Political Compass

Three years back, I answered an online Political Compass questionaire in hifi courtesy of takyo. Since I encountered it again from takyo’s blog, I thought I’d put it here just in case anyone else wishes to find out about theirs.

So what’s the political compass? We usually think of political alignment of people based on their economic views. We consider someone who espouses communist ideals a leftist for example while someone who goes for liberal economic ideas one from the right. But what about the consideration of social viewpoints? So the article presented after answering the questions goes:

If we recognise that this is essentially an economic line it’s fine, as far as it goes. We can show, for example, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung and Pol Pot, with their commitment to a totally controlled economy, on the hard left. Socialists like Mahatma Gandhi and Robert Mugabe would occupy a less extreme leftist position. Margaret Thatcher would be well over to the right, but further right still would be someone like that ultimate free marketeer, General Pinochet.

That deals with economics, but the social dimension is also important in politics. That’s the one that the mere left-right scale doesn’t adequately address. So we’ve added one, ranging in positions from extreme authoritarian to extreme libertarian…

Both an economic dimension and a social dimension are important factors for a proper political analysis. By adding the social dimension you can show that Stalin was an authoritarian leftist (ie the state is more important than the individual) and that Gandhi, believing in the supreme value of each individual, is a liberal leftist. While the former involves state-imposed arbitary collectivism in the extreme top left, on the extreme bottom left is voluntary collectivism at regional level, with no state involved. Hundreds of such anarchist communities exisited in Spain during the civil war period

So here’s how mine came out after answering the questions:

Your political compass

Economic Left/Right: -2.25
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.82

My Political Compass

Except for the change in the numbers, 3 years didn’t do much to move me off the near-zero portion of the Libertarian Left neighborhood where Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and The Dalai Lama stay. Now is that good or bad?

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