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Political compass one year on

 
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About a year ago there was a really interesting thread based on a web site called "The Political Compass". People answered some questions about political beliefs, and it put them on a 2D chart (as apposed to the standard 1D left-right axis). Anyway, it was fairly interesting:

https://coderanch.com/t/39024/md/Your-political-compass

There used to be an interesting chart with several javaranchers' scores shown on it, but that doesn't seem to be there any more

Looking back over this thread, I wondered if things will have changed since then - a lot has happened in the last year, what with the whole Iraq malarky. Could this have changed people's views? It could be interesting to do a "One year later" type thing and redo the test and see if the political makeup of the javaranch community has changed at all in the last year.

Anyway, the test is here http://www.politicalcompass.org/

---------
Just for the record, my results are:
Economic Left/Right: -6.62
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.56
 
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Economic Left/Right: -1.75
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.05

You mean I'm a centrist?! And all this time I thought I was a right-wing zealot. :roll:

My numbers from a year ago:

Economic Left/Right: -1.12
Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.03
[ June 02, 2004: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
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Economic Left/Right: -6.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.23

Ummm... what does that mean?
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by Mark Fletcher:
Economic Left/Right: -6.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.23

Ummm... what does that mean?



It means that someone on here is likely to call you a yellow bellied communist before to long

Seems like you think the government has a role to play in the economy and the big corporations can be detrimental to society... and that you don't like a government being to strict. The opposite of a certain Presedent then
 
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Economic Left/Right: -4.62
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.95

Still pretty close to Gandhi, as usual.

Used to be:
Economic Left/Right: -5.00
Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.74
[ June 02, 2004: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
Jason Menard
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It would be interesting to see what the people who think (or at least pretend I suppose) they're moderate centrists actually are according to this test. It's also interesting that based on last time we did this, the more extreme swings seemed to be towards the left and libertarian, as opposed to towards the right and authoratarian, despite the number of people here consistently classified as "right-wing" or "conservative". I wonder if this is a flaw in the test or a flaw in the people making these judgements?
 
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I wonder if this is a flaw in the test or a flaw in the people making these judgments?

It may be a flaw in the people taking the test: that is, they may say they hold one ideal, but exhibit a contradictory behavior.

One of the most brutal people I know is like this: he actually self defines as a pacifist, yet gets into fights almost every weekend. The truth of the matter is, not many people know themselves.

We're actually talking about this sort of thing here

M
 
Mark Fletcher
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Originally posted by Joe King:


It means that someone on here is likely to call you a yellow bellied communist before to long



My belly is pale white, we dont get much good weather up in Scotland Some colour to it would be nice. Although when I was at school we all used to joke about being Communists...

One geography class, the lesson was built around running an imaginary country and making use of its resources. There was a "Country House" of some Lord or Duke... most of the other groups used it for tourism, we told the teacher that we burned it down during the "revolution"

Originally posted by Joe King:


Seems like you think the government has a role to play in the economy and the big corporations can be detrimental to society... and that you don't like a government being to strict. The opposite of a certain Presedent then



I dont believe in planned economies; I do believe that one of the roles of government is to provide an infrastructure in which businesses and the economy as a whole can grow, and also to act as a check or balance to prevent businesses from exploting said infrastructure to the detriment of others... ie monopolies. But hey thats for another thread!

Ugh. I sounded too much like a politician there!
[ June 02, 2004: Message edited by: Mark Fletcher ]
 
Mark Fletcher
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
It would be interesting to see what the people who think (or at least pretend I suppose) they're moderate centrists actually are according to this test. It's also interesting that based on last time we did this, the more extreme swings seemed to be towards the left and libertarian, as opposed to towards the right and authoratarian, despite the number of people here consistently classified as "right-wing" or "conservative". I wonder if this is a flaw in the test or a flaw in the people making these judgements?



I think some of those "Strongly Agree" or "Strongly Disagree" options can skew the results as such, Im a bit suprised that I lie so far to the left; I wonder if there was a "neutral" option, how different would the results be?
 
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I knew it, I'm a kindred soul to Maggy Thatcher.
Economic Left/Right: 3.88
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 4.87

This test is kinda flawed indeed, in that it allows no neutral position on any issue.

But at least it's not as badly flawed as one that was ran here for the last elections by one TV station to advise people on what to vote which ALWAYS told you to vote for the same (extremist leftwing) party.
I tried that and even when giving deliberately only answers I knew contradicted with the program of that party it still told me to vote for them.
Let that be a lesson to never trust such tests...

Edit:
If you look at their last chart you a fatal flaw in their method or results.
Both Tony Blair and Schroeder are shown as rightwing figures.
In fact, both (and especially Schroeder as leader of the German socialist party and an ex-communist party leader.
They're both closer to Chirac in their opinions who is shown correctly as the leftist authoritarian figure he is.

Of course it also shows me as autharitarian where I checked mainly for less government control...
[ June 02, 2004: Message edited by: Jeroen Wenting ]
 
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Me:

Economic Left/Right: -5.88
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.69



Pretty close to Map and Ghandi.

It's interesting that everyone so far lies entirely in the "third quadrant" (the lower left). But do note (and Jason, I'm not picking a fight, you mentioned this first) that if you look just at the third quadrant, of the people who have spoken up so far, Jason is nearest the origin -- i.e., the closest to the first quadrant where GWB (for example) sits. It's curious that there are no famous people on the graph who are near the origin (near Jason). I suspect that's just because they picked people with relatively extreme views to put on the graph; I wonder where, in contrast, a few randomly selected current U.S. senators would lie? How about current Indian MPs?

Anyway, I think that the thing to bring away from this is that the location of the origin is arbitrary; it's the values relative to one another, not relative to the really meaningless zero point, that matter. The relative positions of Jason's dot and my dot, for example, shouldn't surprise anyone, even if the relationship between Jason's dot and the origin does.

[ Note added later: I was typing this before Jeroen chimed in. ]
[ June 02, 2004: Message edited by: Ernest Friedman-Hill ]
 
Jeroen Wenting
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I think you'll find relatively few famous political figures near the center.
Such people tend to have outspoken ideals that incite either love or hatred among the masses, while people near the center will tend to be more moderate with less extreme ideas one way or the other.

Their ideas may make sense and may even be better in the long run, but "more tasty cheese for everyone" is less likely to be a successful rallying cry than "down with the bourgeouisy, let's install the rule of the proletariat" or "Germany for the Germans, Auslaender 'raus".
 
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I got:

Economic Left/Right: -0.62
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.41

The closest historical figure to me on the chart is... Jason Menard. That is yet another indication that the test is flawed. The only thing that I share with Jason is common sense.

I found some of the questions ambiguous. For example,


A significant advantage of a one-party state is that it avoids all the arguments that delay progress in a democratic political system.



There are actually 2 questions in here. Which one are we to answer? Will the arguments be avoided in a one-party state? Of course. Will that be a democratic political system? Of course not.

Or take this one:


Religion and morality are closely linked.



How can one deny that morality and religion are closely linked in our societies? Perhaps the real question is, "Are religion and morality intrinsicaly linked", or "Should religion and morality be closely linked?"

I do think that the 2-dimensional plane reflects a political view better than a traditional 1-dimensional axis. Here is my rendering of that:

 
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Ernest Friedman-Hill -- I wonder where, in contrast, a few randomly selected current U.S. senators would lie? How about current Indian MPs?

He he, nice pun Doctor. I guess the answer is everywhere!

Don't know much about the U.S. senators, but I can you tell where most of Indian MPs (all current, past, and future) would lie. They wouldn't fit on a single co-ordinate, but keep moving depending on the situation. They will want to be totalitarian and authoritarian when they are in power, and libertarian when in opposition. Will present themselves as leftist when campanining in villages and as rightist when campaining in cities. As for their true beliefs, well, there's no such thing
 
Jason Menard
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To be honest, so far the results aren't that surprising, and seem to generally be in line with what I'd expect. Despite Eugene's protests otherwise, I always suspected that we were fairly close. Joe King is a self-professed socialist (of the libertarian variety had always been my assumption) and his numbers seem to be in line with this. Jeroen I suspected leaned a bit to the right, and his numbers also indicate this. So really, to my mind at least, the numbers seem to generally be in line with what I have extrapolated to be the general views of many folks here. That doesn't necessarily mean they're accurate, but it is interesting, assuming of course that we are all being truthful when we answer these questions. I'd be interested in seeing more of the forum participants post their numbers to see how good my own intuition is, but I suspect that some would deliberately like to avoid doing this.

Of the questions I answered, I can only think of two off the top of my head that I answered in what I would think many would identify as a definite right-wing position: the "from each according to their ability to each according to their need" one, and the abortion one. A few I know were answered in what I suspect many here might think is a definite left-leaning position.
[ June 02, 2004: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
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Economic Left/Right: 0.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 0.82

Just about as close to the middle as you can get.

Some of the questions are just plain stupid. Like this one, "No one can feel naturally homosexual." How I am I supposed to know what other people can feel? And this one: "Astrology accurately explains many things.
" What does astrology have to do with anything? By the way, the more you believe in astrology the more it pushes you up the "authoritarian" scale. Do you think that is because Hitler believed in astrology.

As far as the people on the chart, do you really think they took the test or did someone take it for them? How do they know how Tony Blair feels about, "Some people are naturally unlucky"?
 
Jason Menard
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How do they know how Tony Blair feels about, "Some people are naturally unlucky"?

My spin on the "some people are unnaturally lucky" question was that it was basically asking about luck vs hard work and opportunity. If I believe that anybody can make something of themselves given hard work and opportunity, then I would have to strongly disagree with this question.
[ June 02, 2004: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
How do they know how Tony Blair feels about, "Some people are naturally unlucky"?

My spin on the "some people are unnaturally lucky" question was that it was basically asking about luck vs hard work and opportunity. If I believe that anybody can make something of themselves given hard work and opportunity, then I would have to strongly disagree with this question.



Here is my spin on it... it's the law of very big numbers. Got to a casino and place one bet and you might win. Place many bets over a long time and you are sure to lose. Suppose that you have a 1 in 10 chance of having something bad happen to you each day. Among 100 people, one person would have something bad happen to them two days in a row. Among 1,000 people one person would have a bad thing happen to them three days in a row. etc. So whereas the average person might have only one bad thing happen every 10 days, given enough people there will be some people who have bad things happen to them a lot.

I was reading a story a couple of weeks ago about a couple with a new baby who left NY after 9/11 because they just didn't feel safe. They moved to a small town in Colorado where they thought nothing bad would ever happen to them. They were driving to the stores when a piece of an overpass broke off and fell on their car killing all three of them. Pretty unlucky.
 
John Smith
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
How do they know how Tony Blair feels about, "Some people are naturally unlucky"?

My spin on the "some people are unnaturally lucky" question was that it was basically asking about luck vs hard work and opportunity. If I believe that anybody can make something of themselves given hard work and opportunity, then I would have to strongly disagree with this question.



Same argument goes for the "Astrology accurately explains many things" that Tom questioned. Presumably, the rationale is that the liberals are more likely to discount personal ambition and entrepreneurship in light of the cosmic predestination. There is obviously much more depth in there than presumed by the question.
 
Max Habibi
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the rationale is that the liberals are more likely to discount personal ambition and entrepreneurship in light of the cosmic predestination. There is obviously much more depth in there than presumed by the question.

Or less. Isn't the anti-christ a liberal?
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Max Habibi:
Or less. Isn't the anti-christ a liberal?

I thought the anti-Christ was a fascist.
 
Max Habibi
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I meant Bill Gates

M
 
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My results from last time:

Economic Left/Right: -5.38
Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.49

My results this time:

Economic Left/Right: -5.25
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.23

Doesn't appear to be too much difference. But the test might have been changed a little since last time, the page says it was updated in february 2004.
 
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Today:
Economic Left/Right: 2.50
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.46

Previously:
Economic Left/Right: 1.00
Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.28
 
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Economic Left/Right: 3.62
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.08

Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Some of the questions are just plain stupid. Like this one, "No one can feel naturally homosexual." How I am I supposed to know what other people can feel?



It's pretty obvious that some people feel 'naturally homosexual', so to deny that seems stupid. Doesn't necessarily mean that one thinks that homosexuals cannot be 'cured', though I'm unsure why they need curing.

Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
And this one: "Astrology accurately explains many things.
" What does astrology have to do with anything? By the way, the more you believe in astrology the more it pushes you up the "authoritarian" scale. Do you think that is because Hitler believed in astrology.



Believing in astrology is just stupid, and we all know that all right-wingers are just plain stupid. Don't we? Seems to me that a lot of left-wingers are prone to uncritical belief in a lot of things which just ain't so. But my opinions can be safely overlooked because I'm a right-winger and therefore too stupid to take note of. Circular argument.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Don Stadler:
It's pretty obvious that some people feel 'naturally homosexual', so to deny that seems stupid.

And how the heck do I know what other people feel. And what does "naturally homosexual" mean? As compared to "unnaturally homosexual"? The questions seems quite idiotic to me. I think a more reasonable statement would be something like "Homosexuals choose to be homosexual".
 
Max Habibi
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And how the heck do I know what other people feel. And what does "naturally homosexual" mean? As compared to "unnaturally homosexual"? The questions seems quite idiotic to me. I think a more reasonable statement would be something like "Homosexuals choose to be homosexual".

This is one of the reasons I hate polls. You're both right, but the poll can't possibly take that into account. However, it obviously means something to the person who wrote the poll.

M
 
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Economic Left/Right: -3.88
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.44
 
Don Stadler
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
And how the heck do I know what other people feel. And what does "naturally homosexual" mean? As compared to "unnaturally homosexual"? The questions seems quite idiotic to me. I think a more reasonable statement would be something like "Homosexuals choose to be homosexual".



I don't think we disagree, Tom. I don't personally know either, but I have a cousin who feels "naturally homosexual". So I take his word for it.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Don Stadler:


I don't think we disagree, Tom. I don't personally know either, but I have a cousin who feels "naturally homosexual". So I take his word for it.




Is that anything like feeling like a natural woman?

http://www.kj7.host.sk/n01.html

And what would it be like to feel "artificially homosexual"?
 
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"No one can feel naturally homosexual."

Having spent my entire lunch break thinking through the logical consequences of this statement, I am gratified that I eventually concluded the same thing that I did after 3 seconds. The writing below is meaningless, but given I put so much effort into it I'm gonna post it anyway.

---

The statement could be interpreted thus:

Let E be a feeling. Now, Let F be the statement "naturally E". Then, I would say F is just another feeling. If you can feel E, you can feel naturally E. (I found it easier to see this by considering E a delusion: if you can delude yoursel into thinking E, it's a small step to delude yourself E is natural).

This makes no statement about whether you can "be" E. And of course there is no way of determining, for a feeling E, that you are (or "can be") that feeling: the sense of "being a feeling" is undefined.

Now, if someone feels homosexual, they will probably act (or desire to act) homosexually (ie, perform homosexual acts). Now an interesting question is, is the definition of being homosexual? This is controversial: is it genetic? Is homosexual sex equivalent to being (at least partially) homosexual?

I would say that a desire to perform homosexual acts makes you being "non-heterosexual" (a term which queer theorists hate - they prefer LGBTIQ).

So by my logic, "feels naturally homosexual" implies "performs homosexual acts" implies "is non-heterosexual". Thus, the original statement is equivalent to "no-one can be non-heterosexual": "everyone is heterosexual". (Hmm, first-order logic helps there )

Of course, having deduced this, it is entirely bogus: If you feel something, how do you know you actually feel it or you just feel you feel it, and aren't aware of the "truth"?

Gah. What a waste of a lunch break. Particularly as I knew the answer all along.


--Tim
 
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New:

Economic Left/Right: -1.62
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.54

Old:

Economic Left/Right: -4.12
Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.95
[ June 02, 2004: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]
 
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Originally posted by Joe King:
There used to be an interesting chart with several javaranchers' scores shown on it, but that doesn't seem to be there any more

Terribly sorry, but I deleted it in a fit of compulsive purging. I may have a copy at home, but I doubt it.

Last year I was -5.75 x -3.9. Now I'm -4.88 x -3.64. That's over a whole point to the right My brain has been affected.
 
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Me then:

Economic Left/Right: -1.88
Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.00

Me now:

Economic Left/Right: -0.75
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.38

I note that this is exactly the sort of poll I recently endorsed. We're being asked the exact same questions at different points in time. And while the some of the individual questions may be rather lame, the (apparent?) general movement to the right and up does seem significant. Are we now somewhat hardened by recent events? Seems likely.

[Richard]: Terribly sorry, but I deleted it in a fit of compulsive purging. I may have a copy at home, but I doubt it.

That's OK; Im sure you can reconstruct the graph from the data still available.

You do realize we're going to be revisting this topic every year now, right? You're in this for the long haul - accept it. I'd suggest Eugene as an alternate, but he'd just use some software that attempts to fit some lame-ass wiggley blue curve onto the resulting distribution, obscuring the reality of what's actually going on.

Joe, thanks for revisiting this topic. That thread is one of my fonder memories of MD. I still laugh at

[Map]: And where is Herb? We need to fill some other quadrants, you know.

And Siu's "Goal!" was great. Plus, the idea that Siu Chung Man is JavaRanch's closest equivalent to Saddam Hussein and Yasser Arafat is too funny - probably says more about the poll than it does about Siu (or Arafat or Saddam). To be fair, Siu was closest to Pope John Paul II, so I doubt he's too upset.
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
I knew it, I'm a kindred soul to Maggy Thatcher.


Boo hiss!


If you look at their last chart you a fatal flaw in their method or results.
Both Tony Blair and Schroeder are shown as rightwing figures.
In fact, both (and especially Schroeder as leader of the German socialist party and an ex-communist party leader.



Not so sure about Schroeder, but Tony Blair is not really left any more. The Labour party was left-wing at one point (and like the German socialists, joined the Socialist International), but Tony Blair, having rebranded Labour as New Labour, has given them a significant shift to the right. Policies like no longer supporting trade unions and considering partially privatising hospitals and the London Underground, and variable tuition fees have meant that a lot of people in the UK now see Blair as being right of centre rather than to the left. Its a common complaint that there is now little difference between Labour and the Tories. The chart probably correctly positions him, although its probably not where the majority of grass roots Labour members would be.
 
Don Stadler
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One question we're not asking is 'relative to what political scale'? I think this questionaire came from a UK source which would be somewhere between the US and Germany or France.

Gerhard Schroeder would be a lefty on most political scales but in Germany he's definately an economic right-winger (though not an extreme one). John Kerry is a definate lefty on the US scale but would similarly fall on the right (even the far right) on the German scale. Bush is centre-right in the US but off the scale as far as Germany is concerned.
 
Jason Menard
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One question we're not asking is 'relative to what political scale'? I think this questionaire came from a UK source which would be somewhere between the US and Germany or France.

It seems to be their own interpretation and not a scale centered on any one particular place's values. Besides, any majority held opinion in a certain place instantly becomes "moderate" or the center, even though this is not necessarily true. In places where opinions are more diverse, everybody thinks they are moderate for the most part. I know a lot of people who like to think themselves moderates who I would classify as raging left-wingers for example.

In any event, I think they explain their scale fairly clearly on their analysis page. Their FAQ is also interesting, and answers some of the questions that hav ebeen asked here. For example, someone thought they should have a "no opinion" answer between "agree" and "disagree". They address this in the FAQ:

You should have a "don't know" option

This makes it too easy for people to duck difficult issues. By forcing people to take a positive or negative stance, the propositions make people really evaluate their feelings. Often people find they wanted to select 'don't know' mainly because they'd never really thought about the idea.

 
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