Monday, December 8, 2014

My Political Views (Nick)

[Note: A few of my views have changed since the creation of this post. Nothing so significant that I've needed to edit it, though.]

Introduction

I get thrashed around by idiots for being "liberal" or "leftist" all the time. I usually don't give this kind of criticism the light of day since it's just stupid and polarizing, but recently I've gotten to thinking: what exactly am I? I don't vote (although I should), and if I did vote I wouldn't register as a Democrat or Republican. I have my sympathies, clearly, for some platforms of the Democratic party, but I think that in recent years they've been very slow to actually get work done. They're very cowardly and don't take too much credit for the things they do accomplish. Republicans, on the other hand, are very smart when it comes to playing the political game, but I have less sympathies with their platform and am getting sick of the anti-Obama squeals. So I'm at a standstill.

Since taking up a major in political sciences, my political affiliations have been weak and prone to change from month to month. Coming out of high school I can say I was definitely a Marxist. Between then and the end of my first semester, I identified as libertarian. My second semester, I gave some nationalistic sentiments some credit, but ultimately I most expressly identified with my secularist sympathies. Now I have no idea what I am, so I just call myself an independent, which is most acceptable in academia quite frankly due to the complex nature of politics.

But that's not satisfying, you know? I want to be able to evaluate my positions in a way that's informative to what I really do believe in. Sure in an academic setting, I can call myself unaffiliated and go on a case-by-casis basis, but that's stupid when you're actually talking to someone about your political views.

So I came across this website, and decided I'd give it a shot. The results have been confusing for me, so I've taken the test a total of 3 times, each taking a slightly different approach than before. While I don't entirely agree with the results of any of the tests, I think this should clarify a few things. I'll review the results and approaches I took in each test one by one, and then at the end I'll go over the issues I had with the test itself. I'll try to come to some kind of informative conclusion by the end based on my own analysis of my political views.

Test 1

The first time I took the test, I already knew what questions would be on it, since I let my girlfriend take the test first and explained what a few of the questions meant. I was originally going to reflect on her results here too, but I decided against it since she seemed hesitant. Answering the questions, I kind of just answered as quickly as possible (since it's a 50 question test) based on what initial impression I got from the wording of each question. This of course led to some inaccurate results, but it was my first try:

You are a National Democratic Socialist. 3 percent of the test participators are in the same category and 57 percent are more extremist than you.

This was goddam confusing to me. It described me as nationalistic probably because I said I agreed that criminal foreigners should be deported after serving their sentences and that immigrants aren't always enriching for the host country. I had to consider the political and economic consequences of letting in too many immigrants all at once from any place in the world, and so I couldn't agree at all that it'd be a good thing. Also, by "criminal foreigners" I assumed it meant immigrants who had not received citizenship or permanent residence.

The strong secularism was unsurprising to me, neither was my slight leaning away from authoritarianism (probably remains from my libertarian days) nor my communistic sympathies. I was really surprised though by my relatively high levels of militarism and anthropocentrism. For the latter, all I said was that it's really okay to eat meat, do tests on animals to better human quality of life, and that primates don't deserve the same rights as humans. I hardly consider this anthropocentric, since I'm highly environmentalist in almost every other respect. I just call it common sense, at least for me. For the former, I tend not to support armed aggression, but I did want to be in the military, so I don't know what that means. I have no comments on my slight visionary leanings.

So it described me as a National Democratic Socialist. At first I had this knee-jerk "NAZI!" reaction, but then I remembered I'm an idiot and that's not what that means. 3% of test participators are in the same category as me (shocking) and 57% are more extremist than I am. Holy shit.

Test 2

By the second test, I had thought about some of the questions and realized I answered in the exact opposite way I wanted to. I also gave less room for exceptions (like in the case of immigration) and just took everything for face value without considering the depth of the consequences for certain things. This may or may not have been a good thing, as I'll explain in a bit:
You are a cosmopolitan Social Democrat. 13 percent of the test participators are in the same category and 64 percent are more extremist than you.
So it threw me off of nationalism and sent me to being more cosmopolitan. I think the biggest reason for this was my change to the question about whether or not some countries are better off than others because of their gene pool. As my girlfriend pointed out to me, this could be interpreted to include things like immunity to disease and things of that nature, or maybe environmental adaptivity. On those notions, I partly agreed at first. I changed that to neutral or disagree (I forget which one now) after considering what it probably was asking me.

Again, I showed to be very secular. The 2% change is attributable to the fact that I placed emphasis on one of the secular questions this time around, since I didn't pay any attention to the weighted/unweighted option in my first attempt. On that note, I wish it could've allowed more than 5 emphases. There were a lot of issues I was really passionate about, most of them involving religion.

But the emphatic options ended up placing me even higher in anthropocentrism. Geez, I didn't think I was such a dick. At any rate, that's because this time I said it was really, really okay to eat meat. I love meat. I think everyone should. Who can live without shrimp or sirloins?

My militarism completely went away and threw me into slight pacifism. I have no idea what happened here. I think it's because I changed my opinion on intervening in dictatorial countries that violate human rights from "strongly agree" to "neutral." The whole thing was confusing for me in this respect, so I just decided a third test would shed some more light. My communism decreased while my scores for anarchy and visionary increased slightly. Really not surprising based on the nuance.

This time it said I'm a cosmopolitan Social Democrat. Really, all this means compared to my first label was that before I was a nationalist, now I'm a cosmopolitan. That's pretty easy to understand. This time, 13% of participators got the same category as me. I'm not surprised by this, since it's fashionable in American politics to support human rights, immigration (to some extent), etc. That said, 64% of participators were more extreme. No wonder I hate everyone!

Test 3

I had already decided ahead of time before seeing the results that this would be my last test to clear up any views I had. For questions I didn't entirely understand or I felt were too nuanced to make a general claim about, I just put neutral. I ended up doing this for a lot of questions, which might explain some of the changes here. In addition, I clarified the definitions of words included in some of the questions ahead of time and so prepared for misconceptions I had. They weren't many, but it helped bring some kind of solidarity to my views. I also changed the emphases I used just based on how I was feeling today, and took into account some possible benefits or consequences of things I hadn't considered:

You are a social democratic patriot. 4 percent of the test participators are in the same category and 68 percent are more extremist than you.

I was very, very satisfied with the results that came from this, because I feel like it definitely represents my views (with the exception of anthropocentrism, again, but based on the definition they were using I couldn't disagree). I swapped back to nationalism again, which I guess makes sense since I think that the immigrants we let into our country should either be highly qualified, hard working, or facing some kind of imminent threat. I don't think this conflicts with most people's views, so if that makes me nationalist, then okay.

My secularism increased even more, which was hilarious to me. I hate religion with a passion. It threw me into depression as a kid, suppressed a lot of my thoughts, and sent me in the wrong direction concerning philosophy and science. 62% secularism is an understatement for what I feel; but again, they only let me emphasize 5 points.

Again, slight leanings in the visionary, anarchistic and communistic categories. I understand this, really. I'm very moderate when it comes to economics and political authority, and I like to place equal focus on what we need to change and what we need to keep, but I do try to think of the improvements and developments that need to be made more often just because I take the status quo for granted. The moderation is mostly attributable to the fact that I think technological development, mainly the internet and cell phones, has produced a lot more harm than good, especially for social cohesion and proper development in children. In that case, I support the status quo ante.

It placed me in a more moderate position for militarism, which is more accurate I suppose. I think that interventionist policies should be taken on a strict case-by-case basis, and I concede to the intricate relationship between what a country wants and what it needs. I'm cynical of interventionist programs that are obviously just meant to expand the reach of American influence internationally, but I also concede that we've put ourselves in a state of perpetuity where we can't exactly end that habit without there being severe domestic and international consequences - politically, militarily and economically. It's a tangled web we have woven.

And, of course, my anthropocentrism increased, to which I say "fuck you." I hate humans, but I don't think there's anything wrong with eating meat at all, and if we didn't test animals with various things, how the hell would science progress? I also remained neutral on whether or not we should decrease our quality of living to improve the environment. I don't think we should decrease it per se, but I don't think we should keep imposing ourselves on the environment. We're poking a sleeping bear with a stick by doing so.

My last label is now a "social democratic patriot." My social Democratic alignment has remained, which is unsurprising to me, but now it puts me as a patriot instead of a nationalist or a cosmopolitan. I guess I can agree with that. I'm certainly not a nationalist overall, but I can see a strong sense of patriotism in me all things considered. It's not that I like particularly love my country, but I do love what it means to be a country. 4% of test takers shared my views (I'm such a loner), and a whopping 68% are more extremist than I am. Literally more than 2/3 of the people who took this test are more extreme than I am, yet I get called out for my alleged party politics all the time. That's funny. That's really funny.

Summary

I thought it would be more informative to average out my scores and put them here. Unfortunately I don't give enough of a shit to put it into a pretty graph like the website did, but I can explain it in the same way the graphs did.

1: Between cosmopolitanism and nationalism, I score 10% to the right.
[Here, I'm slightly nationalistic. I'm not opposed to immigration, and I'm fairly culturally aware, but overall I appreciate some sentiments of isolationism and patriotism. That said, I'd say that calling me a patriot is more accurate than calling me a nationalist, and even that's a tiny bit of a stretch.]

2: Between secularism and fundamentalism, I score 59% to the left.
[I'm very secular. I'm an atheist, I hate religion, and I think this score would be through the roof if the test allowed for more emphasis than it did.]

3: Between being visionary or reactionary, I score 11% to the left.
[I appreciate a few sentiments of the status quo ante, but ultimately I pay more attention to what we can change rather than what was already a good thing; although, it could be said that the things I want to "progress" would actually reflect things we've already had at some point in our history.]

4: Between anarchism and authoritarianism, I score 15% to the left.
[I'm cynical of authority in a few cases, and ultimately I support individualism, although I think there are some situations where a greater power needs to intervene, and I don't mean God.]

5: Between communism and capitalism, I score 16% to the left.
[I'm only slightly informed when it comes to economics, but from what I know, I question a lot of the theories purported by the modern right as inherited from Smith. I've self-described as Marxist in the past, but I don't take to that extreme quite so much anymore. I'd say my ideas of the economy would resemble that of Sweden.]

6: Between pacifism and militarism, I score 7% to the right.
[Things need to be determined on a case-by-case basis, and American interventionist policy has never really appealed to me; however, I do think there are some situations where military action is highly justified and needed. I'd say I'm even less than 7% militaristic in this area. I'd cut myself evenly moderate here if I had the choice.]

7: Between being ecological or anthropocentric, I score 39% to the right.
[When it comes to things like eating meat, testing animals and the rights of primates, I'd say this is very accurate; however there are so many factors that were not considered here. For one, I acknowledge the scientific consensus on climate change. I'm also a naturalist in many respects. I think that humankind has been stupid thus far in how much we've tested nature's carrying capacity for us, and soon there's going to be a huge teaching moment for all of us. We need to get back in touch with nature, and we need to stop building homes in places that are going to have a lot of wildfires. Seriously, fucking stop.]

Conclusion

Overall, I thought this test was OK. There are definitely some improvements that could be made on the way the questions are worded, and I think it shouldn't use the questions it did to determine whether or not one is anthropocentric or ecological; and no, I don't mean to include a question about GMOs. Just ask me how I feel about global warming and the environment, and the results will quickly change.

I also, again, wish it gave me more than 5 questions to place emphasis on. I don't see why they needed to place a limitation in the first place. I think I could deal with 10, though, if a limit is absolutely necessary.

Someone in the forum on the website said they thought the results overemphasized leftism in many respects, and that they thought the test was designed by leftists to make people think they're more leftist than they actually are so they'll convert. While I think the latter half of their critique was batshit insane, I do agree that it did too much emphasizing for me. This wasn't exclusive to leftism, though, since I think it overstated how anthropocentric I am, as well as how nationalistic I am. I think the gene pool question should be elaborated on, and I think it should maybe have more than 50 questions. I'm thinking 100 would be solid, but really any number greater than 60 would do.

So, there you all have it. These are my political views, as explained by a test and myself. Now fuck off.


5 comments:

  1. Lols loved that last bit with pic

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just took the test (only once, though):

    "You are a neoliberal Democrat. 6 percent of the test participators are in the same category and 71 percent are more extremist than you."

    Literally the only thing I scored right on was communistic/capitalistic, which was a meager 3%. The thing is, I answered the questions for anthropocentrism similarly to you, except just not as extreme, and yet I got 12% ecological. Que?

    I disagree with its dichotomy between anarchism and authoritarianism. While anarchy is traditionally a left-wing ideology, I think that my support of individualism and opposition to authoritarianism is a lot more conservative. When it asked me those types of questions, I thought of Orwell, and I opposed anything I saw as being authoritarian. I can't comprehend how that's leftist in any way, shape or form.

    So, I agree with it characterizing me as cosmopolitan (15%), secular (50%), pacificistic (14%) and ecological (12%). I disagree with it calling me anarchist (36%), visionary (24%) and capitalistic (3%). I'd say that my anarchistic ideals are much more right-wing than they are left. I'm also by no means a visionary -- in fact, I emphasized that technological development has done more harm than good. I'm also ready to admit I'm more communistic than capitalistic. You're right that this test overemphasizes liberal leanings.

    I'd be curious to see what certain others score on this test.

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