Gandhi or Stalin

I recently took at test at politicalcompass.org to validate my beliefs about my political leanings. I sometimes enjoy taking these online tests, as long as they agree with my image of myself. It is a lot like branding strategy in a way. It is easiest to market something to someone as long as your characterization agrees with the target audience’s higher image of themselves.

While taking the test, I tried very hard to be honest in my answers (it seems to be in our nature, at least in mine, to answer as we would like to be, not as we are on these self-discovery quizzes). It was hard to be truly unbiased because of some of their characterizations of the different areas in which the test-taker may align politically. I have included their explanation below:

Both an economic dimension and a social dimension are important factors for a proper political analysis. By adding the social dimension you can show that Stalin was an authoritarian leftist (ie the state is more important than the individual) and that Gandhi, believing in the supreme value of each individual, is a liberal leftist.

[ . . . ]

On the non-socialist side you can distinguish someone like Milton Friedman, who is anti-state for fiscal rather than social reasons, from Hitler, who wanted to make the state stronger, even if he wiped out half of humanity in the process.

Great examples. Gandhi or Stalin? Friedman or Hitler? There doesn’t seem to be much saving grace in being above the x-axis on the social dimension. Even the term “authoritarian” is a bit problematic. Libertarians are accepted in society. Authoritarians are to be feared.

I happily was validated to find out I share the same quadrant as Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, and Nelson Mandela (even if barely). Though this bodes well for my place in history, it also seems inevitable that I will one day be in prison or exiled. I suppose that is the price you pay as a, albeit moderate, liberal leftist.

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