Political Compass Open Thread

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Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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130 Responses

  1. Avatar Trumwill says:

    From a functional standpoint, the compass is pretty flawed. Nearly every political party of consequence is in a single quadrant. Not just the United States, either. Canada. Australia. The United Kingdom. Germany. Heck, almost all of Europe (the remainder contained to near the border in another continent). The NDP puts a chink in that armor, but only a chink.

    Why does this matter? Because if you take the test, and you’re adverse to extreme statements (“Abortion is ALWAYS wrong”) and hedge your answers with somewhat agrees/disagrees, you end up around the center. Some people – like me – do it a lot (thus, despite my various ideological shifts over the years, I’m never more than 2 points away from the middle). But most people do it some. It speaks more to a way of thinking about things than it does an actual political positions.

    (It’s also possible that they’re doing a poor job of placing people and parties. I’m not sure. But there’s something screwy about it. If this thing were more accurate, I would be somewhere between the two parties I choose between. Not between the Dems and the Greens.)

    From an investigative standpoint, there may be value in “See! Look! All of our government cluster together in this single area when things could be different,” I think that is outstripped by the problems above.

    Many years ago there was a book put out by a couple guys named Kamber and O’Leary (focusing on American politics). It’s dated now, but I think that at the time it was pretty accurate. It’s hard to gauge, though, the cause-and-effect. I didn’t really know what I was when I took the test, but after I did and I started paying more attention I noticed that it was, more or less, correct. But that could have been self-fulfilling.

    I wonder if this quiz is sort of meant to “guide” you into a realization, like that Libertarian Quiz is, with ill-selected and sometimes leading questions. But the nature of international politics is so complicated that I give them the benefit of the doubt.Report

    • Avatar Dan Miller in reply to Trumwill says:

      The diagram is supposed to contain everything from Hitler to Pinochet to Stalin. So it might be too zoomed out to really show differences between modern-day parties in the US or Europe.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Trumwill says:

      Yeah, my problem is that when I read “If economic globalisation is inevitable, it should primarily serve humanity rather than the interests of trans-national corporations.”, I think “of course it should”.

      It’s like reading a sentence that says “if pregnancy is the result of sex, the mother should carry the child to term”, of course she should.

      Should the law be involved? No. Should “other options” be available? Of course.

      But that is not what they are asking.

      As such, I’m -2, +.5.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Trumwill says:

      Yeah, if I tweak my answers a bit I move a bit to the left, but the there’s just not much nuance in these quizzes.Report

      • Avatar James K in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        I had the same problem. I rated 5 on left/right and -5.18 on libertarian/authoritarian (so smack bang in the middle of the purple quadrant), but there were about a dozen questions where I answered agree but could have just as easily answered disagree (or vice versa).

        Personally I’d prefer to see a quiz that asked questions based on hypothetical policy proposals. I think that would help make things more concrete.Report

        • James, I’m really surprised at my results vis-a-vis yours, since I’m generally against government intervention in the economy at all and you seem to support stimulus, yet I came out as a moderate “communist” while you were a strong neo-liberal.Report

          • Avatar James K in reply to Christopher Carr says:

            You may have me confused with someone else. I’m agnostic-to-opposed on the theoretical merits of fiscal stimulus, and I’m especially hesitant to recommend it for a country running significant structural deficits.

            I’m leery of the term “neo-liberal”, since I’m not entirely sure it means anything. But as a disciple of Milton Friedman I suppose it fits me as well as anyone.Report

            • So you do support monetary stimulus then? I don’t.

              I’m also leery of the term “neo-liberal”, but that is what the right hand side of the political compass seems to be labeled.Report

              • Avatar James K in reply to Christopher Carr says:

                I believe the proper role for the central bank is to keep prices stable. That means you’ll get some stimulative activity since recession tend to coincide with low money supply, but I don’t think there should be a deliberate policy of stimulation through expanding the money supply.Report

        • Avatar RTod in reply to James K says:

          “Personally I’d prefer to see a quiz that asked questions based on hypothetical policy proposals. I think that would help make things more concrete.”

          I wonder. I have a tendency to believe that political parties tend to take on policy positions based largely on what they think will garner them votes and influence, and worry about the square peg-round hole of how that fits in with their stated “values” later.

          Hence things like a Deep Passion about minimizing the Feds intrusion into your person life while supporting some national-level law disallowing same-sex marriage. Or, if you prefer, believing that Men Using Positions of Power to Sexually Harass Women is Evil, but if someone complains about your top guy doing it to a 22 year old intern, isn’t that just them playing Washington politics?Report

  2. Avatar Roberto says:

    Libertarian/Authoritarian -2.26, Left/Right -5,75, the same spot as Gandhi.Report

  3. Avatar Simon K says:

    I hate the first question so much it makes me reluctant to take the thing seriously. Its also been like that for years and in spite of the fact obviously better questions are available to solicit the answer they think they’re asking for, they’ve stuck with one that doesn’t.Report

  4. Avatar RTod says:

    Libertarian/Authoritarian -7, Left/Right 3, somewhat close but to the right to Gandhi.

    Whenever I see tests like this I’m curious what assumptions the test makers are using. For example, what political stance to they attribute to liking abstract art, and why is that not a bullshit question for a test like this?

    I always come away thinking these things can tell us more about the people who created the test than the scores of those that took it.Report

    • Avatar RTod in reply to RTod says:

      oops. i mean -3Report

    • Avatar dmf in reply to RTod says:

      Mine’s similar to yours. And I completely agree with your last sentence. The questions seem to me to have a sort of right-leaning default to them… so that when I don’t completely agree it sends me to the left of the spectrum.

      That, and some of the questions are just poorly worded. And whilst I can’t be sure, I’m betting what they take away from my answer is not what I mean by it. Like, just because I hold an opinion on a topic doesn’t mean I think something should be *done* about it…Report

    • Avatar Kevin Carson in reply to RTod says:

      Exactly. And the explanatory apparatus at their website tells you a great deal, as well. They say in so many words that favoring free markets directly equates to “neoliberalism,” and both of them put you on the economic Right. And they strongly imply that a belief in free markets/free trade equates to a favorable stance on globalization, which equates to a favorable view on transnational corporations. So they basically write into the test, as an unstated assumption the conventional belief (shared by mainstream liberals and conservatives) that corporate rule is the natural outgrowth of the unregulated market.

      Oh, yeah–they also explictly mention Pinochet as the quintessential free marketer and resurrect the “economically libertarian and politically authoritarian” cliche about him. As if torturing labor organizers, hacking their faces off and leaving them in ditches didn’t basically deprive an entire factor of production of any bargaining power in the market. As if undoing land reforms that Rothbard would have endorsed (fer chrissakes), and restoring quasi-feudal titles of a landed oligarchy, was “economically libertarian.”

      I’m really starting to think the people who designed this test were just total idjuts.Report

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Economic Left/Right: -5.62, Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.05 . Not a surprise.Report

  6. Avatar RTod says:

    As a somewhat related aside, my wife is a professor of management and one of the things her old dissertation advisor works on is studying the predictive accuracy of Myers Briggs-type testing. Apparently, excepting studies that are done by the testing companies, these tests do not predict job performance any better than random selection. Also, independent studies show that the results of these tests – regardless of what the results are – are invariably used to “justify” initial knee jerk impressions of the hirers, not as a point of data in the hiring decision.Report

    • Avatar Trumwill in reply to RTod says:

      I had a former boss that made me take a psych profile test (not MBTI). I failed it miserably. He told me that according to the test, I would spend all of my time going around and chatting up the office and ignoring details looking me right in the face. When I objected (particularly to the extroverted part!), he asked if I had a degree in psychology and that the people that wrote the test had degrees in psychology so who knew more about psychology me or a bunch of people with psychology degrees?

      He hired me anyway. It didn’t work out. Ironically, I was fired (some two years later) involved my overlooking a detail. So the test got that right…Report

    • Avatar Pat Cahalan in reply to RTod says:

      You need a good test and a good tester to get decent results out of Myers-Briggs.

      It’s not really any kind of a predictor of workplace success, though. All it’s really good for is giving a team insight into how to work together more efficiently. Firing (or not hiring) someone on the basis of M-B would be Exhibit A for Management: You’re Doing It Wrong.Report

      • You’d think so, if management’s main goal was actually to promote productivity and efficiency rather than build a steel-reinforced concrete bunker around their own authority.

        But given that the latter is their real priority, it makes sense to exclude certain types. For example, I’m a stereotypical INTP. I view hierarchies and their authority-based rules as pretty much naturally stupid, and their interference with those actually doing the work as a form of irrationality to be routed around (like the Net treats censorship as damage and routes around it). But if I were taking the test for an employer, I probably wouldn’t go far wrong asking myself how an ESTJ would answer every question.Report

        • Avatar RTod in reply to Kevin Carson says:

          Aren’t we all convinced that – knowing the job description of whatever position we are gunning for – we could totally nail the test if we wanted?Report

        • > But given that the latter is their real priority

          That would be an uncharitable reading of the workplace. Not entirely inaccurate, though.

          I think the most fair way to put it is that an organization, as a social construct, very rapidly begins to formalize its social norms in the processes that add members to the organization. Typically, this means that the longer the organization has been around, the more likely it is to suffer from groupthink and the more likely it is that middle management (in particular) would have been self-selected to be the sorts of cats who self-select for more groupthink.

          I don’t think that all managers are power-paranoid morons. However, I think that many organizations are susceptible to creating managers who are functionally indistinguishable from power-paranoid morons through really bad organizational leadership. This gives many/most organizations a bad name (justifiably so).

          Blaming the bad managers is like blaming a symptom instead of the disease.Report

        • I’ve taken the MB test several times and I always come up the same as Hitler, Trump, and Darth Vader (ENTJ), but I also view hierarchies and their rules as fundamentally stupid. I’ve been told by a billion career counselors that it’s clear I should become a lawyer, but that’s probably the last career I would be comfortable in. But then again, I guess all I have to do to ensure my chosen career conforms to the test results is to stop talking to people. Also, I’ve heard that the two middle letters carry a lot more weight in career assessment. Anyone know if this is true?Report

          • I always end up INFJ, which is rather rare if I remember correctly. I think I’m told to be a therapist, writer, activist or social worker, and that MLK, Jr. and I would’ve been bosom buddies. I don’t know if the middle two are correct, but I do fancy myself as a writer-in-training…though I’m hoping to add lawyer to that one day rather than martyr.Report

          • Avatar Simon K in reply to Christopher Carr says:

            If the second letter is “N” (iNtuitive), the third letter (Thinking of Feeling) is important. If the second letter is “S” (Sensing) the last letter (Perceiving or Judging) is important. The Introvert/Extrovert thing stands alone.

            Basically being “N” means you’re focussed on your mental model of the world, so its really important whether that model is focussed on how stuff works (T) or how people react (F). Being “S” means you’re focussed on the evidence of your senses, so its really important whether you process that evidence in a decision-making kind of way (J) or an oh-thats-interesting kind of way (P). In general iNtuitive people are rare in the general poplation – I think maybe 20% – but they’ll be the overwhelming majority of people reading this. And taking Myers Briggs tests.Report

          • To me, Trump screams S rather than N. He seems like a classic *S*J type — an over-the-top Type-A personality. The E, when combined with the other stuff, just makes him an obnoxious blowhard. Generally when you’re dealing with someone who’s an E**J, I think the “N vs. T” thing makes a huge difference.Report

            • Avatar Trumwill in reply to Kevin Carson says:

              I would have pegged him more for a P. Agree on the S.

              In any event, Simon is looking more at the Kierseyan model for MBTI. Kevin is closer earlier models (that many still adhere to) wherein the E/I distinction changes everything (at least for some types). I think, anyway. It’s been a while since I read up on all of this.Report

  7. Avatar Michael says:

    Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.51, Left/Right: -5.62

    I felt as though some of these questions, particularly on the use of military force were almost impossible to answer. Do I give my gut reaction? Or my understanding of how the world works? For all of my issues with the questions asked, they plotted me on the graph in the location I self-identify.Report

  8. Avatar Louis B. says:

    The C4SS quiz is far better IMO, despite some slight redundancies.Report

    • Avatar Trumwill in reply to Louis B. says:

      I’ll have to investigate this quiz further to better understand the context, but I got:

      13% Economic Leftist
      3% Statist
      4% Anti-militarist
      30% Socio-Cultural Liberal
      20% Civil Libertarian

      The main test got me -1.5 and -1.64.Report

  9. Avatar Will H. says:

    To update an old discussion:
    The carbon can be removed from coal– completely.
    I’m at the Edwardsport site these days; two coal-burners, 60 years old, the dirtiest power station in the US. They will be decommissioned soon due to a new power plant fueled by the wonder fuel– coal. 600 MW, roughly 3 1/2 times the amount of power.
    Not all of the AQCS structures here, but an ASO, a mini-refinery. The carbon is removed pre-combustion, in something like a giant espresso machine. The gases are separated in the evaporative column in the ASO. The boilers are fired by syngas.
    Working on the hydrogen lines to the HRSG’s and the air lines on the power block these days.Report

  10. I’m -2.62 (economic left / right) and -3.38.

    I’m not really surprised at the results, but do question some of the questions.Report

  11. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    Yeah, the Nolan political compass test is widely known for being weighted toward showing people, “see, you’re really a libertarian!”Report

  12. I’m a damn hippie, apparently:

    Economic Left/Right: -8.25
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.38

    My problem with the economic questions is that they were phrased in moral language. Therefore, I was answering like a socialist because that’s what I’d *want* if the world operated like it does in my dreams, etc.; but that doesn’t mean that I also believe that what I want could be implemented successfully…Report

  13. I almost never complete these things because I get to a question that I simply refuse to answer at face value. Half the questions on that test reflected some tacit starting assumption that I disagreed with, with the result that I was unwilling to choose between the inadequate set of alternatives.Report

  14. Avatar DMD says:

    Good Lord that test has been on the web since 1996. And yes it skews libertarian.Report

  15. Avatar Max says:

    Economic Left/Right: -4.88
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.23Report

  16. Avatar Murali says:

    Economic Left/Right: 3.43
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.91

    Apparently I’m milton friedman.Report

  17. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    Heh. There was a day, (hell some of the oldsters still do) when folx on dKos would put the results of their Political Compass test in their sigline.

    So tiresome. As Kevin observes, comes a point where the obviously begged question is so stupid it’s not worth answering.Report

  18. Seems like I’m in the same quadrant as almost everyone else here:

    Economic Left/Right: -3.50
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.95

    But while I lean liberal in terms of the society I think may be best, I don’t really have the right to foist my views on others, and I’m aware that government has a track record of poisoning the well, so I’d prefer to err on the side of giving the national government less power. Depending on how I interpreted the questions, I could have easily wound up in the libertarian right I think.Report

    • C4SS quiz results:

      69% Economic Leftist
      56% Anarchist
      68% Anti-Militarist
      57% Socio-Cultural Liberal
      67% Civil Libertarian

      I’m quite surprised that I came out that extreme actually. I had pegged myself as more of a radical centrist.Report

      • I’m surprised I only showed up in the high 80s as economic leftist and anarchist. Jeez, I thought I was 100% (or at least 99 44/100%) anarchist.Report

        • To be precise, I am:

          64% economic leftist
          44% anarchist
          93% anti-militarist
          85% socio-cultural liberal
          77% civil-libertarianReport

          • Avatar b-psycho in reply to E.D. Kain says:

            So for all the griping over at BJ, you’re probably more liberal than they are now.Report

            • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to b-psycho says:

              Depends on how you define liberal.Report

            • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to b-psycho says:

              Actually, in the first quiz above I come out as a mild-right-winger. But the second quiz slants things so that free-markety questions can be answered with a left-libertarian answer, so that puts me back on the economic left. Mainly, I think, because I distrust management and support labor. But I think free marketeers should support labor, so there you go. I’m probably much more of a civil libertarian and much to the right on many economic issues from most of the BJ crowd, and also far far more dovish.Report

              • It seems like the one big thing that explains otherwise radically different quiz results is the widespread assumption that a free market is synonymous with corporate capitalism as we know it. That’s the defining issue of our epoch if you ask me, yet it’s successfully brushed under the rug.Report

              • Avatar Simon K in reply to Christopher Carr says:

                I agree that that’s the issue. The trouble is it doesn’t fit neatly into the progressive/conservative distinction that’s sort-of fundamental to how democratic polities tend to proceed. The state either is defending the status quo, or its being used to overturn the status quo to favor some different group. Defending the “free market” tends to be a defense of the status quo expressed as a desire to “leave people alone”, ignoring the fact that the state is in fact all over the place in the status quo and markets are far from free. The idea that the best transformation of the status quo might by for the state to sod off and leave markets alone is hard to express when the popular conception of leaving stuff alone involves plenty of state intervention.Report

  19. Did you get the link to the quiz from me, Erik? It’s been around forever.

    I’ve taken it a few times before; it became a game after a while, as they change some of the questions here and there, to see if I could honestly get myself into the upper left-hand square, which is where I figure I belong (along with, apparently, Pope Benedict and Robert Schumann). I haven’t taken it in years, though, so I tried again:

    Economic Left/Right: -8.00
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.31

    Close, but not quite there yet, I think.Report

  20. Avatar Scott says:

    Economic Left/Right: 4.62
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 2.26Report

  21. Y’all might be interested in Gary Chartier’s “Find Your Philosophy Quiz,” which is much better designed than most:
    http://c4ss.org/quizReport

  22. Avatar b-psycho says:

    My Political Compass result:
    Economic Left/Right: -1.75
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.46

    Just to the right of the Dalai Lama on the international chart. I’m not particularly familiar with his policy views though, so I wouldn’t be able to say how accurate that is. I identify as a left-libertarian these days.

    On c4ss.org quiz I got this:

    93% Economic Leftist
    75% Anarchist
    96% Anti-Militarist
    63% Socio-Cultural Liberal
    80% Civil Libertarian

    Not a surprise with the divergence, as there’s some things I’m kinda “old school” about compared to most of the respondents there, even though I’d still be a flaming leftwing nutjob in comparison to the general population on cultural issues.Report

  23. Avatar Kyle says:

    Oh c4ss…

    22% Economic Leftist
    13% Statist
    0% Militarist – how does one get 0%?
    46% Socio-Cultural Liberal
    57% Civil Libertarian

    Compared to everyone but Trumwill, I’m positively moderate…Report

  24. Avatar Plinko says:

    Let’s see. . .
    Economic Left/Right: -3.75
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.59

    42% Economic Leftist
    0% Statist
    82% Anti-Militarist
    70% Socio-Cultural Liberal
    50% Civil Libertarian

    I think these things way overweight any possible moderation on economic issues to the left, you either worship at the altar of John Galt or you’re a leftist. I should be slightly to the right on the economic scales but there’s really no questions that could weight you there on either quiz.Report

  25. Avatar North says:

    Wierd, I landed square on the line between left and right. But I’m libertarian -4.Report

  26. Economic Left/Right: -4.88
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.92

    Not a surprise to me at all.Report

  27. Took the C4SS quiz. Interesting range of questions; certainly different from the Political Compass. I ended up with…

    57% Economic Leftist (Economic Leftist / Economic Rightist)
    38% Statist (Anarchist / Statist)
    57% Anti-Militarist (Anti-Militarist / Militarist)
    13% Socio-Cultural Conservative (Socio-Cultural Liberal / Socio-Cultural Conservative)
    23% Civil Libertarian (Civil Libertarian / Civil Authoritarian)

    …which makes sense to me, mostly. On the economic left; more a statist than an anarchist (but not an authoritarian); more culturally conservative than liberal (but not a fan of the military). That works.Report

  28. Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

    Here’s the howler for me, among a crop of highly objectionable questions:

    Governments should penalise businesses that mislead the public.

    Is there anyone in the entire world who disagrees with this? I don’t think anyone can honestly assert it.Report

    • I prefer “Which New Kid On The Block are you?” quizzes, I think.

      The questions are usually phrased in such a way that I understand how I am evolving through time from a Danny to a Jordan to a Joe.

      Well, I’m not a Joe yet.

      I hope to be.Report

    • Avatar RTod in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      I mostly agree with this statement, except…

      When I here talk radio guys talk about past erroneous claims from fast food places or tobacco companies about the healthiness of their products, I here them talk about how its the consumers responsibility to make those decisions, not the corporation’s to be accurate.

      And before everybody starts dogging me for supporting all kinds of regulation I don’t, I don’t actually have a dog in this fight. Just pointing out that in these cases I do hear some version of this argument.Report

      • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to RTod says:

        I’d say that we can’t trust corporations to be honest, and an honest corporation is one that tends to go out of business unless you have a scrupulous consumer base, so ultimately everything has to be consumer driven.

        That still doesn’t mean we shouldn’t punish corporations for fraudulent activity, although it’s quite clear that these tiny slap-on-the-wrist fines which are the most popular way to punish corporations do more to help big business by driving out smaller entrepreneurial competition.

        So, even that one is nuanced. I would say have managers who are complicit in criminal negligence replace poor drug users in our prisons and let their companies rot regardless of jobs.Report

    • I’m an anarchist, so I don’t think governments “should” do anything (“I expect you to die, Mr. Bond.”). But I think local free juries or whatever other adjudicative bodies emerge in a stateless society should enforce damages for fraud, so I answered “Agree” in what I thought was the spirit of the question.

      But it’s pretty obvious the question implicitly treated penalties for fraud as a metric of anti-market sentiment from the “economic left.”Report

  29. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    Economic Left/right: o.12
    Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.69
    Shoulders: fully shrugged.Report

  30. “Protectionism is sometimes necessary in trade.”

    Well, *no*, not for economic reasons. It might be necessary for political or national security reasons, though. A whole slew of objections on these questions.

    They seem, to me, to be more of a measure of “what sort of political rhetoric you’re inclined to swallow”. I guess, in that sense, it’s somewhat useful because it can help calibrate your bullshitometer. And naturally, my results reflect this, in that I usually have to think about left-libertarian bullshit before I notice the smell, while I smell right-authoritarian bullshit on first sniff.

    Economic Left/Right: -4.38
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.62

    The second test is bugging me too. Compare these two questions:

    > If a business pollutes the air I breathe or the water I
    > drink, I should be able to hold it legally accountable
    > by suing it for damage to my body or my possessions.

    > In cases in which people wrongly cause harm to others,
    > the primary focus of the legal system should be on
    > securing restitution for those who have been harmed.

    Wording is designed to encourage an answer. I mislike both questions.

    > In the absence of privileges secured by the state (such
    > as subsidies or monopoly or oligopoly privileges), the
    > price of a product will frequently tend toward the
    > price of the labor required to produce it.

    I believe in this case, the answer is, “the price of the product will eventually trend towards the price of manufacture and distribution”… but “eventually” and “frequently” are rather dramatically different. If I say I agree with this statement as written, I’m a free market capitalist. If I say I don’t, I’m probably put in some other container. Or this one:

    > It is especially important that people have access to weapons
    > to protect themselves against authoritarian violence by the
    > state.

    Hell, I can build devices that are *way* more dangerous than anything I can buy legally, and so can anybody else with a reasonably cautious approach to chemistry. So is it, “especially” important? Not really. Does that mean that the state ought to be treated as something that can’t turn authoritarian? What, do I look stupid?

    If I’m at war with an authoritarian regime, I need raw supplies and food and water, most likely. How you answer this question probably also trends a lot depending upon where you live (I imagine someone who lived under Barre is going to be more likely to say, “Hells, yes!” than someone who lives in Sweden).

    Here’s another doozy:

    > It is morally appropriate to attack noncombatants in order
    > to hasten the end of an otherwise just war.

    That’s just horribly worded there, practically “how long has it been since you stopped beating your wife?”

    Or this one:

    > Laws and social norms protecting freedom of speech
    > should safeguard only the expression of true beliefs.

    Well, yeah, of course, that’s what they *should* do. But there’s no way to know whether a belief is *true* or not. So, no matter what they *should* do, the only way for them to safeguard true beliefs is to safeguard stated beliefs. As a consequence, they’re going to safeguard random whacky crap, too.

    > People should be subjected to legal penalties for
    > distributing texts or images others find offensive.

    Well, uh, how are they distributing them? I mean, I don’t want billboards of latex and bondage fetishism next to my children’s school.

    Double-barreled questions throughout this thing. Doesn’t anybody take classes in survey instrument creation? Hm, does it say anything that disagreeing with double-barreled questions often makes you a Rightie? That seems to be a common thread in both questionnaires.

    Economic Leftist: 43%
    Anarchist: 43%
    Anti-Militarist: 79%
    Socio-Cultural Liberal: 72%
    Civil Libertarian: 52%Report

    • I communicated with Gary quite a bit during his formulation of the FYP quiz, and I think his explicit purpose was to correct for the faults of the Political Compass. For example the questions asking you to agree or disagree that markets would have generally progressive effects on reducing corporate power, equalizing incomes, etc., are deliberately designed to identify people who are not only free market but also economically left-wing, as identified by two separate axes. Gary intended the test as an alternative to the Political Compass’s unstated assumption that anyone who favored free markets was a right-wing shill for Wal-Mart.

      And the belief that free speech should only protect true opinions is almost a word-for-word quote from survey questions on other tests intended to identify cultural authoritarians.Report

      • > For example the questions asking you to agree or
        > disagree that markets would have generally
        > progressive effects on reducing corporate power,
        > equalizing incomes, etc., are deliberately designed
        > to identify people who are not only free market
        > but also economically left-wing, as identified by
        > two separate axes.

        Yeah. Don’t do that. That’s a double-barreled question. Because you can’t tell, when I disagree, if I’m disagreeing with one half of it or the other. You also can’t tell, when I agree, which half of it I agree with enough to “agree”, vs. “strongly agree”.

        I mean, I understand the intention, but the results are going to be dodgy. It might give you good results for clear-cut cases of economic and political philosophy, but I’m pretty sure that hard-core Lefties and Righties already know who they are. The middle is mushy, and not well served in either of these two questionnaires (although the second one is better).

        > And the belief that free speech should only protect
        > true opinions is almost a word-for-word quote
        > from survey questions on other tests intended to
        > identify cultural authoritarians.

        That doesn’t make it a good question, does it? Because I could honestly answer that question with both “strongly agree” and “strongly disagree”; there is an underlying assumption that it is possible to measure true opinions. Heck come to think of it, even if it were technologically *possible* to measure true opinions, I’m nowhere near agreeing that everyone should be tested for true opinions prior to getting to open their pie-hole.Report

  31. And the belief that free speech should only protect true opinions is almost a word-for-word quote from survey questions on other tests intended to identify cultural authoritarians.

    See, I pondered that one for a while, though I eventually came down on what I presume was the “libertarian” side. I’m not a First Amendment absolutist, and I tend to see those who are–and thus, for example, would have voted with the majority in Phelps v. Snyder (probably the only time I’ve agreed with Alito!)–as opening the door for the reduction of what I accept as the social power and provenance of speech to an exchangeable commodity, an instrument to be used or disposed of as an individual wishes….and therefore, to Citizens United and other decisions that have titled the playing field of American democracy in favor of corporate power. I think it is both reasonable and right for communities to democratically recognize the power of speech in both its negative and positive capacities, and provide the means to put certain (non-prohibitive but nonetheless acceptably burdensome) limitations on that aspects they judge to be negative. Does that mean it should be possible for people to define “truth” and shape public discourse accordingly? I don’t think so. But if denying that the First Amendment only applies to “true opinions” means embracing an absolutism which would make impossible any kind of communitarian consideration about appropriate–and inappropriate–forms and places of speech, that would make me sad.Report

    • Do you identify with The Board in charge of deciding what speech ought to be protected?

      Do you identify with the people who will be told by The Board what speech will be protected and what speech will not be?

      As someone who answers those questions “No, Yes”, I find it much easier to be a free speech absolutist.Report

      • I would like to think that, in a better, more equal, more democratic world than the one we have today, that we’d all, in different times and in different contexts, find ourselves both as members of The Board and as those receiving the decisions of The Board, and thus would always be in the situation of having to identify with both. Obviously we don’t live in that world, but using that reality as a reason to reject what seems to me to be nonetheless the pretty obvious fact that people put themselves together into communities, and those communities tend, for innumerable reasons both good and bad, to establish Boards, strikes me as unfortunate, to say the least.Report

        • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Russell Arben Fox says:

          I would like to think that, in a better, more equal, more democratic world than the one we have today, that we’d all, in different times and in different contexts, find ourselves both as members of The Board and as those receiving the decisions of The Board, and thus would always be in the situation of having to identify with both.

          Were this the case, the Board would be unable to reach many definitive, non-contradictory conclusions. During my stint? Might as well ban something, so I’m picking all those who don’t use the Oxford comma.Report

  32. Avatar Boegiboe says:

    Economic left/right: 1.00
    Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82

    Pretty accurate. I mostly think free market principals applied in the absence of state-intrusion and corporate collusion allow for everyone to have a minimum standard of living that’s better than they’d have in a command economy.

    My C4SS results:
    50% Economic Leftist (Economic Leftist / Economic Rightist)
    41% Anarchist (Anarchist / Statist)
    36% Anti-Militarist (Anti-Militarist / Militarist)
    70% Socio-Cultural Liberal (Socio-Cultural Liberal / Socio-Cultural Conservative)
    57% Civil Libertarian (Civil Libertarian / Civil Authoritarian)

    I didn’t like this test mainly because so many statements were logically problematic. Some were of the form “I believe in A rather than B.” when I believe in neither one, and “Disagree” makes it look like I favor B. It was so clearly biased that it was hard not to choose against the bias that was under the question. There was less of that in the shorter first quiz.Report

  33. Avatar Trumwill says:

    A long while back, I wrote a quiz with fictitious parties (that exist within a comic book framework I was working on). Basically, a bottom-up party (market-friendly, pro-diversity but in favor of local control) a top-down (technocratic, efficiency-oriented, church-friendly) party. A lot of people I know – liberal and conservative – took the test. Then, when they read the description of what they were, took the test again. Almost all of the conservatives ended up in the former party and the liberals in the latter. Once they knew where the fault lines were, they got into what we both thought was the more appropriate party for them.

    Anyhow, the lesson for me was (besides that my quiz-writing skills maybe needed work) that in the face of ambiguity (and almost all of these questions are ambiguous depending on what you mean by “should”, “often”, “never”, and so on) people will gravitate towards personas. The persona of the top-down party in the quiz was more liberal and so the liberals and Democrats veered their answers in that direction (and conservatives towards the bottom-up). The personas identified at the end were more mixed and fell more into a social order vs social freedom context (even though bottom-up was distinctly non-libertarian in some respects, and top-down quite pro-liberty in some).Report

  34. Avatar Axel Edgren says:

    100 % correct.

    No need for a test.Report

  35. Avatar Rob in CT says:

    Economic Left/Right: -2.88
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.18

    While it’s better than the recent Pew test, the questions are still simplistic. But then so is the whole concept, I suppose. Meh.Report

  36. Avatar Dan says:

    I hit almost dead center on the crosshairs. Which is quite a shock as I have always thought of myself as kind of a nonconformist. Turns out I’m Mr. Middle-of-the-Road. But in an age when everyone thinks they should be the star of a reality show or they can dance or sing better than anyone, or any thrice-bankrupt businessman can run for president, maybe being noncommittal and wishy-washy is a rebellion against the entire culture. Yeah, I’m the ultimate rebel. Fight the Power!Report

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