Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

What’s your political compass?

Are you a liberal? Been told you’re somewhere to the Right of Genghis Khan? ;) Are you libertarian or a radical? Or radically libertarian (and is there a difference?) Can we really measure and situate our political positions in a way that goes beyond mere labels anyway, and can our political leanings be mapped given that some words mean different things in different parts of the world? ‘Liberal’ is an extremely broad church, for example. It can be used both to describe the ideas of John Stuart Mill and contemporary lefties alike, with a gulf of a couple hundred of years in between and an ambiguity and elasticity of the term, as with many others.

Test time! A conversation with my good blogger friend Jack (who has his own model: check it out) has prompted me to post for your enjoyment and bemusement two quizzes that claim to be able to locate your political positionality. For many, among them the creators of these quizzes, the simple one-dimensional left-right spectrum is increasingly becoming less tenable and more political models are now two- or three-multidimensional with multiple axes.

These tests are imperfect instruments, and are not and can not be “scientific”. I also think a lot of tests can not claim to be value-free themselves and that some of the political proclivities of the creators may sometimes filter through. They also do not so far seem to constitute so much a departure from the traditional L-R axis as simply subsume and add to it. In the two quizzes I’ve featured below too, some of the question set-up and wording may leave something to be desired, but all up I think they’re an interesting experiment nonetheless.

These two quizzes are in some respects a study in contrasts. One asks many interesting questions, the other distills it into just ten short ones. I only just took the latter test a few minutes ago while I took the Political Compass several years ago. Anyway, without much more commentary, here they are and I’d be interested in your results (mine follow).

Have a go: –

  1. The World’s Smallest Political Quiz (more on the background of this quiz here and political spectrums in general here)
  2. The Political Compass

My Results:

1. The World’s Smallest Political Quiz:


2. The Political Compass

Scores along these axes:

Economic Left/Right: -6.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.31

(unfortunately the graphic goes all askew when I attempt to insert it here)

Enjoy the weekend and if there is a peace rally for Iraq in your city tomorrow, please consider attending. I will be participating in the march here. Its the 4th Anniversary of this terrible war.

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11 comments on “What’s your political compass?

  1. Jack
    16 March, 2007

    Hi Ann!

    Just a quick note, and I’ll be back. The terms liberal and conservative are really relative. The term “liberal” usually denotes movement, while “conservative” indicates a more static state. A conservative, for example, living under fascism wants to stay a fascist, but the liberal wants to move away. A conservative living under democracy wants to stay democratic and the liberal wants to move away.

    What is interesting is that our own political preferences make for our labels. I had mentioned that I am not a conservative–I want to go back to the originalist politics of our founding fathers–this would label me a “radical” by some. I don’t want to move any further forward (toward more socialism), but if I did I would be more “liberal” in thought. The problem with the labels we throw around today, is that many people have little understanding of them. Which, I believe, confirms your notion that things are not always as they seem.

    I like the other graph you posted! As the prophet Jeremiah said, “There is nothing new under the sun”!

    You can guess where I ended up :)

    Take care,


  2. Jack
    16 March, 2007


    Here is my other:

  3. Dave On Fire
    16 March, 2007

    I agree that labels in politics are usually pretty devoid of meaning (“liberal”, in practise, seems to mean “bleeding-heart left-wing scum” among Americans and “heartless rightwing scum” among the French, while “socialism” is so much in the eye of the beholder that I’ve erased it from my vocabulary), but I guess that’s the point of these 2D charts.

    I’m pretty suspicious of tests like these generally, though I’ve no particular issue with the results of these (I’m slightly nearer the “leftmost” corner than you on the World’s Smallest test, slightly nearer the centre in the other; go figure), but it would have been interesting to put more historical figures up for comparison.

  4. homeyra
    16 March, 2007

    I just played with the small quiz. Had many “maybe’s” in the economy. Believe it or not, I ended up exactly on the same place than your red dot!!

  5. Servant
    17 March, 2007

    I’ve taken this a hundred times before. I’m the same as you and Homie. It’s getting too crowded on this little red dot. Gimme some room!

  6. Alien Drums
    17 March, 2007

    I came in as a centrist. Thanks.

  7. michael
    17 March, 2007

    ah yes, will refrain from unnecessary comments re these kinds of tests.

    for purposes of amusement i took both, again and for what it’s worth i come out as liberal (last intersection point to the left of the grid (guess that makes me really really left!!) and on the other Economic Left/Right: -6.25 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.26

  8. peoplesgeography
    18 March, 2007

    Good point Jack about the relativity of terms, though I would wonder about the characterisation of liberals wanting to move away in a democracy. I think your astute observation about the perpetuum mobile might apply to a notion of perpetual progress, rather than democracy being a static end-state.

    As an Originalist, I’m sure your ideas, while professing an admirable fidelity to those of the Constitutional Framers, would nevertheless still have evolved since, in significant respects, in keeping with the times. Another thought I’ll hold for a forthcoming conversation. :)

    I’m sure you know of economic liberals who are social conservatives and vice versa — yes, cross-breeds! Can one teach an old dogma new tricks? ;)

  9. peoplesgeography
    18 March, 2007

    Hi Dave, I share your sentiments. I think the Political Compass site might have some historical figures for comparison. I’ll have to delve more deeply at some point.

  10. peoplesgeography
    18 March, 2007

    Homie and Serv., Eureka! So we inhabit the same Archimedian mental point … well this political pad is roomy enough to share, and the dinner party conversations are robust when the Centrists and Libertarians visit ;)

  11. peoplesgeography
    18 March, 2007

    Hey Michael, good to see you. I remember your result from the Political Compass a few moons ago. So you’re still a lefty, comrade!

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Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

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of what is found there"
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