I have been looking at the Political Compass website again. For those of you unaware of this interesting site, it asks the reader 64 politically-oriented questions and then tries to place him/her on a grid where the x-axis is a line between “left” and “right” (by which I expect they mean collectivism verses the market) and the y-axis represents liberty verses authoritarianism.
Jock Coats says in his blog that he feels that “some of the questions are a little awkward.” I think this is if anything an understatement, though having done quite a few of these questionnaires in my time (on occasions when I have been tempted to enter the Government bureaucracy) I recognise that they are always rather poorly phrased, and I suspect that they are difficult to get right.
· The very first statement one must assess is “If economic globalisation is inevitable, it should primarily serve humanity rather than the interests of trans-national corporations.” There is no option to point out that thriving trans-national corporations are our means of generating the wealth and jobs and transmitting the goods and services necessary to serve humanity.
· My favourite, however, is that “"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" is a fundamentally good idea.” to which I always reply that I Strongly Agree. It’s a brilliant idea, but totally impractical in the real world. Thus the Compass erroneously pushes me slightly more towards the Marxist camp than I deserve.
· An even more extreme example is “A significant advantage of a one-party state is that it avoids all the arguments that delay progress in a democratic political system.” I strongly agree, but I also strongly believe that the negatives far outweigh the positives. However, I am now pushed towards the Fascist camp. I see myself landing next to Stalin at this rate.
· “Mothers may have careers, but their first duty is to be homemakers.” This is true. It is also true of fathers, but nobody asks about them!
· “Astrology accurately explains many things.” Yep! But not in the way they mean!
· “No one can feel naturally homosexual.” No matter what one thinks of this, it is irrelevant. What matters is whether you think those who feel homosexual (naturally or not) should be treated equally within society.
Nonetheless, I think overall the test works okay. In the end I appear to be a true liberal – as the Libertarians say, people should be free of Government both in the bedroom and the boardroom. Rather than rubbing shoulders with Stalin or Ghandi, I’m nearer Murray Rothbard. Readers may not consider this a good thing!
I think my wife got the best result, though. She turned out to be slightly less authoritarian than the Dalai Lama!
I urge you to give the test a go. It’s fun and enlightening at the same time, and that’s a rare and valuable combination.