I have decided to open this thread as a “catch-all” for objections to the validity of The Political Compass, which uses a set of 60 questions to assess one’s political orientation in terms of economic left/right and social libertarianism/authoritarianism (rather like the “Libertarian diamond” popular in the US).
Examples of such objections are that it is “left-biased” or that some propositions are clearly slanted, ambiguous or self-contradictory.
Now, the site itself provides answers to these and other Frequently Asked Questions. Please read this first.
We have already covered other important points in the two threads to date, and I feel they are worth repeating here.
[ul][li]They are not “questions”, they are propositions. These propositions are deliberately slanted towards one of the four compass points in order to assess your personal reaction to them. eg. [/li]“My country, right or wrong” - strongly authoritarian.
“Marijuana should be legalised.”- strongly socially libertarian.
“The freer the market the freer the people” - strongly economically Rightist.
“People are ultimately divided by class more than by nationality” - strongly economically Leftist.
As far as I can see, there are no more strong slants in any one direction than another. If I see a strongly authoritarian slant, then as a social libertarian I simply tick Strongly Disagree and move on. Similarly, as an economic leftist I tend to Agree with the left-biased propositions where a rightist might Strongly Disagree. No judgement is made as to which is “correct”, it is simply trying to place you at the correct point on each line.
[li]RickJay said he thought that the “left-bias” manifested itself rather less obviously: By making the traditionally “right-wing” options so extreme that even moderate authoritarians and Rightists find themselves ticking Disagree. This came up in discussion of the proposition “My country, right or wrong”. I explained:[/li]
[li] In a similar vein, Gest opined that the questions ought to be reworded so that American conservatives did not feel that they were “on the fringe” when either agreeing with propositions which would never even be questioned in the mainstream US media, or when disagreeing with propositions they’ve never heard of on US media. To which I said:[/li][quote]
I will gently suggest that we steer around this talk of rewriting the propositions to be more palatable for “down home” America. The intellectual calibre of this board is hopefully strong enough to see through traditional mischaracterisations and empty blandishments to get at the real meat of the politics behind each proposition, as applied to the world in general, not merely in terms of specific examples.
Early 21st Century America is indeed a powerful and important entity. However, it is still but a single country, at a single time. If we are to compare US politics to times past, or to other countries, the test cannot merely blow with the prevailing political winds.
[li]Some of the questions do “niggle”. They propose what might be perceived as a false dichotomy, or are phrased such that the answer you give will produce a score you know will send you in the “wrong direction”. I agreed:[/li][quote]
These threads are purely an attempt at a rigorous exploration of our personal political orientations. As the site itself says, “some of the questions may niggle” and it is all too easy to poke holes in every single question, but I still feel that by ticking with your gut instinct you get an accurate assessment of your views.
We will be going through the propositions one by one. When I give an answer which I feels misrepresents my true opinion solely because of the way the proposition was posed, I will say so and explain the caveat. Nonetheless, my final score would not change that much even if all the propositions I found problematic were reworded to my satisfaction, and so I’m happy to “go along with it”. Responses to even the most poorly worded statements still give an indication of your general political orientation.[/ul]
So, having read the FAQ and this OP, what objections does anyone have regarding this test?