The Three “Political Compass” Tests

I’ve done these compass tests before, but here’s how I test on each of the three versions: the Political Compass, the Political Coordinates, and the Sapply Values version. I test similarly on all of them: moderate libertarian slightly to the right of center. Note however that the Sapply Test has the usual left-right and libertarian-authoritarian scales, but also an additional scale for conservatism-progressivism, which is helpful because it separates social views (on the right bar) from governmental power views (the vertical axis).

So according to Sapply, I’m a “liberal” on two scales — libertarian as regards governmental power (vertical axis), and progressive as regards human rights and social views (the right-hand bar). I lean “conservative” on the horizontal scale — right as regards fiscal/economic issues (horizontal axis). And yes, that seems about correct for me.

I paste below my answers to each of the three tests.

 

The Political Compass (I’m purple)

Page 1: How you see the country and the world

1. If economic globalisation is inevitable, it should primarily serve humanity rather than the interests of trans-national corporations. Strongly disagree — and this is an absurdly phrased question. Transnational corporations have been strongly helpful to humanity, and in many cases more helpful than top-down government schemes.

2. I’d always support my country, whether it was right or wrong. Strongly disagree.

3. No one chooses their country of birth, so it’s foolish to be proud of it. Agree.

4. Our race has many superior qualities, compared with other races. Strongly disagree. Science shows that race is an illusion.

5. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Disagree.

6. Military action that defies international law is sometimes justified. Agree — not often, but sometimes. International law is dictated by countries with conflicting priorities. It may well be in the interest of a nation to engage in a defensive war, regardless of what other nations say about it.

7. There is now a worrying fusion of information and entertainment. Disagree.

Page 2: Economy

1. People are ultimately divided more by class than by nationality. Strongly disagree. World War I and other examples prove this is to be nonsense.

2. Controlling inflation is more important than controlling unemployment. Strongly agree. Controlling the root causes of unemployment, like inflation, is what makes an economy healthy. Creating jobs is a band-aid solution that doesn’t address the illness.

3. Because corporations cannot be trusted to voluntarily protect the environment, they require regulation. Strongly agree. Businesses need some regulation, such as when it comes to the environment.

4. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” is a fundamentally good idea. Strongly disagree.

5. The freer the market, the freer the people. Strongly agree.

6. It’s a sad reflection on our society that something as basic as drinking water is now a bottled, branded consumer product. Agree.

7. Land shouldn’t be a commodity to be bought and sold. Strongly disagree.

8. It is regrettable that many personal fortunes are made by people who simply manipulate money and contribute nothing to their society. Disagree, and this is a crazy question, for assuming that investors and such are contributing nothing to society.

9. Protectionism is sometimes necessary in trade. Disagree. Tariffs are always a bad idea.

10. The only social responsibility of a company should be to deliver a profit to its shareholders. Agree.

11. The rich are too highly taxed. Disagree.

12. Those with the ability to pay should have access to higher standards of medical care. Disagree.

12. Governments should penalize businesses that mislead the public. Agree.

13. A genuine free market requires restrictions on the ability of predator multinationals to create monopolies. Disagree. Monopolies are almost impossible to establish (unless the government sponsors them).

Page 3: Social Values

1. Abortion, when the woman’s life is not threatened, should always be illegal. Strongly disagree.

2. All authority should be questioned. Agree.

3. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Strongly disagree.

4. Taxpayers should not be expected to prop up any theatres or museums that cannot survive on a commercial basis. Strongly disagree.

5. Schools should not make classroom attendance compulsory. Agree. I’m not wild about homeschooling, but it should be an option.

6. All people have their rights, but it is better for all of us that different sorts of people should keep to their own kind. Strongly disagree.

7. Good parents sometimes have to spank their children. Disagree.

8. It’s natural for children to keep some secrets from their parents. Strongly agree.

9. Possessing marijuana for personal use should not be a criminal offence. Strongly agree.

10. The prime function of schooling should be to equip the future generation to find jobs. Agree.

11. People with serious inheritable disabilities should not be allowed to reproduce. Strongly disagree.

12. The most important thing for children to learn is to accept discipline. Disagree.

13. There are no savage and civilised peoples (cultures); there are only different cultures. Strongly disagree, and a poorly phrased question to make one feel bad about answering honestly. The statement should read, “There are no savage and civilized cultures [not peoples]; there are only different cultures.” Which is disagreeable in the extreme. There are certainly cultures which are more savage than others, and to say they’re just “different” perverts the message of multicuturalism.

14. Those who are able to work, and refuse the opportunity, should not expect society’s support. Strongly agree.

15. When you are troubled, it’s better not to think about it, but to keep busy with more cheerful things. Agree.

16. First-generation immigrants can never be fully integrated within their new country. Disagree. With few exceptions (like Muslims in certain areas), integration is a realistic goal.

17. What’s good for the most successful corporations is always, ultimately, good for all of us. Disagree.

18. No broadcasting institution, however independent its content, should receive public funding. Disagree.

Page 4: How you see wider society

1. Our civil liberties are being excessively curbed in the name of counter-terrorism. Agree.

2. A significant advantage of a one-party state is that it avoids all the arguments that delay progress in a democratic political system. Strongly disagree.

3. Although the electronic age makes official surveillance easier, only wrongdoers need to be worried. Strongly disagree.

4. The death penalty should be an option for the most serious crimes. Agree.

5. In a civilised society, one must always have people above to be obeyed and people below to be commanded. Strongly disagree.

6. Abstract art that doesn’t represent anything shouldn’t be considered art at all. Strongly disagree.

7. In criminal justice, punishment should be more important than rehabilitation. Sort of agree. It’s true that rehabilitation is generally a farce, but criminal justice should be less about punishment and more about safety. Keeping society safe from criminals is what is most important of all in criminal justice.

8. It is a waste of time to try to rehabilitate some criminals. Strongly agree.

9. The businessperson and the manufacturer are more important than the writer and the artist. Strongly disagree.

10. Mothers may have careers, but their first duty is to be homemakers. Strongly disagree.

11. Multinational companies are unethically exploiting the plant genetic resources of developing countries. Disagree.

12. Making peace with the establishment is an important aspect of maturity. Disagree.

Page 5: Religion

1. Astrology accurately explains many things. Strongly disagree.

2. You cannot be moral without being religious. Strongly disagree.

3. Charity is better than social security as a means of helping the genuinely disadvantaged. Sort of agree, though I support both.

4. Some people are naturally unlucky. Agree.

5. It is important that my child’s school instills religious values. Strongly disagree.

Page 6: Sex

1. Sex outside marriage is usually immoral. Strongly disagree.

2. A same sex couple in a stable, loving relationship should not be excluded from the possibility of child adoption. Strongly agree.

3. Pornography, depicting consenting adults, should be legal for the adult population. Strongly agree.

4. What goes on in a private bedroom between consenting adults is no business of the state. Strongly agree.

5. No one can feel naturally homosexual. Strongly disagree.

6. These days openness about sex has gone too far. Disagree.

 

The Political Coordinates Test (I’m yellow)

1. Taxpayer money should not be spent on arts or sports. Strongly disagree.

2. Some countries and civilizations are natural enemies. Agree.

3. Overall, the minimum wage does more harm than good. Agree.

4. Import tariffs on foreign products are a good way to protect jobs in my country. Strongly disagree.

5. Western civilization has benefited more from Christianity than from the ideas of Ancient Greece. Disagree.

6. Immigration to my country should be minimized and strictly controlled. Strongly disagree.

7. Prostitution should be legal. Strongly agree.

8. A strong military is a better foreign policy tool than a strong diplomacy. Strongly disagree.

9. Free trade is better for third-world countries than developmental aid. Strongly agree.

10. There is at heart a conflict between the interest of business and the interest of society. Neutral. (Equally true or false, depending on circumstances.)

11. Homosexual couples should have all the same rights as heterosexual ones, including the right to adopt. Strongly agree.

12. It is legitimate for nations to privilege their own religion over others. Disagree.

13. Marijuana should be legal. Strongly agree.

14. A country should never go to war without the support of the international community. Disagree.

15. People who turn down a job should not be eligible for unemployment benefits from the government. Agree.

16. The government should set a cap on the wages of bankers and CEOs. Disagree.

17. Medically assisted suicide should be legal. Strongly agree.

18. Speculation on the stock exchange is less desirable than other kinds of economic activity. Neutral.

19. Surveillance and counter-terrorism programs have gone too far. Agree.

20. It almost never ends well when the government gets involved in business. Agree.

21. Capital punishment should be an option in some cases. Agree.

22. There are too many wasteful government programs. Neutral. (Many good ones, many bad ones.)

23. Rehabilitating criminals is more important than punishing them. Disagree.

24. Monarchy and aristocratic titles should be abolished. Strongly agree.

25. The government should provide healthcare to its citizens free of charge. Agree. (Though it’s a complex issue. I believe it should provide free health insurance for catastrophic health coverage and then have people pay for other healthcare.)

26. Overall, security leaks like those perpetrated by Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks do more harm than good. Strongly disagree.

27. Overall, labor unions do more harm than good. Disagree.

28. The market is generally better at allocating resources than the government. Neutral. (Depending on the issue, both the market and the government have their place and strengths in allocating resources.)

29. The government should redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor. Disagree.

30. If people want to drive without a seat belt, that should be their decision. Agree.

31. Government spending with the aim of creating jobs is generally a good idea. Disagree. (Fighting inflation and other root-cause solutions are better.)

32. If an immigrant wants to fly the flag of his home country on my country’s soil, that’s okay with me. Agree. (By “okay with me”, I mean that I’m okay with it legally. It’s what the First Amendment guarantees.)

33. Equality is more important than economic growth. Strongly agree.

34. Some peoples and religions are generally more trouble than others. Neutral. (Disagree about peoples, but strongly agree about religions; some religions oppose the values of a free and humane society more than others.)

35. My country should give more foreign and developmental aid to third-world countries. Disagree.

36. We need to increase taxes on industry out of concern for the climate. Agree.

 

The Sapply Test (I’m yellow in the graph, and green on the sidebar)

1. Freedom of business is the best practical way a society can prosper. Agree.

2. Charity is a better way of helping those in need than social welfare. Neutral. (They’re both helpful and have their place.)

3. Wages are always fair, as employers know best what a worker’s labour is worth. Disagree.

4. It is “human nature” to be greedy. Strongly agree.

5. “Exploitation” is an outdated term, as the struggles of 1800s capitalism doesn’t exist anymore. Disagree.

6. Communism is an ideal that can never work in practice. Strongly agree.

7. Taxation of the wealthy is a bad idea, society would be better off without it. Disagree.

8. The harder you work, the more you progress up the social ladder. Disagree.

9. Organisations and corporations cannot be trusted and need regulating by the government. Agree. To an extent anyway. I favor government regulation of business to protect the environment, human health, and worker safety, but NOT for trying to mandate economic equality (other than perhaps taxing the rich more), as that runs contrary to the whole point of the capitalist system.

10. A government that provides for everyone is an inherently good idea. Disagree.

11. The current welfare system should be expanded to further combat inequality. Strongly disagree.

12. Land should not be a commodity to be bought and sold. Strongly disagree.

13. All industry and the bank should be nationalised. Strongly disagree.

14. Class is the primary division of society. Strongly disagree.

15. Economic inequality is too high in the world. Strongly agree.

16. Sometimes it is right that the government may spy on its citizens to combat extremists and terrorists. Strongly disagree.

17. Authority figures, if morally correct, are a good thing for society. Strongly disagree.

18. Strength is necessary for any government to succeed. Neutral.

19. Only the government can fairly and effectively regulate organisations. Agree.

20. Society requires structure and bureaucracy in order to function. Agree.

21. Mandatory IDs should be used to ensure public safety. Strongly disagree.

22. In times of crisis, safety becomes more important than civil liberties. Disagree. I don’t strongly disagree, because there are cases where safety trumps liberty (like mask-wearing during Covid). But too often throughout history, “situations of crisis”, especially during wartime, have been used as a poor excuse to infringe on free speech and other liberties.

23. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Strongly disagree.

24. The government should be less involved in the day to day life of its citizens. Agree.

25. Without democracy, a society is nothing. Strongly agree.

26. Jury nullification should be legal. Agree.

27. The smaller the government, the freer the people. Agree.

28. The government should, at most, provide emergency services and law enforcement. Disagree.

29. The police was not made to protect the people, but to uphold the status-quo by force. Strongly disagree.

30. State schools are a bad idea because our state shouldn’t be influencing our children. Disagree.

31. Two consenting individuals should be able to do whatever they want with each other, even if it makes me uncomfortable. Strongly agree.

32. An individual’s body is their own property, and they should be able to do anything they desire to it. Strongly agree.

33. A person should be able to worship whomever or whatever they want. Agree.

34. Nudism is perfectly natural. Agree.

35. Animals deserve certain universal rights. Agree.

36. Gender is a social construct, not a natural state of affairs. Disagree.

37. Laws based on cultural values, rather than ethical ones, aren’t justice. Strongly agree.

38. Autonomy of body extends even to minors, the mentally ill, and serious criminals. Agree.

39. Homosexuality is against my values. Strongly disagree.

40. Transgender individuals should not be able to adopt children. Strongly disagree.

41. Drugs are harmful and should be banned. Strongly disagree.

42. The death penalty should exist for certain crimes. Agree.

43. Victimless crimes should still be punished. Disagree. The goal of a civilized society should be to do away with punitive punishments for victimless crimes.

44. One cannot be moral without religion. Strongly disagree.

45. Parents should hold absolute power over their children, as they are older and more experienced. Disagree.

46. Multiculturalism is bad. Disagree, though this depends on one’s understanding of multiculturalism. “Multiculturalism” according to the woke left is most certainly bad, but generally speaking, a pluralistic society with a plurality of ideas is to be celebrated.

5 thoughts on “The Three “Political Compass” Tests

  1. Most of the time, these political compass tests aren’t extremely accurate; the first one is notoriously created from a left-wing bias, so it makes everyone look further to the right than they actually are. As you pointed out, there are a lot of questions in the first test which are either A) strangely-worded or B) assume a false dichotomy like “punishment vs. rehabilitation” in the context of criminal justice. Also, there’s no definition for “kinds” of people: “people should keep to their own kind.” What a dumb question. I’m pretty sure I know what they actually mean (i.e. races/ethnicities) but this is an insidious question because most people do not see the entire world through the lens of race. When I see the phrase “kinds of people,” the first thing that comes to my mind is different personalities, different types of hobbyists, and stuff like that.

    Test #2 is also silly: the fact that Barack Obama was listed as more “liberal” than Bill Clinton should speak for itself. This is wrong on so many levels. There’s nobody in the “left communitarian” quadrant, even though Obama should definitely be there (Obamacare alone should place the guy firmly in the “communitarian” axis by the test’s own definition). Also, Milton Friedman being further to the right than he is a libertarian = lol

    The Sapply test seems a bit better, simply by virtue of having the social values bar as a sort of “z axis,” but it still seems like it artificially makes everyone out to be more right-wing than they actually are.

    • I agree that these tests have leftist biases, though I think my results are fairly accurate. I don’t think it presents me “more right” than I really am, just slightly right of center. (Though I was admittedly surprised when I first started testing this way, since I used to be a lefty.)

      However: Obama was definitely more liberal than Bill Clinton fiscally speaking (the horizontal axis), and so the second test did get that right. Clinton wisely rejected Keynesian approaches (unlike Obama and his gross stimulus program) and put Republicans to shame with conservative budget policies. He slashed federal spending, kept the Fed on tight money policies, and the result was ’90s prosperity. He turned the deficit from the Reagan and Bush eras into a major surplus. That’s the kind of fiscally conservative president we need again. The presidents since Clinton (W. Bush, Obama, Trump, and surely Biden) were/are spendthrifts, and we’re living on borrowed time thanks to each and every one of them. I keep praying for a president like Harding or Coolidge to emerge, but I doubt the electorate will vote for leaders like that anymore.

  2. Maybe I wrote that down wrong, but I was referring to the vertical axis (liberal vs. communitarian, not left vs. right). Obama was definitely further left than Clinton and I don’t find this contentious; it’s his placement on the vertical axis that I have a problem with.

    From the test’s own definition of “left communitarianism:” Individuals in this quadrant seek to promote communal solutions to both social and economic problems. They tend to see themselves as supporting a mode of government that curbs the excesses of capitalism and diminishes inequality by virtue of a mixed economy and a universal welfare state. They seek to encourage collective solutions, economic redistribution and shared values throughout society by means of participatory democracy and the state.

    That sounds a LOT more accurate for Obama than their descriptor for “left liberalism” is.

    Speaking of Clinton though, I really wouldn’t mind another president like him at this point. His foreign policy left a lot to be desired, and he’s a certified horndog, but he at least understood economics, unlike the modern democrats (and most of the modern republicans too).

    • I see what you’re saying about Obama/Clinton and the vertical axis; I misunderstood.

      Yes, I wouldn’t mind another Bill Clinton at this point (for domestic, not foreign policy), unlike his wife who would have been a disaster on every level.

  3. You are correct about oddly worded questions. I think that they write the questions in a particular way in order to illicit a certain response so that they can align you on the political compass more closely to certain candidates to convince you that you agree with them. This is why I really don’t like these types of tests. There is also the issue that some questions are vague in what they are asking.

    On the question: “Controlling inflation is more important than controlling unemployment.” there is also the point that once prices go up, they don’t generally come back down, plus inflation compounds over time. If unemployment goes up, it can come back down to previous levels, so unemployment is much easier to fix.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s