Politics Magazine

A Wholly Unscientific Political Self-Experiment

By Carnun @Carnunmp


The Political Compass

A while back, I stumbled upon a web resource called ‘The Political Compass’ which aims to act as a way to build upon “the old one-dimensional categories of ‘right’ and ‘left’” in order to distinguish, for example, the many different flavours of ‘conservatives’ out there. After all, are Russia’s the “unreconstructed Stalinists, or the reformers who have adopted the right-wing views of conservatives like Margaret Thatcher?”

In the PC’s view, ‘left’ and ‘right’ are too simplistic, so a system of placing individuals/parties like this on a four-point scale – from ‘left’ to ‘right’ economically as well as extremely ‘libertarian’ to excessively ‘authoritarian’ socially – has been devised, along with a questionnaire to calculate a person’s position on it with relative ease.

And, as illustrated above, this system does indeed help to better distinguish those who would, using traditional judgements, be rather indistinguishable. Figures such as The Dalai Lama and Robert Mugabe, using crude economic ‘left’ and economic ‘right’ sentiments, are hard to set apart. Without the addition of  socially political information, they’re very close… Which, to anyone who knows of them, isn’t a sensible place to put them at all.

The ‘compass’ approach is a much better (although of course not perfect) way to categorise, I feel.

The ‘Self-Experiment’?

Now I wanted to see, first of all, how I compared to the historical figures analysed with this system.

Drum roll please…

Other’s results:


Now, mine:

PC May Result

So, as it turns out, I apparently sit just as far left as Stalin, and am more liberal than Ghandi - but I think I prefer to think of myself simply as the Anti-Thatcher. It has a nice ring to it.

However, as I’m young (and are obviously only echoing the views of my parents, or something), I plan to see if this changes. Every month I’m going to take the quiz and save my results, building up, over the years, a very visual record of the possible development of my political standpoint.

And perhaps, some point soon, I’ll do a break-down of my answers to the questionnaire results you just saw so you can understand how I came to be so apparently (surprisingly, even for me) ‘south-west’ on the compass!

I encourage any of you who haven’t yet given the quiz a go to do so, and would very much welcome the sharing of results in the comments.



‘The Political Compass’: http://www.politicalcompass.org/index

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