In a previous post, I encouraged people to take a short survey to find out which candidates running for office had views most similar to their own. This survey is useful to get people thinking about why they support one candidate over another and whether such support is actually warranted. But the survey doesn’t help the average person to understand their own political perspectives in a meaningful way.
It was for this reason that I exhorted those who were interested to take the Political Compass survey that’s also available on line. It’s a bit more involved than the “On the Issues Survey” and from past experience I’ve found that the typical college student is unable to interpret some of the questions. But this survey, when completed correctly, has the possibility of shedding light on one’s true political leanings in a way that can help clarify exactly where one stands on social and economic issues.
First things first. Take the test, answering the questions as honestly as possible:
Political Compass Survey
When you’ve completed the survey, you will get your results that place you along a spectrum in terms of your social and economic views. Socially, people are either more authoritarian (socially conservative) or more libertarian (socially liberal). Economically, people are either further to the left (economically liberal) or further to the right (economically conservative).
|Political Compass Scale|
|Results for Mike Russo|
Now take my nemesis Lance B. Dowd’s results:
|Results for Lance B. Dowd|
Based upon these results, you could assume that Lance and I would never see eye-to-eye on almost any issue, that we would almost always vote for different political candidates, and that there would be very little possibility of political dialogue between us. Our worldviews are just too dissimilar. But if Lance was either more libertarian in his social views or further to the left in his economic views, fruitful dialogue might very well be possible between us.
My own experiences engaging in political argumentation on the Occupy Wall Street site seem to bear this idea out. I’ve had wonderful dialogues with economic liberals who I might disagree with on social issues, but we could at least agree that our current economic system is causing harm to working families. I also have had some great conversations with libertarians who were fairly far to the right on economic issues, but we agreed on the importance of defending civil liberties.
The point I’m trying to make here is that I believe the current left-right divide in this country is far too simplistic and often gets in the way of fruitful civic dialogue. A survey like the Political Compass one forces people to separate their social views from their economic views and thus paints a more nuanced picture of the political leaning of different individuals that might allow intelligent civic discourse—rather than typical partisan rancor—to occur.
So take the survey, and let us know your results and how you feel about them.
|Watch the 2012 Presidential Debates|