis chart, so instead of just being labelled as 'left' or 'right', you now can find your position vis-a-vis not just left and right but also authoritarian and libertarian. You lucky dog, you.

The left/right divide essentially measures economics, you see. Whereas the authoritarian/libertarian divide measures the social dimension.
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 arbitrary 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 existed 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).
I know. It all makes perfect sense now, right?

Actually what I do find interesting is how meaningless categorizing people as either "the left" or "the right" really is. Is anybody going to really argue that Stalin and Ghandi were two peas in a pod? Or that Milton Friedman and Hitler were separated at birth? But both Stalin and Ghandi are lumped into that "left" category and both Friedman and Hitler are lumped into the right.

See what I mean?

Gee, you couldn't possibly be suggesting that maybe, just maybe, all this polarized nonsense we see (particularly in the US, but also to a lesser extent in Canada as well) is all just ... nonsense, could you?

Another interesting point question ... oh fascism, fascism, from where fore art thou? Now that's been a bit of a raging debate in some circles for quite a while but according to this chart fascism is neither a construct belonging solely to the left or the right. If I'm reading this correctly, fascist states can and will take root on both sides of the spectrum, as its actually a construct originating in the social, as opposed to the economic, dimension. And, unfortunately for us all, authoritarianism can be found both to the left and to the right.

Also, unfortunately, it seems to me that most discussions of facsism's proper place often serve as little more than a useful tool in the game of scapegoating whichever particular political ideology a person disagrees with. It appearing that all most “civilized” individuals can agree on is how detestable the ideology, itself, is as witnessed by the fact that no present day ideology wishes to take credit for it.

At any rate, I am sure you will be very pleased to know that yours truly can be found right, er, left (??) about here...

Which, amusingly, puts me in the same quadrant as Ghandi. Begging the question, I suppose, of whether that makes me more similar to Ghandi and Friedman or Ghandi and Stalin ...

So. Don't be afraid.
Where do you call home?


doorkeeper said...

I hated most of the questions...
they were phrased oddly or assumed something inherently in the question which I couldn't either understand or accept.

Ah,'d be surprised how I scored!

MMC said...

Sorry, I absolutely cannot be surpised by your result. Unless, of course, you share it with me.

unikill said...

I agree with doorkeeper as to the posing of the questions, very left wing bias apparant in the phrasing.

TBS, this is how I scored:

Economic Left/Right: 6.75
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 1.13
about 2/3 of the way to the right, and 1 square above the middle.

doorkeeper said...

I gotta take it again, I can't believe my first score (which I couldn't figure out how to copy to here, and then got called away!) I'll let you know--but my first was extremely close to our gentle host!

doorkeeper said...

I give up--the second test (which I scored more strongly than the first) puts me even farther to the left. The test is broke, I say.

MMC said...

"Our gentle host" ... would be yours truly?
So what about on the social side? Where did you score there?

MMC said...

Hey unikill, I just noticed your handle. Now you didn't go steal that from somebody, did ya? No doubt some poor innocent you gunned down in the middle of the road...

MMC said...

BTW doorkeeper, do you agree with ... ahem... unikill as to the "very left wing bias apparent in the phrasing"? Just curious.

doorkeeper said...

I thought it was more subtle than unikill, probably.
However....sigh. I am gonna take the darn thing one more time.
OK, this time I came out ABOVE the horizontal about the same vertical relationship, and the first time I came out---this is getting confusing. Here's my third result:
Economic Left/Right: -4.88
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 0.62
Too bad the graph won't copy. The dot is between 4&5 horizontally left of center, and between 1&2 vertically above center.
My second result was the same horizontally, but 2 below the line vertically, and my first result was about 2 below the line vertically, BUT, between 2&3 horizontally left of center.

I still hate the questions, for some, there's no correct answer (that tallies with my beliefs.)

neardem said...

Economic Left/Right: -4.75
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.82
I'm still not quite sure how to read this - but by looking at the chart hmmm I don't know if I agree - this is my first go. I wonder if like doorkeeper I should take it again... twice ?