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political compass

It appears that some people don’t understand what right-wing means in terms of politics, apart from using it as a general term of abuse.

I recommend visiting the site http://www.politicalcompass.org/ to see your own political beliefs (as determined by a short questionnaire) graphed against some famous people. The unique aspect of the Political Compass is that they separate economic and authoritarian values. Stalinism is listed as extreme authoritarian-left and Thatcherism as medium authoritarian-right. Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama are listed as liberal-left.

I score -6.5 on the economic left/right index and -6.46 on the social libertarian/authoritarian index, this means that I am fairly strongly liberal-left. Previously the Political Compass site would graph resulta against famous people but they have since removed the combined graph feature and the scale from the separate graphs. Thus I can’t determine whether their analysis of the politics of Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama indicate that one of those men has beliefs that more closely match mine than the other. I guess that this is because the famous politicians did not take part in the survey and an analysis of their published material was used to assess their beliefs, this would lead to less accuracy.

The Wikipedia page on Right-Wing Politics provides some useful background information. Apparently before the French revolution in the Estates General the nobility sat on the right of the president’s chair. The tradition of politically conservative representatives sitting on the right of the chamber started there, I believe that such seating order is still used in France while in the rest of the world the terms left and right are used independently of seating order.

Right-wing political views need not be associated with intolerance. If other Debian developers decide to publish their political score as determined by the Political Compass quiz then I’m sure that we’ll find that most political beliefs are represented, and I’m sure that most people will discover that someone who they like has political ideas that differ significantly from their own.

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