In my twenties, I was confused with my “wings.” I was left wing on some things, right wing on others.
How left was I? I wanted to reform capitalism democratically through state regulation. But I didn’t necessarily believe in a more equal distribution of wealth.
How right was I? I advocated the preservation of personal wealth and private ownership.Yet I didn’t want society to return to traditional/family values.
Then I learned about the Political Compass (www.PoliticalCompass.org).
First, it discredits the one-dimensional categories of “right” and “left.” For instance, it says, “On the standard left-right scale, how do you distinguish leftists like Stalin and Gandhi? It's not sufficient to say that Stalin was simply more left than Gandhi.”
Secondly, it proposes a political “compass,” claiming that an “economic dimension and a social dimension are important factors for a proper political analysis.” The X-axis is the traditional economic left and right. The Y-axis adds a social dimension, going from extreme authoritarian to extreme libertarian.
Thirdly, you can take a test that shows where you are on the compass. After answering about 60 questions about your view on your country, the economy, personal social values, society, religion, and sex, you’re given your “compass.”
My position was:
- Economic Left/Right: -3.12
- Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.44
In my opinion, these numbers only make sense when you see your position on a chart, and then compare your position to those of others. For instance, I’m in the same quadrant as Nelson Mandela (very cool) and Ralph Nader (sort of cool, sort of scary).
Take the test, find your position on the compass, then you’ll be able to answer the following questions:
How like George W. Bush and Margaret Thatcher am I?
Am I closer to Pope Benedict XVI or Milton Friedman?
Am I more like Sarah Palin or Joe Biden?