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July 19, 2011 / chronomax

A critique on the Political Compass

Political Compass is a website which provides a test from a couple dozen questions from which it graphs you according to an authoritarian, libertarian, left, and right axis. It boasts that this system is better than just plotting yourself on a line according to left and right standards, which I agree with. However, I’m not exactly sure why they didn’t then think to develop a 3D model instead.

I think that Political Compass made a good step by thinking into the authoritarian-libertarian and left-right system. Sadly, it kind of falls flat on its face by not thinking “oh wait, that’s because those labels are useless”. The questions are answered by choosing Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, and Strongly Agree which I find pretty annoying. What’s the difference between Strongly Disagree and Disagree? One of the questions asks if it’s alright to be proud of your country of birth. Well, on one hand I think it’s dumb to be proud of it based on just being born there (Strongly Disagree?), but I think that it’s alright to be proud of a country, whether or not it’s one of your nationalities even (Agree?). But I think the problem is that I’m working off of polarizing ends instead of from the middle.

Also, it apparently can test people like Obama, Ghandi, Stalin, and Bush (who is almost pin-point on Thatcher) which I just call ludicrous. I could probably take this test ten times and get ten different graphs- these aren’t randomly generated tests either. And I’m overall a bit iffy on the ability to accurately determine where a person’s beliefs are. Yeah, you can be mostly libertarian and yeah, you can be mostly authoritarian, but you can be a libertarian who has some far-right beliefs which I don’t think you could disregard as an outlier or just average.

Anyways, here’s my Political Compass, and because the song is very awesome, Pete Seeger’s “What Did You Learn in School Today?” which is one the songs in my quadrant. Yeah, there’s also songs that can describe your political beliefs, says Political Compass.

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