Lefter And Lefter (UPDATED, 2015)

Categories: Personal, Politics
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: 2014.05.11

It was nearly nine years ago when I first quizzed myself on politicalcompass.org and found that I was slightly right of center and leaning libertarian in my ideals. (Unfortunately, the screenshot of my results has been lost to the ravages of the internet.)

I took the same test again in December 2012 (addendum on that same entry) and had moved to the left of center. Eighteen months later, I’ve moved another full notch to the left, according to the same quiz.

My current position on the political scale

I still like that one better than any other political self-test I’ve found online, mainly because it (1) acknowledges that there aren’t just left/right issues, (2) takes the world into account rather than just the U.S., and (3) rates you on a scale rather than placing you solidly in one camp or another.

However, it still suffers from similar issues as other online political quizzes: most of the questions have only two choices for answers. Here’s an example from another quiz I took:

  • The government should do more to help the poor, even if it means going further into debt
  • The poor should help themselves

You have to choose one of those answers, even if you disagree with both of them like I do — I don’t think the government should go deeper into debt for any reason, but it’s clear that many poor cannot help themselves — they can’t afford to send their children to college, can’t afford to move to a less-crime-ridden neighborhood, can’t get a job better than minimum wage, can’t afford medical care, etc. Had the choice was available, I would have chosen “#3: the government should restructure its assistance to the poor to be less wasteful, and more focused on jobs and education than on handouts.”

According to TIME Magazine

Other choices were just as asinine to my way of thinking. On guns, the choices were often either (1) get rid of guns, or (2) let everyone have guns (I paraphrase and exaggerate a bit here), which leaves my position unrepresented. It’s the same with healthcare: (1) completely government-run single-payer system or (2) let the free market decide. Again, my position is ignored and I’m forced to choose one of the two options presented if I want to finish the quiz.

I can already hear someone responding with: “But you don’t have to take the stupid quiz.”

Of course I don’t. I don’t have to vote either, but I should and I like to. Yet often when voting, the same two choices are presented to the people: one candidate espouses position A and the other espouses position B. Or, as is often the case in the U.S. presidential elections, both major candidates espouse the same position — note how Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are very near each other on the spectrum. I recall a similar non-choice with Obama and McCain in 2008, agreeing on all but the minute details on many issues.

According to ABC News

What if you didn’t have to choose between higher taxes and lower taxes, and could select “better use of tax money”?

Anyway, I took some other political quizzes just for fun.

One quiz said I’m a Democrat and the Pew Research Center said I’m a “solid liberal along with 14% of the public” — which is odd because I know at least some of my answers were solidly conservative.

Time Magazine said I’m “71% liberal and 29% conservative”. An ABC News quiz is the only one that called me “Bi-Partisan”, saying I answered half the questions like a Democrat and half like a Republican.

SelectSmart’s quiz here oddly said I’m “100%” Democrat, but also 81% Republican.

UPDATE, 2015.12.21: I took this test again in late 2015 and saw that I’ve moved further left and further downward on this chart.

Political Compass, 2015
From Political Compass

  1. I took this test, the questions on which I found a bit clumsy and obvious. I landed lower and letter than you did. Not a surprise.

    • Wil C. Fry says:

      I suppose I would have dropped lower on the vertical part of the scale had I continued to live in a more rural environment. I felt myself slipping into a “small Government” frame of mind until I moved into a more densely-packed metro-statistical area.

      It seems that (for me, at least), the farther apart people are, the less need/desire there is for government to be involved in daily living, while living shoulder-to-shoulder with neighbors has the opposite effect. :-)

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