you are here

I’m pleased to read that “Chelsea”:http://www.herhighnessness.com/ was “entertained”:http://www.herhighnessness.com/20031001_history.html#106632649105697153 by quislibet’s “translation”:http://www.livejournal.com/users/quislibet/164084.html, and further pleased that she located “a second verse”:http://www.livejournal.com/users/ukelele/26136.html#cutid1. I live to serve.

She was also kind enough to return the diversionary favour, in a rather more high-brow manner, with a link to “this political compass questionnaire”:http://www.politicalcompass.org/. While Chelsea wasn’t surprised by “her results”:http://www.herhighnessness.com/20031001history.html#106631430819923472, I was a little surprised at “mine”:http://www.digitalronin.f2s.com/politicalcompass/questionnaire.pl?page=printablegraph&X=-3.12&Y=-5.03, which seems to place me somewhere along a “linear interpolation”:http://www.cs.brown.edu/stc/outrea/greenhouse/nursery/interpolation/home.html between “Jean Chrétien”:http://www.msnbc.com/news/975443.asp?0cv=CB20 and “the Dalai Lama”:http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/World/2003/01/07/9646-ap.html. I’d thought that I’d come out a little farther right, though much of that might be because the political circles I travel in have a significant leftwards lean to them, and so I just feel like some sort of cryptoconservative in their presence.

I also suspect that some of the questions painted me slightly differently than the test’s authors had intended. Some examples:

“Multinational companies are unethically exploiting the plant genetic resources of developing countries.”
I answered “agree” there, because I think it’s quite likely that _some_ of the practices by _some_ of the companies involved are unethical. I also did my utmost to take “exploiting” in the least leading sense possible.
“First-generation immigrants can never be fully integrated within their new country.”
I have no idea what it means to be “fully integrated” into a new country, perhaps because I haven’t had such an immigration experience. So I chose “strongly disagree”, based on my belief that a first-generation immigrant can be as much a “representative” Canadian as someone born here.
“Marijuana should be legalised.”
I think marijuana should be treated basically like tobacco and alcohol, which can both be consumed legally in many contexts, but are not utterly free of legal restriction (age, location, etc.) I figured that’s what they meant, so I marked “strongly agree” and moved on.
“Protectionism is sometimes necessary in trade.”
I come down pretty completely against long-term protectionism for the purpose of propping up domestic industry — and that includes my own, which is apparently “in grave danger”:http://www.bayarea.com/mld/cctimes/business/7051010.htm of disappearing entirely on this continent, thereby forcing me to choose between dragging Tyla to a run-down shack in Asia and the even more unlikely option of finding another job that I can actually do half as well — but I think that trade sanctions are a useful mechanism for projecting economic force in support of social change (human rights, environmental protection, mandatory cheering of the Leafs). “Agree”.
“Corporations cannot be trusted to voluntarily respect the environment.”
“Agree”, because corporations are collections of people, and I don’t think people can generally be trusted to voluntarily avoid tragedies of commonses. If the question is meant to call out corporations specially, as distinct from other groups of people, then I think my answer is “disagree”. (And I also don’t know if they mean “all corporations”, “most corporations”, “at least one corporation”, “can never be trusted”, “can not usually be trusted”, “cannot always be trusted”, etc.) I suspect now that the question is “marked” on the basis of a different interpretation, and that answering it more “appropriately” would move me a bit to the right (and perhaps up).

I could go on, it now occurs to me, but the point is clear. I wonder if these sorts of tests — and other opinion-response endeavours — would be more or less effective if they were written more clearly. I don’t wonder if I’m just not the sort of person that these things are aimed at, because I’ve become slowly certain over my quarter-century-plus of Earth-dwelling that my brain is a little wrong. But I’m told it’s part of my charm!

In other news, I’m greatly looking forward to Chelsea’s next visit!

8 comments to “you are here”

  1. entered 19 October 2003 @ 11:24 pm

    While I might be wrong, I’d suspect that the variation in interpretations between individuals taking the “test” is one means of evaluating their political co-ordinates. For example, this question:

    “A significant advantage of a one-party state is that it avoids all the arguments that delay progress in a democratic political system.”

    If you consider the ability of the government to get something done, then it’s hard to answer this question with anything other than “agree”. Obviously, there’s less trouble in getting things accomplished when there’s no opposition. Duh.

    But, if you disagree that the role of government is to “get stuff done”, instead thinking that perhaps its role is to “accurately represent the will of the people”, then perhaps the idea of ignoring debate in the name of efficiency won’t seem as significant an advantage.

    A problem, however, is that the way in which these questions are interpreted is not only subject to the political attitudes of the reader, but also to their personality preferences. For example, I have a hard time dismissing arguments like “it’s an advantage to be able to get things done faster”, because I’m a big fan of efficiency. Thus, despite my reservations about government existing merely to “get stuff done”, I answered the above question as “strongly agree”. In this case, my answer was because I was a fan of German efficiency, and not because I was a fan of German facism.

    Honest.

  2. entered 19 October 2003 @ 11:28 pm

    Oh, and, not to be a copy-cat or anything, but I think you and I are standing side-by-side on their co-ordinate system.

    I scored an xy pair of (-0.75, -2.26)

  3. entered 20 October 2003 @ 6:06 pm

    Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, I get a quite extreme result from this questionnaire, -9.12 on the on the economic scale and -7.64 on the social scale. So I’m in the same quatrant as you, Mike, but way more extreme.

    I agree with Beltzner’s supposition that one’s interpretation of the questions may well be part of the point.

    I find it interesting that there are no world leaders identified on the site in the bottom right quadrant.

  4. Aven
    entered 20 October 2003 @ 6:10 pm

    Just to join in: -6.88, -6.62. Apparently I’m the moderate one of the two of us; or too chicken to take a stand on the issues…

  5. entered 21 October 2003 @ 1:38 am

    Good lord, Mike, I’ve never actually met you or those in the political circles to which you are exposed, but my coordinates were (-2.62, -5.23). I did expect that though, after some of the units I’ve taken this semester.

  6. entered 23 October 2003 @ 8:22 am

    Well, Everybody is posting stuff so i’ll do it too! here are my links:


  7. mom
    entered 23 October 2003 @ 1:01 pm

    I finally took the survey and scored -3.38/-5.13

    Birds of a feather? Acorns falling from trees? Who knows… I do know that we all answered this question the same way, though – right?

    “Mothers may have careers, but their first duty is to be homemakers.”

    Of course we did.

  8. mom (again!)
    entered 23 October 2003 @ 4:40 pm

    ‘Nuther thing… about the question Mike discussed above: I may be really off the beaten track, but I thought it was a ‘trick’ question because it tried to lead one to an illogical conclusion. Namely that the only debates in a multi-party political system occur between the parties. I’ve never seen a well-functioning team worth its payroll that did not embrace healthy debates as part of its methodology.

    I’d be surprised to find that intraparty debates do not occur in a single-party political system, unless that system has devolved into a dictatorship or other distasteful incarnation of repression of the voices of the constituents.

    If you want to have some fun, get any arbitrary group of individuals together and attempt to get them all to agree to sign a petition of some sort requesting some action that a majority may feel is appropriate. Say, 10 households on your block picked randomly from a hat filled with addresses.

    Good luck =^)