I’m a Liberal!

Or so it’s been determined by the “Vote Compass” survey tool.

Long time readers of this blog know that I just love these things. Some may scoff at such academic poli-sci contrivances, but I actually think they’re quite informative utilities to help sort things out in terms of what one’s political orientation is relative to the current matrix of issues and parties.

It’s a worthwhile exercise (provided you answer the questions honestly) and I would encourage everyone to give it a whirl.

h/t: JKG in the comments for the link.

p.s. Aside from where you might stand individually, when you look at that diagram, do you see an obvious problem illustrated re vote-splitting? There are four parties (three outside of Quebec) vying for that upper left quadrant and the Harpercons are completely unchallenged in the bottom right quadrant. Essentially, they don’t need to do anything but stick to their guns (so to speak) and they’ll end up with another minority, at the very least.

21 Replies to “I’m a Liberal!”

  1. I think the placement of the Cons is a bit strange. There really isn’t that much room between them and the Libs on the economy is there???

  2. Not in practice, but the originators of this thingee may have be going on their stated ideology which is quite a bit different from what they’ve been shown to do while in power; i.e., deficit spending on patronage largesse under the guise of so-called stimulus programs, running up unfunded liabilities like their $20+ billion war in Afghanistan and their brand new war in Libya that will cost $X million…

  3. My results:

    The problem with ‘political compasses’ is that people choose how left-right they are depending on specific issues. For example, I sympathized most of the Conservative Party platform in 2004, but I voted for an independent candidate based on Harper’s support for the Iraq war.

    There are people who are liberal on almost any issue, but if abortion becomes a hot topic in an election and the liberal candidate says something insulting to pro-lifers, those people might just stay home, or hold their nose and vote conservative.

    Libertarians tend to fit in the upper right quadrant, I hate to invoke Godwin’s law, but Hitler was left-wing economically while being a social conservative, so he’d fit somewhere in the lower left quadrant.

  4. As for vote splitting on the left, it benefits the conservatives for certain. I think that because the Liberals tend to be in power for about 2/3 of the time, certain segments of the electorate feel comfortable voting for their convictions, a party that is an unapologetic defender of the working class and the unions (ie: the NDP).

    The right split in the 1990s largely as a reaction to Mulroney’s redtoryism and pander bearing to Quebec. Or as John Crosbie so eloquently put it: “Damn the Reform party! They stole our redneck and racist vote!”. After 9 years of being in power, the West didn’t care about splitting the vote and voted for those crazy “Reformatories”. Canada should be proud–they created their own version of the tea party several years before the US did.

    I think that while a Liberal-NDP coalition would effectively shut out and make it harder for Conservatives to win elections in the short term, things would balance out where the Conservatives would adapt and try to appeal to a broader electorate.

  5. Hitfan: Thanks for providing the link. Hey, I don’t disagree that these things are problematic in many respects and a best, a guestimate of where one stands relative to the parties, leaders and issues of the day, but they’re actually not bad when it comes to pegging where folks are generally oriented on the political map.

  6. Hitfan: For all of their drawbacks, Preston Manning and his “Reformatories” were the best thing that could have happened to the Liberals in the 90s. Not only did they split the conservative vote, but they also forced the Liberals into measures that cut the deficit and reduced the debt (albeit through the legerdemain of “downloading” onto the provinces).

  7. As you RT, I took this test a few days ago and it also informed me I’ve gone Grit. Likewise I question the methodology of the survey, as it focuses too much on current domestic issues versus a true look at where you fit on the political scale.

    By contrast, taking the Political Compass test my rank is:
    Economic Left/Right: 0.62
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.74

    So I in fact rank slightly to the right and on the Libertarian side of things. This is about where I expected to land, as I support a free but balanced market, and I reject authoritarianism and social conservatism.

    I believe you need to participate in a few of these online tests to find out where you truly belong in the grand scheme of things.

  8. Actually, I was a little north of the exact centre of the left quadrant. In the quadrant with no party identification. Makes sense to me. Tending Socially Conservative but anti-neoliberal on economics.

  9. Grammins, this is a generalization, but Red Tories tend to reflect the views of those who founded the modern UK Conservative Party (Benjamin Disraeli, Lord Churchill, Edmund Burke, etc) and traditional Anglo/Canadian conservatism has always been very different than that practiced by our US counterparts.

    Basically Red Tories try to balance individualism and collectivism. Traditional Liberals and US Republicans have always been associated with individualism to the detriment of the collective good. They believe the almighty market will sort things out in the long run. The neo-liberal shift of our current Conservative Party of Canada to support corporate interests and globalization over the general good of Canadian society is the greatest example I can point to. Though they pay lip-service towards it, the CPofC no longer supports the common man in entering the economy, but rather favours transnationals and business elites. Corporate tax decreases versus helping small businesses or lowering personal income tax rates is an example of this.

    They also have little regard of the traditions of Canada’s political and judicial institutions, instead favouring populism just as US Republicans do. For example during Harper’s first prorogation (itself an attack on Westminster-style Parliamentary democratic traditions) the CPofC threatened to take the matter directly to the people, rather than allow the Governor-General (or even the Queen) to decide who would form government should Harper loose the confidence of the house. Clearly populism versus the traditional conservative respect for democratic institutions and the monarchy.

    Now given the results of the Political Compass test, I wouldn’t make a very traditional Red Tory. For one thing though I am Catholic and a person of faith, I don’t like mixing religion with politics and consider it ultimately a form of authoritarianism when any one group attempts to legislate morality. A traditional Red Tory would be more socially conservative. I believe this comes from our family emigrating from the Eastern Bloc during the height of the Cold War, as we came from a place where authoritarianism and religion were both used to control people; so consequently I must have grown to instinctively hate communism/socialism, autocratic governments, and the use of religion to extend nationalism.

    Admittedly, I also harbor some more libertarian economic views than a traditional Red Tory would espouse. Though in my defense I am only slightly on this side, and recognize that we have gone too far in pandering to business elites to the detriment of the middle class over the past 25 years.

  10. My original post was sort of tongue in cheek because of the fluctuations it would produce if you decided to take the test again. Nonetheless, I did score very close to Red’s position. However, I bet I would shift again if I were to take the test later in the campaign. It is not so much that my views fluctuate a lot (but given there was a fluidity to one’s political views) it is just that when you take the test, your answer is influenced by the contextual environment in which you take the test. Were you exhausted? Did you just see a press release by a party that make them look foolish? What was your mood? All of these can easily move your selection up and down and additively, it can result in a different result.

    Suffice it to say that as it has been mentioned here on this blog, the Red Tory brand is not represented by any one party, and even within the Red Tory moniker, there exists a sub-spectrum. I was just noting the folly of reducing these nuances to a simply 2 dimension. Still, given the reality that you may be compelled to vote for a party (though you can spoil your ballot), it does give a rough guide.

    By the way, if you take the test again, you can individualize the results and query them to see how you stack up against the party positions, which may result in a recalibration of your own stances (however marginal).

  11. One last note: I disagree with the idea that HItler was necessarily ‘left-wing’ economically. The tricky aspect about evaluating his economics is that that they stood in opposition to “Stalin’s communism.” His economics may not have been pur laine right wing per se, but this is assuming that ‘right wing’ automatically means complete free market. It is important to note that Hitler’s economics involved a lot of ‘class collaboration,’ and while fascism did involve government interference, this was always in the context of being pro-business. If anything, it was sort of corporate fascism: Actively maintaining the hierarchy that would arise otherwise in an ideal free market society but appealing to collective sensibilities by framing the support for industry in an nationalist context. If anything, cannot neatly fall into the current ideological categories that are commonly known today. In today’s context, I would even assert that businessman at the turn of the industrial revolution would be seen too “left-wing” compared to their modern counterparts today. This is in large part because there was at least a fading reverence to a patriarchal approach to business (even though most captains of industry loathed worker’s rights).

  12. JKG: I know you were being somewhat facetious in your original comment, but I do enjoy these things and appreciated the link. Of course, one shouldn’t take them too seriously and where one stands on the political spectrum can be a highly nuanced affair, especially for independent thinkers who often maintain a lot of seemingly contradictory positions that don’t necessarily fall into the conventional grid of “left” and “right”…

  13. You would think that after all the research done in these ‘institutes” like the one in Toronto, we would move beyond the Cartesian plane. Anyway, I am glad you liked it. I also had fun with it as well :).

  14. Hitler was certainly not left-wing in any economic sense. Private Enterprise ruled the economy in Germany – as long as it supported the regime and the aims of a war economy.

    Where Hitlerism was left-wing was in its embrace of political modernism – Nazism embraced not the status-quo of the recent past and the traditionalism of Imperialist Germany, but rather the myth of Nordic Legends conjoined the evils “of a perverted science” (apologies to Sir Winston Churchill for the paraphrase).

    Did Hitler re-establish the Monarchy and repudiate the republic ? NO.

    THAT is left-wing.

  15. ATY: Personally, I find the perennial argument about whether Hitler was “left” or “right” to be incredibly tiresome and pointless. I would argue that totalitarian and dictatorial regimes such as those of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, et al., simply don’t fit into the left-right paradigm of social democratic politics at all. In fact, they’re a form of despotism that’s an entirely different form of government altogether — a more primitive throwback really to the days of absolute monarchs and self-appointed Emperors — so attempting to characterize them as “left” or “right” (depending on one’s own prejudice) serves no purpose other than to demonize by association one’s political opponents.

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