I’m not a big fan of blogging about politics. I see two problems that usually happen. The first problem is, everybody congregates towards bloggers who they agree with. Most political blogs link to several other political blogs that share the same views, of course. The result of this is that everyone can just vilify those they don’t like, and only rarely encounter or have to deal with sharply differing view points. The second problem is that when visitors of different view-points do show up, the result is usually nasty but rarely educational. Don’t get me wrong, I love to debate with people about politics, religion, and many other sensitive topics. When it’s in a more personal setting, people will often hear out opinions that conflict sharply with their own and sometimes even learn something new in the process. I just haven’t seen it work out so well online. People usually just get angry and learn very little. I don’t feel that way about the three political blogs I link to, of course. Even though all three are lean very strongly to one side or another, they’re run by people who are more open-minded and polite than I could be running a political blog!
Anyway, I recently took a quizilla quiz to see where it ranked me on the U.S. political spectrum. It ranked me right in the middle of the liberal half of the scale (i.e. halfway between moderate and “far-left liberal”). The thing is, it’s a pretty useless quiz. During the occasional online political discussions I do find myself involved in, I find myself arguing about all kinds of political topics with other people who have been placed on the exact same spot on the spectrum that I have! The problem of course is that the American definitions of “left” and “right” include such a motley assortment unrelated political and economic issues that most people don’t really agree with either “side”. I did some reading on the topic online, and found a much better political quiz, called the political compass.
The political compass is a two-dimensional representation of a person’s political views. It separates issues of political control such choice of religion, from issues of economic control such as taxation and welfare. This is from their site:
The old one-dimensional categories of ‘right’ and ‘left’ , established for the seating arrangement of the French National Assembly of 1789, are overly simplistic for today’s complex political landscape. For example, who are the ‘conservatives’ in today’s Russia? Are they the unreconstructed Stalinists, or the reformers who have adopted the right-wing views of conservatives like Margaret Thatcher ?
On the standard left-right scale, how do you distinguish leftists like Stalin and Gandhi? It’s not sufficient to say that Stalin was simply more left than Gandhi. There are fundamental political differences between them that the old categories on their own can’t explain. Similarly, we generally describe social reactionaries as ‘right-wingers’, yet that leaves left-wing reactionaries like Robert Mugabe and Pol Pot off the hook.
I took the test and put up my results, along with the rankings of various world leaders and 2005 Canadian political parties for comparison.