Wednesday, January 17, 2007

political compass

It appears that some people don't understand what right-wing means in terms of politics, apart from using it as a general term of abuse.

I recommend visiting the site http://www.politicalcompass.org/ to see your own political beliefs (as determined by a short questionnaire) graphed against some famous people. The unique aspect of the Political Compass is that they separate economic and authoritarian values. Stalinism is listed as extreme authoritarian-left and Thatcherism as medium authoritarian-right. Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama are listed as liberal-left.

I score -6.5 on the economic left/right index and -6.46 on the social libertarian/authoritarian index, this means that I am fairly strongly liberal-left. Previously the Political Compass site would graph resulta against famous people but they have since removed the combined graph feature and the scale from the separate graphs. Thus I can't determine whether their analysis of the politics of Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama indicate that one of those men has beliefs that more closely match mine than the other. I guess that this is because the famous politicians did not take part in the survey and an analysis of their published material was used to assess their beliefs, this would lead to less accuracy.

The Wikipedia page on Right-Wing Politics provides some useful background information. Apparently before the French revolution in the Estates General the nobility sat on the right of the president's chair. The tradition of politically conservative representatives sitting on the right of the chamber started there, I believe that such seating order is still used in France while in the rest of the world the terms left and right are used independently of seating order.

Right-wing political views need not be associated with intolerance. If other Debian developers decide to publish their political score as determined by the Political Compass quiz then I'm sure that we'll find that most political beliefs are represented, and I'm sure that most people will discover that someone who they like has political ideas that differ significantly from their own.

7 comments:

Kelner said...

In Polish Parliament, which is called Sejm, deputies take their seats according to their left-right allignment. I'm however not exactly sure if right wing deputies sit on the right side of Marshal of Sejm chair or the opposite.
My PC results:
Economic Left/Right: 0.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.62
And it has been like that for last 2 years or so. I've only moved a little bit to the right side of economic scale and moderated my social views a little.
P.S. Great blog, but where are the bears pictures?

Kelner said...

Damn, I wated to say "beard pictures"

Anonymous said...

While the poll is fun, it was frustrating for me to take.

It's not exactly a balanced list of questions. For example, if I agree that "mothers may have careers, but their primary role is to bea homemaker" I cannot also agree that fathers should be a homemaker as well. (Meaning the home is more important for *both* parents than the career -- sadly a viewpoint not shared with many families in the middle-class & up.)

I would guess that the authors of the question in my feelings about the role of women in the workplace, and not my feelings about the importance of family. But whether I agree or disagree with a one sentence statement doesn't necessarily depend on my feelings about women in the workplace.

meuserj said...

My Results as a Libertarian/Objectivist/Classical Liberal:

Economic Left/Right: 8.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.15

etbe said...

anon: Have you read the FAQ http://www.politicalcompass.org/faq?

Questions 1 and 4 in the FAQ seem to cover your issues.

I think we have to face the fact that no such survey can be totally accurate and that everyone will have some issues with some of the questions. If we round the results off to integers then it should remove the effect of such questions.

Anonymous said...

I guess many European parliaments have their seating order inspired by the French. At least the German Bundestag follows it, too.

TimC said...

I can't be bothered taking that test again, but I recall testing even more extreme left-liberal than the Dalai Lama.

Bloody left wing communist pinko liberals.