I was reading something online today and found a link to PoliticalCompass.org, a website that asks you a bunch of questions and then places your political philosophy on a grid. I've taken these sorts of quizzes before and know that a true representation of a political spectrum is more like a two-dimensional graph than it is the single-line spectrum. The graph takes into account both your economic beliefs and your social beliefs. Stalin and Hitler were both on the authoritarian end, but Hitler was a conservative and Stalin was a liberal. Ghandi and Ron Paul are both on the libertarian end of the spectrum, except Ghandi was a hippy, and Ron Paul is an economic conservative.
As for me, I end up floating in Ghandi's corner of the pool. My first time taking the quiz I scored a -5.38 on the economic axis and a -5.9 on the social axis. The second time around it was a -4.88, -5.69, not a significant difference and likely a matter of having clicked strongly agree or disagree one time and just agree or disagree the next time around. If you're a more visual person and want to see how my graph compares to yours, here's a link to mine. I consider myself a social libertarian and an economic moderate, so that doesn't surprise me, although my answers to the questions placed me further to the left of the economic axis than I had expected.
My only qualm is a few of the questions ask for moral and religious beliefs without asking for an opinion on how you apply those beliefs to politics. I'm sure there are people out there who are personally very conservatively religious, but don't think their beliefs have to be followed by the rest of the world. Those people may actually end up getting a reading skewed slightly toward the conservative side when they're really more liberal with their politics.
There are also a couple of questions I wish had a wider range of options or were more clear. The healthcare question just asks if I agree that those who can afford it deserve a higher quality of healthcare. What exactly does that mean? Should the poor get cosmetic or unnecessary procedures subsidized? Probably not. Should the poor have access to good doctors and procedures necessary for living a healthy life regardless of their ability to afford it? Probably so. And there are a couple that I honestly don't have the slightest clue about. Should minimizing inflation be a higher priority than reducing unemployment? I honestly haven't the slightest clue. Both have the most severe effects on the poorest people, but I don't know which one would make the biggest change if improved.
I'm actually interested in seeing where my readers score on this quiz and their thoughts on its quality and accuracy, so if you have the time, take it and let me know your thoughts. And just so you know, there aren't any annoying ads or attempts to get personal information out of you when you finish like many online quizzes, although it does give you the option to purchase a more detailed analysis.
If you're interested in seeing how you line up with the candidates for this year's presidential election, here's their graph. Turns out that the entire mainstream political spectrum is both much more authoritarian and free-market oriented than I am.