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.
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. I might suggest what I think is the “weighting” given to the various answers in terms of calculating the final orientation, but seeing for yourself what kind of answers are given by those with a certain score might be more useful than second-guessing the test’s scoring system.
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.
#10: Corporate respect of the environment.
#11: From each according to his ability, to each according to need.
#12: Sad reflections in branded drinking water.
#13: Land should not be bought and sold.
#14: Many personal fortunes contribute nothing to society.
#15: Protectionism is sometimes necessary in trade.
#16: Shareholder profit is a company’s only responsibility.
#17: The rich are too highly taxed.
#18: Better healthcare for those who can pay for it.
#19: Penalising businesses which mislead the public.
#20: The freer the market, the freer the people.
#21: Abortion should be illegal.
#22: All authority must be questioned.
#23: An eye for an eye.
#24: Taxpayers should not prop up theatres or museums.
#25: Schools shouldn’t make attendance compulsory.
#26: Different kinds of people should keep to their own.
#27: Good parents sometimes have to spank their children.
#28: It’s natural for children to keep secrets.
#29: Marijuana should be legalised.
#30: School’s prime function is equipping kids to find jobs.
#31: Seriously disabled people should not reproduce.
**Proposition #32: The most important thing for children to learn is to accept discipline.
SentientMeat (-5.12, -7.28) ticks Disagree.
Any proposition which asks us to choose a “most important” thing from a number of options will likely be a little tricky to justify in anything but subjective terms, but let us continue regardless. What else is it important for a child to learn? To speak, or walk, or read? That they are loved, and to love back? To avoid lethally harmful hazards?
I suppose that one who agreed with #32 might argue that the only way children do learn these things is by first “accepting discipline”. However, I would suggest that discipline is only one of many means to these desirable ends. It would seem entirely possible for a child to learn to accept discipline but not learn to speak, read, love or avoid harm if their learning program was somehow deficient, or conversely for a child to learn all this without necessarily accepting discipline. The question would then be which of these two scenarios would be preferable:[ul][li]A child who has not learned to accept discipline (ie. who is wilful and disobedient regardless of the punishment meted out) who has nevertheless learned all the usual necessary life skills, or;[/li]A child who has learned to accept discipline (ie. who obeys every instruction immediately and fully) but who is dumb, unloved and prone to drinking bleach unless explicitly told not to.[/ul]Now, of course, I am not proposing that #32 is entirely equivalent to this dichotomy. I merely suggest that there are some things which are ultimately more important than accepting discipline, and that a little disobedience is a healthy sign of independent thought and personality compared to mindlessly obeying unexplained rules and regulations which must be accepted without question. I am not suggesting that accepting discipline is unimportant, rather that #32 is a rather overly authoritarian view of things.