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That Political Compass Thingy

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Ashoka the Great


Every now and then I'll notice that players have their Political Compass score as part of their signature. I cannot tell you how many times I've tried this test. More than three but less than ten, probably. Each time, I gave up somewhere around Page 3.

Way back when studying for the priesthood, I took a variety of personality tests. I was interviewed by several psychologists. Before that, while working in public policy, I was given security clearance in order to fête various government-types from various countries including my own.

It is said that the unexamined life is not worth living. Well, having been compelled to examine my life from a variety of vantage points, I can also tell you that the over-examined life ain't so hot, either.

There's another reason I've avoided the Political Compass. As you may have picked up from the above comments, I hate tests, especially those that purport to tell me more about myself. I think they're all about as reliable as opening up the paper and checking my horoscope. (I'm a Pisces. We're supposed to be sensitive and caring and all that. Oh btw, I have the same birthday as Josef Mengele.)

Anyway, tonight I decided to try the Political Compass again. Not once, but twice. In the first test, I gave nuanced answers which most closely reflect my views at any given time. In the second test, I allowed myself only the option of 'Strongly Agree' or 'Strongly Disagree'. Nothing in-between.

I did this because, like most people, there are times when I feel like supporting the most drastic measures available. For example, each time I read about a serial killer being put away for life instead of genuinely paying for his crimes, I find that I am willing to support capital punishment for people who cut me off in traffic. When my own father was recently denied a place in a veterans' home because he had not served five or more years in the Canadian Army -- he served about four-and-a-half, including more than a year in combat in Korea -- I would have supported damn-near any measure that would guarantee seniors a measure of dignity.

And so on.

We all do this, right? I call it the 'If I Were Dictator' hypothesis. Something annoys us and in our minds we can't help but imagine how we'd do things if only we had the unlimited power to do so. (By the way, if I'm ever Supreme Dictator all office telephones, photocopiers and coffee makers will have identical instructions for use. If you've worked in more than a couple of offices, you know why.)

Anyway, according to this test, here's where I sit on a normal day:


I find this result to be interesting. I have spent a large part of my working life in public policy research, and the organizations I have worked for would tend to put me more to the economic right. I mean, geez, I organized Milton Friedman's (belated) eightieth birthday party in Vancouver, coinciding with a Regional Meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society. My (economic) libertarian credentials are pretty darn good, at least on paper. But, according to this test, not in practice.

Interesting. Perhaps I'm mellowing in my middle age, at least with regard to economic policy. Or perhaps I've just given up on the idea of making government small again.

With regard to personal liberty, that's no surprise at all. I've always been a "Get off my damn lawn" kind of guy.

Alright....having dispensed with that, let's see what the world would look like if I were granted absolute power.


And this is what the world would be like if I were handed supreme authority.

So what have I learned?

Well, apparently I'm an Authoritarian Centrist. For some reason I find that to be very funny. Or, rather, I found it funny until I compared my results with the placement of various political figures on the Political Compass:


Ha ha. Very funny. <_<

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Economic Left/Right: -4.38

Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.28

Interesting stuff. I guess I'm not surprised by the second, but the first has me as more right than I usually consider myself.

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Interesting. I avoid politics like the plague, so I was wondering where I would sit on this puppy.



I've taken this test before, years ago, and ended up with the inverse of that. Maybe I'll do it again sometime for kicks and giggles.

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I have a feeling that I could do this test a month from now and get wildly different results. Many of the answers will remain the same regardless of my particular mood -- the one about astrology, for example -- but the fact is that some of them are (in my opinion) misleading in a 'Have-you-stopped-beating-your-wife' kind of way.

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I have a feeling that I could do this test a month from now and get wildly different results. Many of the answers will remain the same regardless of my particular mood -- the one about astrology, for example -- but the fact is that some of them are (in my opinion) misleading in a 'Have-you-stopped-beating-your-wife' kind of way.

Yeah, a few of them were definitely geared towards testing one's emotions rather than retrieval of data. They might as well had the question "are you a blatant racist" in one of them.

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You are a Canadian, and I believe that's an American test, therefore you come out as a centrist. That should be a duh.

Good point.

An example of the difference for Americans:

In the United States, the discussion about health care focuses on how much of it should be controlled by the government vs. insurance companies. In Canada, the argument is centered on whether or not the private sector should run any part of the system. No politician, even the most 'conservative' by Canadian standards, has put forward the idea that we should ditch socialized medicine. The argument is about making it work better, not replacing it with something else.

Years ago, I saw Preston Manning and Ron Jeremy on the same interview program. Ron Jeremy was on first, and then Manning came out and described his vision of 'Prairie Populist Conservatism' or however one wishes to put it.

Manning went on at length, after which Ron Jeremy said to the interviewer, "If this is your idea of a conservative, I'm moving to Canada." And the truth is that this American porn star had a very good point. Mainstream Canadian politics does not include an American-neocon-style party, despite what opposition parties may say about Stephen Harper from time to time.

From having lived across the country, I'm fairly confident in saying that the only province with truly polarized politics is British Columbia. There's virtually no political Center there. Everywhere else (except for Alberta, which is overwhelmingly conservative) has its politics clustered around the Center. This is how we're able to switch from one party's rule to another's with almost no noticeable change in policy. Or, as my ex-wife's uncle put it in a conversation with me, "The difference between the Liberals and the Conservatives is that one party is in power, while the other is not."

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I'd done it ages ago, but could not remember how i scored.

Took it again, results were

Economic Left/Right: -4.25

Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.67

I found that in the first 3 1/2 pages, i was mostly just agreeing/disagreeing, but after that it was alot more strongly agreeing or disagreeing.

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I think the first time I took this quiz was maybe over six years ago. My results have slowly moved to the right over that time, though now and even back then I always found the wording of the questions bias me towards giving leftist answers and some of them are just stupid.

Economic Left/Right: -5.25
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.46 

That puts me close to the Dalai Lama, a theocrat. Obviously something went wrong.

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Some days I’m the extreme right some days I’m the extreme left. Some days I want to save the world some days I want to destroy it. These tests dont prove a thing. Anyone can manipulate one of these to give the answer they want.

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I rememeber doing one these in High School. Funny story about that. I was known as the most outspoken Conservative in the student body. Our class took a questionare then the teacher began to tell us what our answers meant for our political leaning. Some one yelled out in the room "Yo, Smith what is your score now?" The guy was hoping for some crazy all conservative score. I started counting and my jaw dropped. I had actually had so many liberal answers that 2/3 of the way through counting I couldn't possibly be conservative. Stupid questionare featured a lot of tax, immigrations, and military intervention for humanitarian reasons. The three areas where I am not just moderate, but quite liberal in.

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I don't have time to retake the test but these were my results last week when I saw some people with their compass results in their signatures and got curious:

Economic Left/Right: 0.50

Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 4.41

A year ago though I was somewhere around Economic Left/Right: -4 and about the same for Social Libertarian/Authoritarian. Time changes perspective. Or I just can't give consistent answers because with the way the questions are worded, there really isn't any way to consistently answer them depending on how I feel on a certain subject at a given time.

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I'm -8, -6. I am proud that I'm pro-equality.

I had been working on a political quiz for Cybernations for a while, but quit when I realized I had no way to actually present it to CN or make it into a workable reality. While all the questions and math exist on paper and elsewhere, it's too bad I couldn't make it a reality. :(

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I'm generally bottom left [like, right in there], which isn't really true as i'm pretty centerist. The problem is that many of the issues that clearly get you pulled over to the left are considered 'normal' in NZ as opposed to the US so while I may be considered a 'radical' there, i'm just average here.

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