Friday, June 10, 2011

My Political Compass

After 59 plus years on this planet, I should know enough about myself to never say never.  Or in this case never promise to not write about politics.  All it ever does is get me all in a tizzy and sour my outlook on what the boneheads in DC are doing at any given moment.  But like a fly drawn to shit, I just cannot keep my mouse from hitting links of the political kind.

I made this promise to myself along with other promises to resist ever present Web generated enticements that would divert my focus from the very real task of trying to pull my bike business up by its bootstraps and get back on the road to profitability.  It worked for a couple of months.  I guess I should be happy about that.

So anyway, I wake up most mornings, sip on coffee and spend some time perusing the news as the Internet sees it.  Until recently I have successfully just skimmed the news that is sure to get my bowels in an uproar.  News about political stupidity, religious stupidity, and any news that focuses on celebrities and who they are banging or not banging this week.

That doesn't generally leave me much to read, so I am done scoping the news before that first cup is drained.  I then switch my computer time to time dedicated to making my bike shop run smoother.  Build orders, check my bank balance to see what checks have cleared and whether the credit card charges from a few days ago made it safely into my account.  I spend time searching for new products and vendors who supply them.

Somehow a series of links found me looking at "The Political Compass".  It is a website that insists the traditional Left/Right designation is not enough to really pin down a person's political bias.  Hmm.  I was intrigued.  Finally someone else out there feels as I do.  Claiming anyone is a Left Wing libtard because they are Pro Choice does in no way mean that is what they are.  Just as thinking anyone who is for Gun Rights is not enough to label someone a Wingnut from the Right.  People have all sorts of conflicting views on things and pigeonholing them based on the flash point issues doesn't tell the whole story.

They set up the political bias as an Axis chart.  Right/Left as the horizontal line and Authoritarian/Libertarian as the vertical line.  Doing this they claim allows one to locate a truer representation of where one sits politically.

After answering 5 pages of questions, it was no surprise to me they had me Left of center but favoring the Libertarian view on Life as it should be.  What really caught my eye though was that Mahatma Gandhi and I seemed to sit on the exact same spot.  Or at the least we were within ear shot of each other.

I found it odd he was as close to Libertarian as he was.  But as most of us seem to do when knee jerking,  I am prone to see things in one dimension at times also.  I guess it makes sense he would fall below the line between Authoritarian and Libertarian given his lifelong battle against what could be considered an Authoritarian government at the time he lived in.  The British may be polite now, but back in the hey day of the "Commonwealth", they could be damn brutal when the need arose.  And Gandhi did spend his whole life struggling to kick their butts out of India.

My only complaint about this test is the same tired complaint I have about all tests of this sort.  The answers I had to choose from did not always accurately cover my take on the question.  But over all, I would say as tests of this sort go, this was one of the better ones.  And once again I have confirmed what I always knew about myself.  Keeping the government out of most of our societal interactions is the way I would like to see the World spin.  But we need some structure and guidelines to keep the sleaze bags who would take advantage of the rest of us on at least some kind of leash.

Keep it 'tween the ditches......................................


Randal Graves said...

I always assumed you were like Gandhi due to sharing an affinity for toga parties.

The Blog Fodder said...

I went to a toga party once as Roman Senator Maximus Penus Erectus.

But I digress. I did the test, see my blog for results.

Would also appreciate your take on this article.


I don't test well, I'm afraid I'll take it and find out I'm a communist.

The Blog Fodder said...

We come very close to occupying the same spot on the chart. Considering our backgrounds, which are very different, I would love someday to sit and drink beer while we sort out how we arrived at that spot in our political philosophies.

Ol'Buzzard said...

I know you're busy but you've got to check out the Blog Fodder's post about describing Corporate systems using tow cows.
the Ol'Buzzard

Mr. Charleston said...

I guess they ran out of room on the right so were unable to post Reagan.

BBC said...

Our politics are just plain bullshit and there is little difference between the parties. It's all bullshit, mirrors and smoke.

BBC said...

Decided to take the test and I'm just above you just a touch below the left/right line.

Demeur said...

Does it really matter where we are politically when the clowns in DC don't listen to us anyway?

El Cerdo Ignatius said...

I did the test too. I am right on the x-axis, neither authoritarian nor libertarian. Pretty interesting... over the years, I have done tests like this before, and I am trending lower on the graph as I go. More libertarian.

However, as you might have guessed, I ring in to the right of the y-axis, but by less than I would have thought. Must be that good Catholic conscience making its way to the surface... < /tweak > Either that or I'm waffling as I get older.

BBC said...

Happy Fathers Day to da dads.

PipeTobacco said...


I took the test and landed in a similar spot to yours.... just about exactly even where Ghandi sat in the vertical plane and a bit to the left.

Hope you are able to come back and write soon.


Mauigirl said...

I end up in the same quadrant. We probably think alike on most things! I see you haven't posted lately here (I have been on an unintentional hiatus myself until last week) so I assume your bike business is doing well and you are busy with that! Hope to see you here again soon.

PipeTobacco said...


Shiit, its been a helluva longtime sincee you posted. where are you, sir? I misss your writing! I'm half loaded (or more) because itwas "third Friday" today so i apologize in advance if there are any tyhpographical errors. But, I miss you andhope that you start writing again soon.


John Myste said...

I would just like to say that I have some issues with the test.

Economically, I was -1.88, which makes me barely left.

Socially, I was -3.88, which makes me a left wing libertarian.

I can accept that, but, I think I am more left than the center in which I was placed, and I think the questions were framed in such as to way as to put subjects closer to the center unless they are complete fanatics. Also, some of the questions were quite obscure, for example:

A genuine free market requires restrictions on the ability of predator multinationals to create monopolies. Unfair. Weather we should allow monopolies is one question and whether a free market requires restrictions on them is another. If you say you don’t agree with that, I think the test would assume you want to allow monopolies. If you say you do agree with the question (because you oppose monopolies), you imply a system where monopolies are allowed and a free market a mutually exclusive, which may not be true. I suspect there is no right answer to the question.

A significant advantage of a one-party state is that it avoids all the arguments that delay progress in a democratic political system. Unfair question. Obviously, the answer is yes. However, there are tons of disadvantages that overshadow the single advantage mentioned: checks and balances, lack of a national tendency to move toward dictatorship, a politician is forced to take ownership of his actions, etc. Therefore, if you say you disagree, you give the wrong answer. Lack of political gridlock is an advantage. However, the person who must say he agrees in order to answer the question honestly may be totally opposed to a single party state, as I am. The question cannot be answered intelligently unless you favor a single party state.

Multinational companies are unethically exploiting the plant genetic resources of developing countries. What a loaded question. Some companies are exploitative and some are not. Companies are made of people and laws, all which differ greatly.

Making peace with the establishment is an important aspect of maturity. Unfair question. To answer yes implies that you are a conformist who accepts oppression. However, the answer is yes if you take the question literally. Children and emotional people will always protest and never agree to compromise or work within the system. If everyone has that attitude, we have anarchy. A more mature stance is to try to change what you don’t like, while recognizing that you don’t get to dictate the laws of the land and all adults must follow laws. We pay taxes, register our vehicles, sometimes fight in wars. At some point civil disobedience is justified. In some cases, outright rebellion can be justified. However, a mature person recognizes that compromise and socialization are needed. The way the question is framed, it is misleading. I would love to see how they scored the answer to that question.

John Myste said...

Not sure if you received my test results comment. I hope you did. One more thing, I was almost in the exact spot you were (just slightly more right on the economic side).

I am very left wing, though.