Monthly Archives: September 2013

Citizen, know thyself


What good is a compass that only shows east and west?  What about north and south and the other 356 points on a useful positioning device?

Can all your cultural, societal, political, moral and personal beliefs and opinions be accurately described as a single point on a straight economic axis between communism and capitalism?

I’ve worked in politics and I’ve worked in journalism, and I’ve never been happy with the old leftright spectrum as our frame of reference for understanding individual and collective ideologies.

People, polities and politics are far too complex and complicated to be described or understood accurately as a single point on a line between liberal and conservative, somewhere left or right of a shifting centre.

Ten years ago, I would introduce journalism students to the idea of multi-axis political description by asking them to take the short online survey at this Web 1.0-ish site that evaluates political beliefs by adding a vertical social axis between total individual freedom and complete state control — adding north & south to the Political Compass, as it were.

It’s not political science, but it is a fun way to see which ideological quadrant you might fall into…and which world leaders are plotted nearby.