Thursday, October 23, 2003

Political Compass.

So, I just spent a few minutes taking the Political Compass test, and I'm thinking the results can't be right. For one thing, there were several questions where Strongly Agree/Agree/Disagree/Strongly Disagree didn't offer the choice I wanted which was "neutral" or "can't decide" or "could you rephrase that in the form of a question?" Anyway, I ended up with:

Your political compass
Economic Left/Right: -7.50
Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.46

There's no way that can be correct. The chances of me being farther to the left than Nelson Mandela, The Dalai Lama, and Ghandi are pretty damn slim. Or pretty damn fat, whichever way you want to look at it. I think if the questions had been written a little differently, I would have come out more authoritarian than libertarian, without question.

Although the test does try to add depth by considering a "social dimension," my general criticism is that too much emphasis is put on the left-to-right economic spectrum. Okay, it's not the test's fault that we live in an economically unimaginative world, but really, why must my choices be based on an antiquated (okay, 19th century) model of economics? This is 2003, for chrissakes. Why are we incapable of thinking outside the paradigm offered by Marx and Engels? Is it really true we can only be capitalists, communists, or socialists (or somewhere in between these three positions)? Surely we can think of a fourth option.

Not a fourth option, a new option. There must be other systems of economy--based on trading and bartering? I'm not sure--not derived from Marx's interpretation of the collection of the British Library. I mean, the very fact that his system was based on an extensive yet culturally limited set of source material should make us pause and wonder about the validity of his conclusions. Marx describes what he thinks he sees, predicts what he thinks might develop, and suddenly we're totally wed to the idea. And you can't point to the fact that examples of his economic systems exist as proof that he was right. Marx was the master of the self-fulfilling prophecy, a Field of Dreams kind of guy if I ever saw one.

Well, don't even get me started on that Adam Smith, we'll be here all day.

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