The Political Compass
There’s abundant evidence for the need of it. The old one-dimensional categories of ‘right’ and ‘left’, established for the seating arrangement of the French National Assembly of 1789, are overly simplistic for today’s complex political landscape. For example, who are the ‘conservatives’ in today’s Russia? Are they the unreconstructed Stalinists, or the reformers who have adopted the right-wing views of conservatives like Margaret Thatcher ?
On the standard left-right scale, how do you distinguish leftists like Stalin and Gandhi? It’s not sufficient to say that Stalin was simply more left than Gandhi. There are fundamental political differences between them that the old categories on their own can’t explain. Similarly, we generally describe social reactionaries as ‘right-wingers’, yet that leaves left-wing reactionaries like Robert Mugabe and Pol Pot off the hook.
That’s about as much as we should tell you for now. After you’ve responded to the following propositions during the next 3-5 minutes, all will be explained. In each instance, you’re asked to choose the response that best describes your feeling: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree or Strongly Agree. At the end of the test, you’ll be given the compass, with your own special position on it.
Little Alex’s Graph:
Economic Left/Right: -1.62
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.77
Economic Left/Right: -7.13
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.41
(It’s highly recommended you take the test before reading the analysis.)
Walter Block discusses the flaws of the political spectrum at a Mises Institute summit, “The Economics of Fascism”.
EDITOR’S NOTE: It should be noted that Mr. Block uses “socialism” only in the context of Stalinism and Maoism. He only discusses voluntary socialism on the scales of the family and very briefly mentions communes. Also, the death counts early in the video attributed to the USSR and Mao have been sucessfully refuted in method by Amartya Sen — for which he won a Nobel Prize.