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Are you a Liberal Authoritarian, a Conservative Authoritarian, a Liberal Libertarian or a Conservative Libertarian?

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Margaret Romao Toigo
Friday, January 21, 2005

I want to share my Political Compass so that there is no confusion about where I stand (I am not easily classified as generally liberal or conservative) and to encourage others to take the test at politicalcompass.org so that they may learn more about politics and themselves — that is if they answer all of the test questions honestly.

Defining our political leanings along a single, one-dimensional left-to-right line is ineffective because of the widely diverse social and economic interests and needs that determine our individual political positions. Political Compass has added a second line to the equation to cover the social dimension of politics, while the traditional right-left line concerns economics. The second dimension provides a more accurate definition of political positions because it takes into account the various economic and social issues which determine not only whether we are economically liberal or conservative, but also whether we are socially authoritarian or libertarian.

Economic Left/Right: 1.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.03

By learning where we all fit into the grid, we might just be able to break out of the current state of being a divided nation of “reds” and “blues” through the realization that there are more than just two sides. Of course with the way things have been going lately, we might just end up being a quartered nation of liberal authoritarians, conservative authoritarians, liberal libertarians and conservative libertarians — well at least it would be a little more difficult to make up nasty names for one another.

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About Margaret Romao Toigo

  • Eric Olsen

    I’m a Lutheran, baby

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Wow, I was hoping someone had programmed this for the web. The questions aren’t quite as clear-cut as the original ‘World’s Smallest Political Quiz’, but they seem to work.

    Glad to see I’m still to the left of Friedman and the Right of Ghandi and more anarchistic than either.

    Dave

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    Mine was:
    Economic Left/Right: 8.38 (right)
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.90 (libertarian)

    (which probably doesn’t surprise anyone here…)

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    BTW, Eric. I forgot to mention that our numbers were virtually identical on the quiz. Clearly great minds think alike.

    Dave

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    I’m a little bit south of Ghandi.

    Was anyone else completely apathetic (directly between Agree and Disagree) on a bunch of questions?

    Fun exercise / good post. Thanks.

  • http://www.antequeravillarental.com alienboy

    Your political compass
    Economic Left/Right: -4.75
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.54

  • http://www.antequeravillarental.com alienboy

    what fun! totally assumption loaded of course.

    Personally, I think the scales need adjusting so that my score becomes the new central point of the axes of the graph!

  • http://iamrighturpie.blogspot.com/ jadester

    i’ve done this once before, but that was a coupla years ago and apart from having changed since then, i don’t remember my score.
    Now, i am apparently:
    Economic Left/Right: -6.50
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.03

    According to the graphs, that’s close to Gandhi’s position(!) so i’m not sure how accurate it is…

  • http://enrevanche.blogspot.com Barry

    Economic Left/Right: 3.88
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.62

    Unsurprising. Looks about right.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    Economics: -7.0
    Social: -5.83

    I’m farther to the Left than Ghandi on both aspects.

    I thought I would be farther to the Left on social issues.

    In terms of economics, I’ve always been to the Left, but I I’ve slid waaaaay to the Left only within the last few months, and I have to say it’s probably solely due to reading the ideology of the conservatives and libertarians here at BlogCritics.

    Having known what they want, I still fall to the Left. But now knowing why they want what they want, slams me against the far wall on the Left.

  • http://www.landofthefreehomeofthebrave.org Margaret Romao Toigo

    Steve S wrote: “I thought I would be farther to the Left on social issues.”

    Actually, that would be closer to the bottom of the y axis, which is representative of how libertarian/authoritarian your views with regard to social issues are.

    Now, I realize that this may be perceived as pedantry, but it is actually intended to serve as a counter to the political sterotypes which have plagued the national conversation for quite some time now.

    The words, “liberal” and “conservative” (and their accompanying diminutive variations) have been thrown about so much lately that they’ve lost their true meanings.

    This is akin to the dilution of the meanings of the words “awesome” and “excellent” that occurred back in the early 1980s after they were co-opted by young trendoids who used them to describe just about anything and everything they appreciated or enjoyed — but I sort of digress.

    The point is that these oversimplified left-or-right political sterotypes into which some try to pigeonhole all Americans do not really serve anyone but the extremists on the fringes (why do they keep getting all the attention?), because they suggest that we are all one form or another of demagogue — which behooves neither social nor economic progress.

    The idea is to promote thinking in the quadrants rather than along the single traditional straight line.

    Consider this: I am a card-carrying member of both the NRA and the ACLU (yes, really, I am), does that make me a liberal, a conservative or just plain wishy-washy?

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    Margaret: you’re to be applauded for bringing the very concept of the axis into Blog Critics. There’s a tendency here (and many other places, as in “real life” as well) to paint in black and white, and it simply doesn’t fit the reality of most regular people.

    The fact that most circles of thought lack the vocabulary to even define a clearer (if more complex) representation only exacerbates the problem.

    This topic is especially timely in the US as moderate voices are getting drowned out in the tumult between far-“left” and, more often, far-“right” voices.

    Eric Berlin
    Dumpster Bust: Miracles from Mind Trash

  • http://www.landofthefreehomeofthebrave.org Margaret Romao Toigo

    Thank you. [humble curtsey]

    …as moderate voices are getting drowned out in the tumult between far-“left” and, more often, far-“right” voices.

    I often wonder what proportion of this effect is attributable between our mass media, political leaders and the general citizenry.

    When the subject of media bias comes up and some pundit accuses news programs and personalities of having a left or right leaning biases, I usually observe that whichever media people/organizations are accused of a leftward or rightward slant actually appear to me to be biased toward their own bottom lines rather than any certain political bent. And this is almost invariably because of the large amount of attention I have seen them give to ratings-shares-winning extremists, fanatics and freaks of every political stripe.

    But really, what can you do about that when you believe so strongly in the principles of free enterprise and a free press?

    Well, you could start organizations like Blogcritics and hope that the revolutionary idea of a people’s collective media (I know it sounds sort of socialist but our First Amendment makes the concept of it democratic and capitalist) catches on sufficiently to cause the mass media to begin losing some of its audience.

    I joined Blogexplosion at the behest of an article that was posted here earlier in the week and just surfing the various blogs of other Blogexplosion members has demostrated to me that there are far more than a mere two viewpoints out there.

  • http://jadedreality.blogspot.com spiderleaf

    I took this test 2 years ago… a cookie for anyone who can guess where I ended up.

  • http://jadedreality.blogspot.com spiderleaf

    btw – the test has changed quite considerably from 2 years ago, so my score has changed as well, but not that much.

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com/ DrPat

    My system rejects cookies, spiderleaf, so I will decline. But I bet it’s up and way left of mine…

  • http://jadedreality.blogspot.com spiderleaf

    You are partially correct my dear doctor… It most definitely is much further to the left… but much further down as well.

    Economic Left/Right: -7.75
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.28

  • http://jadedreality.blogspot.com spiderleaf

    I humbly accept the title of resident far lefty.

    [applause, applause] [boo, hiss]

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    How is it even possible to get that rating from the questions without holding views which are literally insane?

    Dave

  • http://jadedreality.blogspot.com spiderleaf

    Ah Dave, such a pleasure as always.

    While your comment should not even warrant a reply, I feel quite comfortable with my views, so I’ll share what some of them are.

    I was raised to be deeply distrustful of anyone in a position of authority seeking to impose their will on others… it doesn’t mean I won’t listen to their views and perhaps agree with them, but I always look at motivations and potential conflicts of interest.

    I am in favor of a free market, but have seen too much of history and the business world in general to have any faith in the motivations of those who hold that power of the purse.

    I believe strongly that we are all citizens of the planet and as such have an obligation to protect those who are less fortunate and the environment.

    I believe that the media serves those in power and as such can be used as a tool to shape opinions (usually not in the best interests of the masses).

    I believe peace is powerful and war is a last resort. I have studied history extensively and see history repeating itself throughout the ages, with advances in the human condition and thought process coming slowly.

    I believe religion can be beautiful, but not when it is imposed on others. I don’t think anyone has the right to tell me what to do in my own home or with my own body as long as I am not hurting anyone else.

    In other words, I know how to think for myself and do research.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Well thanks for the response, spidey – or is that leafy?

    I still don’t see how your beliefs as you describe them could get a rating even more negative than mine on the Social Libertarian/Authoritarian axis, especially with these positions:

    >>I am in favor of a free market, but have seen too much of history and the business world in general to have any faith in the motivations of those who hold that power of the purse.

    I believe strongly that we are all citizens of the planet and as such have an obligation to protect those who are less fortunate and the environment<<

    Which seem fundamentailly opposed to individual liberty. These goals as you describe them can only be achieved through statism, so if yoiu actually answered the questions in the way needed to get your -7.28 then your question answers and your statements above don’t match.

    Dave

  • http://jadedreality.blogspot.com spiderleaf

    Not necessarily. I answered each question truthfully. I never said I don’t believe in government, I just don’t believe in corporate control and power. I have no problem with high taxes if they support social equality vs. corporatism or excessive military.

    But I do believe that individuals have the freedom of choice and should not be subjected to the tyranny of the majority if they aren’t harming anyone (i.e. I abhor guns, but the right to bear arms is part of the Consititution so I support those who wish to own them as long as they are not used to harm anyone else).

    And btw – 2 years ago the ‘bottom’ was phrased as anarchist, not libertarian.

  • http://jadedreality.blogspot.com spiderleaf

    And in terms of why I scored lower than you on that axis… only you can answer that one… perhaps you aren’t as ‘libertarian’ as you believe you are. From your comments on BC you seem to be much more in the authoritarian column to me.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    The low point on the axis still says ‘anarchist’ on the current version if you go to the source page. I’m anarchist enough, I think at -6.88. I don’t see how you can score lower than that and support government at all.

    LOL at your comment that I might be an authoritarian. You must not have been reading my posts, or else you don’t know what authoritarian means.

    But I guess my original point is that it seems improbable that you’d be so negative on the ‘left’ scale if you support things like property rights or basic civil liberties.

    Dave

  • http://faeryface.diaryland.com Katharine Donelson

    >>Was anyone else completely apathetic (directly between Agree and Disagree) on a bunch of questions?< <

    Yes, there were many questions about which I was completely apathetic. Although, I suppose it would be hard to score anything like this if the test taker has no opinion on a bunch of the questions.

  • http://jadedreality.blogspot.com spiderleaf

    My authoritarian take on you comes from your support of state military power (specifically American state military power), i.e. the “my butcher is better than your butcher” argument… that’s pretty damn authoritarian IMO.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    My score:

    Economic Left/Right: 2.13
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 0.15

    I must say I’m a bit surprised. I thought I would have a negative rating in the latter field. But some of the questions WERE a bit ambiguous…

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>My authoritarian take on you comes from your support of state military power (specifically American state military power), i.e. the “my butcher is better than your butcher” argument… that’s pretty damn authoritarian IMO.<<

    I don’t see that as authoritarian. Support for regimes which allow a free press and basic civil rights over regimes which don’t, even if the ones you settle for are still not perfect, seems to me to be pragmatic. And I don’t see authoritarianism as having anything to do with foreign policy.

    Dave

  • godoggo

    Dunno why nobody shared my sisyphean experience with the test. The “let’s see where you stand” kept taking me back to the “sex” page.

    One other thing, I think “left libertarian” is a more common term than “liberal libertarian.” The former is how Chomsky identifies himself.

    BTW, once or twice I would’ve liked a neutral/no opinion option. Here’s something I learn in a survery methods class in school, although I googled this specific quote: “The most common scale for multiple-choice questions in opinion surveys is the five-point Likert scale. Dr. Rensis Likert, of the University of Michigan, developed this scale many years ago for behavioral sciences research. It is widely accepted because it offers a convenient range of choices that meets the needs of most situations.”

  • Dan

    I’m a ‘Political Compass’ dropout. I got through about four pages of questions. I felt like I was being channeled into a milquetoast ‘center of the road’ political centrist position that I would, in review, disagree with. (similar to RJ’s experience)

    My addendum to most questions would be: yeah, but… or no, however… The only thing I “strongly agreed/disagreed” to was: “you should always question authority”.

    It would be nice if there were a more comprehensive political ideology spectrum test. Maybe similar to the Minnesota multiphasic personality inventory test.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    Katherine: I’m led to believe that they could have much better questions. That being said, I wasn’t really surprised by where I “landed,” so perhaps the enterprise is more brilliant than I/we give it credit for.

  • http://jadedreality.blogspot.com spiderleaf

    I’m led to believe that they could have much better questions.

    I agree Eric, I felt a lot of the questions were like so many others in ‘polling’ situations… the answer depends on how you word it. For example: Do you believe that some prisoners cannot be rehabilitated… well of course, there is no rehabilitating a Jeffrey Dahlmer. But there wasn’t a “do you believe that most can”… so the answer you get is skewed by how you ask the question.

    The original test I took had some pretty skewed questions as to Israel/ Palestine (which this one left out) of which the response I would have given, if given the option, was “none of the above”…

  • http://www.angel-and-soulmate-selfhelp.com/blog.html Angela Chen Shui

    Thanks, Margaret. Both useful and fun. Visuals are so powerful…

    The axis approach facilitates inclusiveness, appreciation of diversity and conversation about the existing common ground.

    A bit south of both Ghandi and Mandela and a bit west of the Dalai Lama.

    Who would have guessed? ;-)

  • http://panicindetroit.blogspirit.com/ diane

    ugh– There isn’t a ‘none of the above/don’t care’ answer. Some questions need more definition.
    I like the Worlds Smallest Political Quiz better.
    http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz.html

  • http://www.landofthefreehomeofthebrave.org Margaret Romao Toigo

    Some of you have written that there should have been an option to answer “none of the above” on the test. The FAQ at Political Compass gives the following answer:

    “This makes it too easy for people to duck difficult issues. By forcing people to take a positive or negative stance, the propositions make people really evaluate their feelings. Often people find they wanted to select ‘don’t know’ mainly because they’d never really thought about the idea.”

    From what I’ve read from some of the responses here, there should be a z-axis that deals with military and foreign policy issues which would provide us with a three-dimensional evaluation of our political beliefs in relation to others. Perhaps I will create one.

    But don’t anybody start waiting with bated breath because while coding such a test in HTML and PHP is pretty simple (yes, I am a geek), knowing what sort of questions to ask and how to weigh the answers will require some further study.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com andy marsh

    I took the quia twice, I took it Friday evening after a “few” beers at my local hangout. Then I took it Saturday afternoon, stone cold sober. I was curious to see how different I would score. I scored the same in the libertarian/authoritarian field in both quizzes, 0.15. I went from 2.45 to 4.45 on the left right scale. I’m not sure if that means I give a shit more or less when I’ve been drinking!

  • http://www.templeofdagon.net Marty Dodge

    While some of the questions are biased to the left of things. Its not a bad judge of politics. Needless to say I come up with straight libertarian on Worlds Smallest Quiz. In this one I came up thusly:

    Economic Left/Right: 9.75
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.05

  • http://faeryface.diaryland.com Katharine Donelson

    >>Katherine: I’m led to believe that they could have much better questions. That being said, I wasn’t really surprised by where I “landed,” so perhaps the enterprise is more brilliant than I/we give it credit for.
    < <

    Eric: my name is spelled Katharine and not Katherine. And, I’m willing to admit that the quiz is more brilliant than I gave it credit for. I wasn’t surprised at where I landed, either. But as for better questions, I think the suggestion of a z-axis would probably help that.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    Katharine,: my apologies. Your response regarding your name reminds me very much of an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm from the first season.

  • http://faeryface.diaryland.com Katharine Donelson

    Having never seen Curb Your Enthusiasm, I can only hope that’s a good thing.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    It had to be with people that are very concerned with how their names are pronounced.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    Meant to say, “had to do with…”

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    Interesting quiz:
    Economic Left/Right: -0.50
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.23

    I find it interesting how the questions were phrased – I might have answered some questions differently if they were phrased more neutrally. Also, mathematically, we could increase the number of dimensions/axes on this graph, and possibly make it more accurate (and complex) – One more axis could be family/society.

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    Economic Left/Right: 1.88
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.21

    I’ll take the test tomorrow and I bet I come up with different answers. Too many question failed to distinguish between my personal desires and what I think the government should be able to do, in my opinion.

  • http://www.horologium.net timekeeper

    The Political Compass is an interesting quiz, but it has a few quirks. I don’t think it is equipped to deal well with someone who is both totally in favor of decreasing regulations on sexual activity, and also believes that some of the “sex lib” movement has gone too far. It also seems to have trouble with people who support religious schooling (by choice) without simultaneously supporting theocratic government. [They have changed the wording of one of the questions since I first took the quiz, which changed my score somewhat.] It also has a few questions in which there are not suitable answers, or that require another level of discussion to fully explain.

    Another interesting quiz can be found at Politopia, which seems to be a little more flexible, but is also geared towards American values, as opposed to European values, like the Compass.

    FWIW:

    Economic: 6.63
    Social: -0.05

    (On the Politopia quiz, I live about two blocks west of Drew Carey, which shows how similar quizzes can come up with different results.

  • http://www.angel-and-soulmate-selfhelp.com/blog.html Angela Chen Shui

    I like the z-axis idea, Margaret.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Here’s my old score:

    Economic Left/Right: -5.88
    Authoritarian/Libertarian: -6.87

    Here’s my new score:

    Economic Left/Right: -5.88
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.90

    Look at that. Same exact economic score! And I’m a touch more authoritarian that I was in the past? That makes no sense to me.

  • http://www.kolehardfacts.blogspot.com Mike Kole

    Steve-

    I´ve been away from the net for awhile and am coming to this late. I caught where you said:

    ‘In terms of economics, I’ve always been to the Left, but I I’ve slid waaaaay to the Left only within the last few months, and I have to say it’s probably solely due to reading the ideology of the conservatives and libertarians here at BlogCritics.

    Having known what they want, I still fall to the Left. But now knowing why they want what they want, slams me against the far wall on the Left.’

    I´ll have to assume that I have contributed in a large way to your reactions, since I´ve argued the libertarian case as much as anyone and directly with you.

    I accept that you and I will likely not ever agree on some economic issues, such as the ownership of resources, and that´s cool. I feel I have failed badly, though, in the area of individual liberties, in relating how the government that can intrude upon your individual liberties can similarly intrude upon your personal finances, that today´s personal finances become tomorrow´s corporate finances, and that the fundamental principle is the same in authorizing the governmental interferences into either individual liberties and finances.

    You keep me sharp, Steve. Thanks!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Online Pharmacy: I really appreciate blogs like this one becuase it allows me to spam the URL of Mexican pill-pushers of dubious reputation all over the intennet and earn a commission.

    What more need be said?

    Dave

  • John

    Why not add a third dimension, like Egalitarian/Elitist. Then you could have a cube. Add a fourth dimension, like Nationalistic/Globalistic and you get a four dimensional hypercube. Add a fifth dimension, like Violent/Pacifist, and you get another dimension.

    That two dimensional chart separates the economic dimension from the cultural dimension. It is designed to create some political unity among “libertarians” to get them to separate from the Democrats and join the economic right (aka, capitalists).

    In other words, it’s NOT A NEUTRAL TEST but a political organizing tool.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    kinda glad this one was kicked to the top…. i missed it the first time around…

    for the Record: i took the test honestly, and came out in the very close neighborhood to the Dali Lama

    to me, a fine neighborhood to be in…

    Economic Left/Right: -3.88
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.82

    slightly to the economic Right of the Dalai Lama

    sometimes i suprise myself

    Excelsior?

  • http://www.landofthefreehomeofthebrave.org/wp/ Margaret Romao Toigo

    Wow, this article is from January 2005! Usually, when I get email about new comments to older posts here on BC, it’s spam.

    John writes, “It is designed to create some political unity among “libertarians” to get them to separate from the Democrats and join the economic right (aka, capitalists).”

    Indeed, it is. It also separates libertarian Republicans (note the lower-case “L”) from authoritarian Republicans.

    The Political Compass is somewhat loosely based upon the “World’s Smallest Political Quiz,” which is used by the Libertarian Party (not to be confused with libertarianism, which is not a political party, but an ideology) as political organizing tool.

  • Jalesya

    Economic Left/Right: -3.25
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 1.18

    That is what I got on my test which does sound like me in a whole perspective.

  • Lauren

    My scale is
    Economic Left/Right: -0.50
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.03
    I landed just to the Right of Nelson Mandela. Which makes sense because I agree with most ideas I’ve heard from him.