I liked the discussion over at KVNU’s For The People about how labels can be misleading regarding someone’s political philosophy. As always, there are quizzes to help someone figure out their own philosophy. KVNU linked to The Political Compass. Another popular one is Worlds Smallest Political Quiz.
I’ve seen both of them before, but it’s always interesting to see how I score on a particular day. As I took each test I was reminded about the biases inherent in one, and the frustration that I always feel because of the vague questions on the other. The other thing that caught my attention was the way that their scales are not directly compatible with each other. Here are my two scores from the same time today:
After looking at the results I wondered what it would take to accurately compare the two. So I did some manipulation.I flipped the y-axis on the Political Compass so that the libertarian/authoritarian ratings would go in the same direction. Then I realigned the grid to match the diagonal orientation. After that I could overlay the two scores.
The fact that one of my scores was almost dead center while the other was all the way to the edge shows how differently the two quizzes score. I really felt that this is a case of the labels being used differently. I would move the Authoritarian and Libertarian labels to the following positions:
I have come to the conclusion that rather than labeling groups it might be better to use a quadrant system similar to the time matrix that I was introduced to in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. (reproduced below)
I came up with the following matrix. One has a color for each quadrant while the other shows gradients of color along each axis (economic and social).
So, any thoughts on my conclusion? (The colors aren’t showing up here like they did when I made this, but it’s not worth redoing them now.)