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A certain political bent

August 31, 2010

While I am not currently a member or supporter of any political party, I am, as most of  my readers have no doubt noticed, far from apolitical.

I do try to keep my blog fair, reliable and truthful, but honestly, objectivity is not my priority when it comes to blogging.  I am not and will never be politically neutral, and neither are my posts on this blog.  My blog is neither a newspaper nor a research paper, and if you think you have detected in my posts a certain bias or political bent, you are probably right.

I, on the other hand, am not right. I am left. Economically left, socially libertarian, to be precise. At least, that is, according to a test called The Political Compass.

Since I have no intentions of being politically neutral or objective in my writings on this blog, I have for some time thought it would be fair to let you, my readers, know as accurately as possibly where in the political landscape I belong. The only problem is that I do not know exactly how to summarise my political  sentiments, and I have had a hard time finding a label I am comfortable with.

Writing in two languages for an international audience only adds to the confusion. I have always defined myself as belonging on the left side of the political spectrum, possibly even «left wing». However, Americans tend to see me as «liberal». This is probably both because «liberal» means rather different things in the US and Scandinavia, and because neither the left-right axis nor the liberal-conservative axis alone is sufficient to accurately describe the political preferences and ideologies of a party or an individual.

If you combine these two axes, however, you get a rather useful grid. A website called The Political Compass does just that. Based on your answers to about 60 direct, concrete and (mostly) straightforward questions about your sentiments regarding different political issues, the web site expresses your political sympathies as a position in a two-dimensional grid. The extremes on the horizontal axes are «left» and «right», those on the vertical one «authoritarian» and «libertarian».

So, this is me:

While at first glance this position seemed far more extreme than what I had expected, a quick look at the Political Compass Analysis page was rather reassuring. My home in the two-dimensional political landscape seems to be situated a bit to the left of Gandhi and a stone’s throw down the libertarian road from the Dalai Lama. That doesn’t seem like such a bad place, now, does it?


UPDATE: It has been some time since I wrote this post. I recently took the test again. This time, I got a somewhat more moderate result:

Economic Left/Right: -7.0
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.9


So, it seems like I have become a bit more moderate over the years. Or the questions of the test do not really probe my political values all that well after all. Or, most likely, both.

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