Study their behaviors. Observe their territorial boundaries. Leave their habitat as you found it. Report any signs of intelligence.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

4 Extra Quizzes Hidden At

The Political Compass quiz buries the analytic elegance of the 2-D Nolan Chart under the creaking weight of at least four other political dimensions.  The Nolan Chart diagnoses the left/right spectrum as a diagonal slice across a 2-D space defined by dimensions of economic self-governance and personal self-governance.  It reveals that libertarianism and authoritarianism are neither left nor right, and that left-authoritarians are similar to right-authoritarians.

Political Compass has 30 questions that are almost evenly divided between measuring economic self-governance and personal self-governance. These 30 questions would make a reasonably good Nolan quiz -- if the Compass designers hadn't tilted the chart 45 degrees when they mistakenly labeled the two ends of the economic axis as "left" and "right".  Compounding their errors, they add 32 other questions that don't measure either of the two Nolan dimensions, but instead measure four other attitudes that the quiz designers seem to think correlate with the labels they want to examine.  Here they are:


  1. I'd always support my country, whether it was right or wrong.
  2. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
  3. Military action that defies international law is sometimes justified.
  4. No one chooses his or her country of birth, so it's foolish to be proud of it.
  5. Our race has many superior qualities, compared with other races.
  6. There are no savage and civilised peoples; there are only different cultures.
  7. People are ultimately divided more by class than by nationality.
  8. All people have their rights, but it is better for all of us that different sorts of people should keep to their own kind.
  9. First-generation immigrants can never be fully integrated within their new country.
  1. All authority should be questioned.
  2. Good parents sometimes have to spank their children.
  3. The most important thing for children to learn is to accept discipline.
  4. Making peace with the establishment is an important aspect of maturity.
  5. It's natural for children to keep some secrets from their parents.
  6. In a civilised society, one must always have people above to be obeyed and people below to be commanded.
  1. The prime function of schooling should be to equip the future generation to find jobs.
  2. What's good for the most successful corporations is always, ultimately, good for all of us.
  3. Abstract art that doesn't represent anything shouldn't be considered art at all.
  4. The businessperson and the manufacturer are more important than the writer and the artist.
  5. If economic globalisation is inevitable, it should primarily serve humanity rather than the interests of trans-national corporations.
  6. It is regrettable that many personal fortunes are made by people who simply manipulate money and contribute nothing to their society.
  7. There is now a worrying fusion of information and entertainment.
  8. It's a sad reflection on our society that something as basic as drinking water is now a bottled, branded consumer product.
  1. Mothers may have careers, but their first duty is to be homemakers.
  2. You cannot be moral without being religious.
  3. It is important that my child's school instills religious values.
  4. Sex outside marriage is usually immoral.
  5. No one can feel naturally homosexual.
  6. It's fine for society to be open about sex, but these days it's going too far.
None of the above 29 questions addresses whether one thinks politics should govern ones personal or economic choices.  The remaining 3 of the 32 non-germane questions are simply bizarre:
  1. When you are troubled, it's better not to think about it, but to keep busy with more cheerful things.
  2. Some people are naturally unlucky.
  3. Astrology accurately explains many things.
The Compass doubles down on its silliness by then precisely plotting quiz results for Ghandi and the Dalai Lama and two dozen classical music composers.  And in its eagerness to diagnose so many kinds of political incorrectness, the 60+ questions of the quiz fail to cover the following issues:

  • Personal
    • Freedom of speech
    • Freedom of religion
    • Personal risk-taking
    • Self-defense
    • Drugs other than marijuana
  • Economic
    • Corporate & farm subsidies
    • Retirement
    • Education
    • Health care
    • Financial risk-taking
    • Freedom of contract
Fortunately, there is a high-precision Nolan quiz that covers a full menu of policy questions without extraneous questions trying to measure political correctness.  For an interactive version of the quiz, click this image:

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