Many political debates here have included references to The Political Compass, which uses a set of 61 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).
And so, every so often I will begin a thread in which the premise for debate is one of the 61 questions. I will give which answer I chose and provide my justification and reasoning. Others are, of course, invited to do the same including those who wish to “question the question”, as it were. I will also suggest what I think is the “weighting” given to the various answers in terms of calculating the final orientation.
It would also be useful when posting in these threads to give your own “compass reading” in your first post, by convention giving the Economic value first. My own is
SentientMeat: Economic: -5.12, Social: -7.28, and so by the above convention my co-ordinates are (-5.12, -7.28). Please also indicate which option you ticked.
Now, I appreciate that there is often dissent regarding whether the assessment the test provides is valid, notably by US conservative posters, either because it is “left-biased” (??) or because some propositions are clearly slanted, ambiguous or self-contradictory. The site itself provides answers to these and other Frequently Asked Questions, and there is also a separate thread: Does The Political Compass give an accurate reading? Read these first and then, if you have an objection to the test in general, please post it there. If your objection is solely to the proposition in hand, post here. If your objection is to other propositions, please wait until I open a thread on them.
The above will be pasted in every new thread in order to introduce it properly, and I’ll try to let each one exhaust itself of useful input before starting the next. Without wanting to “hog the idea”, I would be grateful if others could refrain from starting similar threads. To date, the threads are:
Does The Political Compass give an accurate reading?
Political Compass #1: Globalisation, Humanity and OmniCorp.
#2: My country, right or wrong
#3: Pride in one’s country is foolish.
#4: Superior racial qualities.
#5: My enemy’s enemy is my friend.
#6: Justifying illegal military action.
#7: “Info-tainment” is a worrying trend.
#8: Class division vs. international division. (+ SentientMeat’s economic worldview)
#9: Inflation vs. unemployment.
*Proposition #10: * Corporations cannot be trusted to voluntarily respect the environment.
SentientMeat (-5.12, -7.28) ticks Strongly Agree.
If corporations are simply amoral entities whose actions are dictated by the market, whither “voluntary respect of the environment”? One might argue that the market eventually brings about this respect, since utter destruction of our ecosystem is simply bad for business. However, if corporations are amoral entities, such actions are surely no more “voluntary” than the decision to risk damage to the environment according to market demands in the first place?
If an action is financially profitable and legal, then someone will seek that profit. The only way to ensure its absence is by removing the legal profit, ie. by fining or otherwise punishing those who attempt to profit by such means. And the only way to ensure that everyone is subject to such a system is via enforcement by the state.
Now, we might argue all day about precisely what is and is not “respect” of the environment. I would offer that pollution, overfishing, ozone depletion, smog and species extinction are all undeniably “disrespecting the environment” even if eg. oil drilling in national parks or continuing to push CO[sub]2[/sub] levels way off equilibrium are somehow not.
However my point is that, whenever the furniture/beef/soya markets eat up yet another Wales-worth of rainforest, or I see yet another coastline fouled beyond recognition (after assurances last time that such a thing would not reoccur even with fines and enforced cleanup costs in place), I dread to think what corporations would try to get away with if we simply “trusted” them.