Political Compass #4: Superior racial qualities.

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 might 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.)

*Proposition #4: * Our race has many superior qualities, compared to other races.

SentientMeat (-5.12, -7.28) ticks Strongly Disagree.
Easy one, this. “Race”, “black”, “white”: these are merely slang words with no biological or anthropological substance. “White” is an utterly arbitrary taxon with which to classify humans, apparently based solely on epidermal melanin (I would like “racism” to be renamed “melaninism”) - one might as well label blondes a different “race” to brunettes. There are no traits, physical or not, which are universal to “whites” but absent from “non-whites”, thus proving its taxonomic uselessness. One might allow “race” to mean ethnicity, which obviously is scientifically useful, but it should be borne in mind that there would then be literally thousands of different “races”, if not as many different “races” as there are people!

Unfortunately, there are people who think that elevated levels of epidermal melanin somehow affects intelligence or predisposition to criminality. These people have existed since the dawn of civilisation, and have shaped the world so that melanin-rich people still overwhelmingly reside at the bottom of the financial ladder, where poor education and criminal behaviour is rife. Things have improved greatly over the last decades but, like a glass of Alka-Seltzer, it takes a heck of a lot of mixing to get what was originally at the bottom to redistribute itself properly, especially when there’s so little social mobility as today, when the rich tend to stay rich and the poor stay poor.

Anything other than a Strongly Disagree is a step towards authoritarianism. I would even guess that mere Disagree gives a slight positive reading in terms of the Social final score.

Apart from the scientific falsity, I’ve just never believed it anyway. Strongly disagree.

Well, ok, not never. Did have some racists in my family that tried to persuade me once upon a time. But the effect only lasted long enough for me to meet people outside my own little world.

Grey (4.75/-3.08)

Strongly Disagree. Given no evidence of “Race” how could you answer otherwise. It’s like asking if goblins are better than pixies.

Even though there are many different hues of skin color, we are ALL human beings. I choose to remain totally color-blind on surface issues. After all, you’re all beautiful, and equal in the eyes of My Father. MICHAEL

Your dad’s surname is “2004”?

This is when I activated. :smiley:

I strongly disagree too, but you’ve got some wrong stuff in here.

Fine, but there is a debate going on as to what “race” really means, biologically speaking. It’s a fact that the gene pool varies around the globe, and sometimes it can vary across different groups (whether they are peceived as being of the same race or not).

Yeah, but this is slightly straw-manny, in terms of the debate that is going on.

Well, whiteness is one. The fact of the matter is that people do perceive others as belonging to race categories. A big chunk of this is certainly due to ignorance. As to whether it’s all due to ignorance is what that debate’s about.

Sure, and ultimately everyone’s genome is unique (except for twins, etc.).

Straw man. Certain credible scientists believe that certain populations have exhibited lower IQ than others (I don’t know about criminality). Personally, I don’t agree, but we shouldn’t underestimate the opposition; know thy enemy, etc.

This is just folk science, nothing more. There has not been “racism” since the dawn of history. Modern racism was born when the slave trade came into being: you had to dehumanize your fellow homo sapiens in order to justify enslaving him.

No doubt, race has been a convenient marker for class distinction and caste-building.

I am in the “strongly disagree camp” mainly because I don’t identify with any race in particular (“our race”). I don’t identify as white or anything else (despite the fact that I “am” white). And I would prefer to see people as individuals rather than as members of some arbitrary group. I greatly agree with the spirit of your post, but you will get hashed in a debate with people who are ready to argue on a sophisticated level (not that you are generally unsophisticated–just here!). Check out the evolutionary psychology group at Yahoo to see what you’re up against. The debate over whether race is a “real thing” rages regularly.

There is no such thing.

Such as groups who have no idea what an IQ test is, and are much better at the intellectual challenge called “living in the wilderness”, at which I would prove a hopeless dunce.

You honestly believe this?

Does anyone there propose a classification at a level below “species”? If they do, they are most certainly out of step with modern taxonomy.

If I weren’t so damn pale, I might’ve been tempted to check “agree.” After all, black people don’t sunburn nearly as easily as white people, and that’s defnintely a superior quality.

But that’s only one quality, not many, so even were I dark-skinned, I’d still have to check “disagree.” And since I’m about the color of butter pecan ice cream and burn after about fifteen minutes of midday sunlight, I had to go with “strongly disagree.”

I agree: this one was easy.



I’m not saying you’re wrong overall, I’m just saying that the level of argument presented here would not be taken seriously by the heavy hitters on evolutionary psychology.

No, there has not been a black-white war, or any other major racial dichotomy since the "dawn of history. " Sure, there has been intergroup conflict since the dawn of history. “Racism,” in which one group believes in the heritable inferiority (as opposed to cultural inferiority not based on heritable traits) is relatively modern.

“Race” doesn’t necessarily refer to the traditional American social divisions. A “race” could be a people who share a common nationalism or history, like “the British race.”

I could therefore take the statement as meaning not that my being part of the “white” race has many superior qualities, but that being part of the CANADIAN race has many superior qualities. So that’s a different way of examining the question.

Even then, the proposition is the most ridiculous and destructive sort of bullshit. Even I, knowing absolutely nothing about genetics, and not understanding just how it is the little DNAs can know what kind of a cell they’re inside, can see it’s bullshit by virtue of the most cursory examination of of the human history of race relations. 100 years ago it was quite common for people to assert that the Irish were a different “Race” from white people.

I appreciate that there is an ongoing debate over the appropriateness of race distinctions. As with most debates it’s broken into two camps; one who thinks it means everything, and one who claims there are no races at all, which is kind of silly, too. Frankly, I could not care less. It is, as near as I can tell, an argument of semantics.

I see no reliable evidence whatsoever that any genetic, ethnic or nationalist divisions will yield intrinsically superior people in one group and inferior people in another.

Strongly Disagree.

Very well, Aeschines, it seems silly to try and find things we disagree on given our unanimity regarding the proposition.

If those evolutionary psychologists wish to weigh in here they are truly welcome. However, I often tend to find their entire field somewhat dubious and so I would certainly not yield to their authority based solely on your say so.

RickJay: Whatever “race” is, it is not nationality, and to conflate the two is unnecessary. You sound like you are conceding that you are stretching to find something which “real” people could disagree on? Perhaps it would save time if we just skipped to the next proposition.

Strongly disagree.

While I think there are people posting to this board now (or a few days ago, at least) who would click “strongly agree”, I think we’ve already had enough of that debate in other threads.

Move along, please :slight_smile:

Am I the only one that first interpreted the proposition to read,

“Our race [homo sapiens] has many superior qualities, compared to other races [non-homo sapiens].”

I guess I interpreted it wrong.

You’re thinking of “species.” However, if you interpreted it as “Our race (humans” has many superior qualities, compared to other races (elves, dwarves, half-orcs, half-evles, and gnomes)," then maybe you’d have a point. That extra feat and extra skill point at each level definitely kick ass.


Agree. My race is superior, if solely by merit of having me among its ranks :wink:

Does the question imply inherent superiority or circumstantial superiority? I’m sure we all agree that there is no inherent difference between “races”, but what if the question was referring to, for example, income, high school graduation levels, crime rates, etc., as in the way things are now ?

Strongly disagree. This is a no-brainer. I think there are subtle differences in the races- I don’t believe it to be an accident that blacks, for example, utterly dominate world class sprinting. But as far as one race being superior to another, there is no evidence to support such a claim.

Well, I checked “Strongly Disagree”. I’ve never believed that I was superior in any way simply because I’m “white”.

Here’s the strange thing, though…

I scored -2.12/-1.08, making me a moderate Left/Libertarian.

And all this time I thought I was a right-winger! After all, I’m Christian/Republican.

You are absolutely wrong:

RACE: A family, tribe, or nation belonging to the same stock; a class or kind of people unified by community of interests, habits, or characteristics, (the English race.) (Merriam-Webster)

RACE: 2. A group of people united or classified together on the basis of common history, nationality, or geographic distribution: the German race. (American Heritage Dictionary.)

It’s a perfectly valid definition; the word “Race” has been used to distinguish between national groups since before either of us was born. After all, if it has no useful biological definition we may as well find some meaning for it.

Even then I don’t buy the proposition. I was trying to be as generous as possible with the question, but it’s a dog, too.