The political compass

Raffaello Tesi
Originally published on the 18.1.2005

The political compassThe Political Compass is a website which tries to propose a more articulated distinction in politics, focusing on the difference between social and economic points of view.
According to this approach, the categories of Left and Right are an old one-dimensional way to take decisions on ecomic issues, whereas the distinction in social issues is defined by the categories Libertarian and Authoritarian. I found that it is a good idea: it does not deny the existence of left and right but simply states they are insufficient to describe political behaviours.
The Political Compass also proposes a test to know which is your political position. The result of my test is in the picture. What about your result? (The test is entirely anonymous).

Take the test.


A few things.

1. the guys at are pretty convincing in their mathematical efforts to show that, since 1980 at least, voting in Congress is one-dimensional. 80 was the end of the votes on the issue of race.

2. Hey, I’m in almost the same place as you on that compass.

3. The human mind prefers to have things simplified. Most everything is discussed as a 1,2 or 3 dimensional problem, but 1 and 2 are the most common.

Familiar with Gödel’s Proof? He says a viewpoint can be complete or consistent, but not both. I think most people try to be consistent, but anyway. There is, I would argue, a larger number of dimensions that just those two. For a variety of reasons, those topics don’t get brought up. Even the divvying up is problematic. Is Israel/Palestine a terrorism issue, a case of state oppression of an unwanted minority, or is it something entirely different, speaking to the very nature of sovereignity?

Cheers to multi-dimensional thinking!

By the way, I am pretty sure that the only way to get varied parties is to crack open the FPTP system and replace it with something like Cloneproof SSD Condorcet. Some Condorcet variant, anyway.

Posted by Josh Narins on 20 January 2005 – 08:48


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