Political Spectrum

I was a little shocked the other day to notice that Nora Sumi Park listed this blog as moderate conservative. I’d always considered myself considerably more to the left on the left/right axis and I’m wondering exactly what it was we’ve said here that gave a ‘moderate conservative’ vibe. Not that I’m angry about it-after all the qualifying ‘moderate’ says an awful lot, but still just to be sure I went and took the fairly detailed quiz over at PoliticalCompass.org to reassure myself that I had not been living a lie, only just now unmasked by Ms. Park’s insight.

My score: (values can range from -10 to +10 on either axis)
Economic Left/Right: -4.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.05

Adam’s score:
Economic Left/Right: -5.75
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.03

political compass

That puts me somewhat left on the economic axis and pretty far on the libertarian social axis-roughly in the same territory as Nelson Mandela and Ghandi, and almost exactly in the same spot as the Dalai Lama. So why the moderative conservative label? I think there’s actually a reasonable explanation. One, I almost never write about any US domestic issues, or even US related international issues such as the occupation of Iraq, war on terror, etc. Domestic issues, the sort of thing that’s actually decided by the politicians that I have the [theoretical] right to elect, are the places where I think political orientation is really most significant.

When I write about politics at all, it’s usually a foreign issue that has nothing to do with the US, such as the Yasukuni or textbook issues, and I also don’t make a big point of giving my own opinion. These are issues I find interesting, but have nothing to do with me personally or emotionally, so I try to just explain what’s going on in a neutral way, without. Perhaps because I’ve spent some time trying to explain the Japanese right in a fairly impartial way it seems like I don’t actually despise them? Just because I wrote an article trying to explain how Koizumi’s Yasukuni pilgrimage is really about placating people far more conservative than he is himself doesn’t mean that I don’t think it’s offensive and provocative-but I’m not the person that it’s offending and I’m not doing this because I think my own opinions are all that fascinating.

I’m curious what some of our regular readers and commenters score on this test, and if it varies at all from your usual political self identification. Care to leave your results

19 thoughts on “Political Spectrum”

  1. Economic Left/Right: -6.50
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.69

    I guess it makes sense that I’d be both more left and less libertarian. If I’m more for economic regulation, then I would in turn be for more regulation and political structure on the whole. Hitting the corners must make for some crazy people.

  2. Ditto to YH, you pinkies!
    There is nothing remotely moderately conservative about this site… REMOTELY, I TELL YOU!
    I don’t know what my score is, but I’m pretty libertarian/conservative.
    Wait, I just checked NKN… LOL, you’re ranked with Marmot as moderate conservative. What does that make us, baby-killing fascists??

  3. Economic Left/Right: -2.88
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.54

    So, I am not far left as Roy was expecting.
    This is as far left as I can get as a daughter of Japanese conservative parents.

    [editor’s note: Adam’s girlfriend accidentally commented under his login, please don’t think that Adam is the daughter of conservative Japanese parents]

  4. It doesn’t surprise me that Nora Sumi thought what she thought. And I don’t think it’s because your site is conservative – I think you guys just do a great job of separating your politics from your stories. I’m a pretty conservative guy (although I’m not sure anymore, after taking that quiz. My score was -0.38, and 2.00), and I know I disagree with where you guys claim to stand politically, but it’s never stopped me from enjoying your site. It’s good, unbiased journalism. Keep up the good work!

  5. My score at CA back in January:

    Economic Left/Right: -1.12
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.44

    My score as of 5 minutes ago:

    Economic Left/Right: -0.75
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.62

    Guess that’s what an additional 6 months in Washington has done to me. Hell, by this time next year, I may even warrant the label “moderate conservative!”

  6. Man! At this rate you might have to throw out your old punk records from high school soon! I always found DC a little bit creepy…

  7. So MutantFrog asks why I didn’t post results… OK, I’ll take the test…


    The Lord George N. CURZON:
    Economic Left/Right: 0.38
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 0.05

    Smack bang in the center! That makes no sense! I’m pretty much to the right, no?

    Here’s the problem: I’m raging right wing on issues of the free market, social services, the death penalty, health care, foreign policy, etc… in other words, I’m right-wing on the issues that “matter.” But I’m raging left wing on issues that are off the radar screen, such as public broadcasting, gay rights, immigration, etc.

    So I think the test is kinda crap. Who cares about my answers to these questions:

    Good parents sometimes have to spank their children.
    It’s natural for children to keep some secrets from their parents.
    There is now a worrying fusion of information and entertainment.

    Those tell you if I’m to the left or right on anything?? Wot bunk.

  8. Funny thing is, it’s all the liberals here that are getting to me! And not always in a good way!

  9. Yeah, I agree. I haven’t really changed my political leanings, but in the course of talking to people in DC I often find that the usual “liberal” stances are really just “irrational”.

  10. I gotta agree with you Curzon, there are plenty of questions that just seem irrelevant, unless they have some massive and proven statistical correlations going on behind the scenes.

    Then there’s the issue of questions that are just unclear. My favorite was the one about ‘corporate welfare.’ Well obviously if you phrase it like that I get a knee-jerk ‘strongly disagree’ reaction, but what does it actually mean?
    No-big contracts for Halliburton? Ok, I’m against that.
    But what about grants for scientific research? I might be in favor of that, even to private corporations, under the right circumstances.
    Farm subsidies. As pure protectionism, maybe not- but to reduce dependence on imported food as a safety issue it’s a lot more palatable.

    I could go on…

  11. I often find that the usual “liberal” stances are really just “irrational”.
    And that, Sir Adamu, is why you are a moderate conservative!!!

  12. I think what Adam is noticing is perfectly rational. As someone who is basically left you’re far more likely to speak/listen to other people on the left side, and thus naturally be exposed more to the loonies on the left than on the right. Of course there are nutty extremists in every possible direction, but is a right-wing gun-toting Pentecostal snake handler type likely to move in your social circles? Clearly not. But you might be having a beer with say, a vegan that doesn’t bath quite enough, likes Marx a little too much, won’t buy name brand products because he once heard that a friend of Prez Bush owns stock in the manufacturer etc – but he’s got the same taste in music and video games.

  13. I think you’re onto somthing there MF. I find that the more time I spend around one side of an issue, the more fatigued I grow with their constant grumbling and carping about the other side. For better or worse, I’m inclined to be argumentative, contrarian, skeptical, or whatever label you want to put on it, so I find myself being pushed in the opposite direction.

  14. This site has some pretty hilarious rankings for people. The idea of Nelson Mandela as libertarian-learning is just amusing– yes, he opposed the nasty government then in power, but when he was actually in power his preferred policies weren’t libertarian at all. Similarly, I’m not sure why they put the Dalai Lama where they do. It’s not like opposing a particular government automatically makes you a libertarian.

    Their placements for other world leaders are also fairly random. I suppose that they could be making some sort of argument about hoped-for policies as opposed to actual policies, but it appears that supporting mandatory ID cards and a massive expansion in public closed circuit cameras along with a bill making it legal for the government to jail citizens indefinitely at will along with abolishing jury trial and proposing to make criticism of religion punishable by law (among other things I could list) for Tony Blair is not as bad as President Bush. I can certainly think of civil liberty criticisms for Bush, but I have a difficult time putting him higher up there than Tony Blair.

    Similarly, for all the talk of, say, Guantanamo, the the French treat their terrorist suspects even worse. Then again, there is no tradition of habeas corpus at all, so personal views can be difficult to extract from a country’s tradition.

  15. She put my blog down as “anti-japanese”, how galling.

    I would put it more as anti-WWII-Atrocities-Amnesiafilled-Japanese website. But I guess that would be a little long to write.

  16. yes, plunge, that would be too long. what do you want me to put there instead?

    okay, mutant frog, i have now changed you to ‘moderate’ because i’m still on board with the notion that you’re a liberal.

    whoever said it (i’m too tired to scroll up and look) that i might have thought you were conservative because of your objectivity in presenting the japanese right’s p.o.v. is prolly correct.

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