The Political Compass
When I first took The Political Compass test last week, I remember getting left-libertarian. However, when I did the quiz again today, expecting the same result, I got this: I became more libertarian but completely neutral (the checkmark is my result from last time). Of course, I was shocked because how could my political opinion change so drastically within a week? So, I did some research on libertarianism and the nuances between its left and right divisions. Libertarianism is derived from classical liberalism, which has the core beliefs of opposing illegitimate authorities, people should be free from constraints and authoritarian structures. Left-libertarianism dislikes the government but still enjoys some government control. On the other hand, the right-libertarians believe the state of being the “great enemy of the peaceful and productive pursuits of mankind” (Rothbard).
Things were beginning to make sense when I read that definition. Over the weekend and earlier this week, I was going down a mind-opening rabbit hole about China’s mass surveillance technology used to track its citizens. I was really shocked by how advanced their facial/object recognizing tools were and the fact that these Chinese tech companies used the TV show “Black Mirror” and the movie “Terminator” as inspiration for creating their tech (Link to video). Learning about this made me feel as if I couldn’t trust the authorities because they are constantly watching us as we’re going about our daily lives. Although the companies say that they mainly track criminals, this kind of technology can easily be used for malpractice, and we don’t even know if we can believe the government. If what they’re willing to tell us is to already so disturbing and dystopian-Esque, I shudder to think what they are hiding when they say “有些事不太方便说” (around 5:30 in the video). Personally, I did not want the government to know about my entire schedule or about the number of times I exit and enter my house. Perhaps this is why my viewpoint shifted more towards right-libertarianism — I just want the government to stay away from my life.
The results from this quiz were not surprising at all. I knew that I didn’t know many of the questions, so I’d guessed that my score would be around 50%. After all, I really don’t consider myself to be a very political person. I am a bit embarrassed that I didn’t know most of the answers because I believe that it’s always good to be aware of what’s going on in the world (political world), so I can hold conversations with others about important issues.
These specific scores were expected as well. I enjoy learning about the environment, dislike economics, and don’t know much about crime nor immigration issues, so my scores make a lot of sense to me. Environmental issues intrigue me because it’s one of the most important issues right now. If we don’t have a planet to live on, we will not get to solve any of the other political issues.
This came as somewhat of a surprise. I really did expect to be a little bit politically biased since I’m always surrounded by politically left-leaning content. I feel that although I may have a few strong opinions on social issues, overall, I’m pretty open to many different ideas.
I read on a bit more after the quiz and learned that they used the kind of questions we got right to determine our political stance. For example, if someone knew a lot about factual information that supports abortion-ban, then that knowledge would register them as a right-wing conservative. The article discussed, which I thought was interesting, was differentiating between informational bias (bias in the information we receive) and individual bias (bias caused by our opinions).
“A study showed that the correlation between answers to factual questions and political views was substantially reduced when people were paid for being right on the factual questions” (Clearer Thinking).
Individual bias explains this study’s findings because the participants do know the factual answers to the questions. Still, due to their opinions, they choose the options that correlate with their political stances. However, this does not confirm that all cases showing political bias are not caused by informational bias, which the quiz states around the last page.
Again, this result was not surprising since I know that I don’t have many strong political opinions. It’s interesting to see that this result also correlates with the Political Compass quiz: it seems like I’m leaning towards libertarian, albeit a little left-leaning rather than neutral.
- What does it mean to be political?
A political person to me is having strong opinions about various issues in society and trying to take action to resolve the issues in the way they believe is best.
- Is everything political? Why or why not?
I think that we could make everything political if we wanted to. Take something as simple as blinking: although most of us can do it, there is still a small percentage of people born with facial deformations that keep them from blinking. It’s hard to think of any topic that isn’t political. Still, if we only focus on the main political issues (by which the act of focusing on “main” issues is political itself), then not everything is political since some issues, such as not being able to blink, do not affect a significant amount of the population.