People Like Lists, but I think they like Internet Tests even more. "What Kind Of Bear Are You?" or "Find Out If Your A Genious" or "What Would Your Baby's Name Be In Space," if you can think of a topic and slam together some questions, you've got a popular internet test that may or may not have some basis in useful reality. Furthermore, Wasting Precious Time On The Internet is now one of our most-cherished human values. I believe it is now part of a standard benefits packet in almost any workplace.

So I exercised my considerable freedom today, and took "The Political Compass" quiz. From their site:

The old one-dimensional categories of 'right' and 'left', established for the seating arrangement of the French National Assembly of 1789, are overly simplistic for today's complex political landscape. For example, who are the 'conservatives' in today's Russia? Are they the unreconstructed Stalinists, or the reformers who have adopted the right-wing views of conservatives like Margaret Thatcher ?
On the standard left-right scale, how do you distinguish leftists like Stalin and Gandhi? It's not sufficient to say that Stalin was simply more left than Gandhi. There are fundamental political differences between them that the old categories on their own can't explain. Similarly, we generally describe social reactionaries as 'right-wingers', yet that leaves left-wing reactionaries like Robert Mugabe and Pol Pot off the hook.
That's about as much as we should tell you for now. After you've responded to the following propositions during the next 3-5 minutes, all will be explained. In each instance, you're asked to choose the response that best describes your feeling: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree or Strongly Agree. At the end of the test, you'll be given the compass, with your own special position on it.
I generally consider myself a political eclectic. I have strong liberal/progressive tendencies, but since I am not all that into blind trust or being led by a party line, I take the time to consider issues carefully and make up my own damn mind. I'm not a hippie, but I'm not Stalin either. At least I don't think so. Let's see how the test came out for me.

To put this in perspective, some charts of Stalin n' Friends.

I gotta say -- I'm pretty pleased to be hanging out there with my Twitter/Facebook pal The Dalai Lama, and good ol' Gandhi, and relieved that I seem to be separated from Hitler, Thatcher, and Dubya quite a few little chart points away. Those guys are all a bit pushy for my tastes. No, I prefer my neighbors there, because I think that if I were to be at a party with Gandhi and The D.L., we'd probably be all chill, tell some good funny stories, and share a really, really kickass meal. With Hitler, there's always the chance of getting gassed for dessert. F that guy.

So, what does this mean? I think I can break it down to two essential concepts about human nature. Why I think I can do that is because I'm full of coffee and the kids are watching Sponge Bob. Anyway, here we are:


The Liberal Thinks...that all people are generally good. Anne Frank thought this, and experienced both proof and disconfirmation of her theory. I am not sure if this would have made her a political moderate if she had lived. The liberal is a humanist, and believes that the the social good lies in the respect and nurturing of the individual, and that there is no higher priority than the intertwining of government and workers to provide a decent and workable life for all. The liberal gives the individual the benefit of the doubt, even if there are substantial cultural or class differences. "Do the right thing" means the Golden Rule.

The Conservative Thinks...that "MY" people are good. They distrust other groups and individuals who do not hold very similar values; they are the "gated community" as opposed to the "takes a village." The conservative believes that people must be directed by an authority source to remain good. They believe that good people should look only to themselves and their families for assistance when in need, and not the government or social institutions or neighbors; to ask or expect anything from an outside source is shameful. Good people work hard, and suffer in silence.


The Liberal Thinks...when you give businesses too much money and too much power, they will abuse it. The liberal also thinks that the Conservative is hateful, and hateful is bad. They believe that people who do not give enough are bad.

The Conservative Thinks...all the rest of y'all are bad. They believe people are generally going to do bad things unless prevented by a vengeful God and threat of eternal damnation, the National Guard, and shotguns. They think that Liberals are suckers for bad people, and that businesses support communities with trickle-down dollars. They think that people just take, take, take, and that is bad, bad, bad.

Short Takes: The Authoritarian Thinks...my way or the highway; The Libertarian Thinks...When in doubt I whip it out, I got me a rock 'n' roll band, it's a free-for-all!

Me? I think most people are good, but also that most people are corruptible. I think there is no reason to have a poorly-educated, poorly-fed, under-housed, and unhealthy population in one of the richest countries in the world. I think if anything gets too big it goes to shit. I think if you are a serial predator against kids, you cannot be rehabilitated and I would rather see you off the planet than pay for your continued breathing. I think we could all do with a little less to help make things better for everyone. I think there are crappy people and good people and dumb people and smart people and lazy asses and hard workers from every possible political stance, class, race, and culture.

Mostly though, I think that Sponge Bob is now over and it's time to fix dinner.