The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America


Political Compass Online Test

Submitted by Jim Aune on November 11, 2006 - 8:00am

Take this test, if you have a spare moment. It might be useful in rhetoric classes, if you're discussing political ideologies. (I always view my first task in discussing politics with students as breaking down the liberal/conservative binary). (I'm--no surprise there--in the lower left quadrant, as an economic collectivist libertarian).

Submitted by Adria on November 11, 2006 - 7:03pm.

I was told I need to be more decisive about where I stand politically before I try to figure out where I stand theoretically in my research, so this was an interesting exercise for me.

I'm way lower-left quadrant too. (my numbers on the graph, to be exact: Economic Left/Right: -7.50; Social Libertarian/ Authoritarian: -6.87)

Thanks for posting, Jim.

Submitted by rhosa (not verified) on November 13, 2006 - 5:53pm.

Economic Left/Right: -7.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.44

now -- and not esp bc of my "results" -- it's time to take the thing apart.

Submitted by rhosa (not verified) on November 11, 2006 - 10:23pm.

you were told???

ah, say more about the "tellers", adria!!

how i long for the consolation of imperatives!

Submitted by Jim Aune on November 12, 2006 - 1:15pm.

What the compass test doesn't get at is what might be called a "pragmatism" index. If Mercieca doesn't smack me for bringing up Nader again, one's vote in 2000 would be a good test, or, for that matter, a vote for Casey in 2006 in PA (an otherwise solid liberal democrat who is Catholic and pro-life). To what extent are you willing to make deals with the devil? I think that purity and sainthood (as Orwell said) are traits human beings should avoid. But people I respect differ.

In the US context, you and I, Adria, are social democrats in terms of economics (with perhaps ambiguity on economic nationalism, free/fair trade), and then liberal/libertarian on the political-theoretic liberal-communitarian continuum (with communitarians, a la European social democracy, more likely to restrict "speech" perceived as social divisive--or, as Lucaites put it a little while ago, a "civic republican" view). Now, does that mean that you or I would move either right or left in a particular political conjuncture--yes. We are not in a revolutionary situation in the US. If we ever are, I'll be the first one on the barricades, singing Ca Ira. . . .

Submitted by Adria on November 11, 2006 - 10:54pm.

You know that pesky binary between philosophy and civic engagement that Plato gave Western thinking? As a (novice) rhetorician, and as a *lover* of the Sophists (shout out to Barry Brummett and the Rhet. Theory class this semester), I am attracted to the union of wisdom and eloquence, thinking and doing, philosophy and rhetoric.

But can you find such a union if you are sitting alone off in the corner somewhere quietly thinking about things? In my readings, I often have the tendency to be a sponge. What Emerson would call the bookworm. I find myself so in love with ideas that I like to absorb each one, wiggle around with it, and then try to live with it all somehow. I think perhaps what mentors are trying to encourage me to do is to find my voice. Being a sponge is all well and good, but what is to be done? Perhaps some of this voice in my writing will only come once I figure out how I organize the world (Unfortunately, thanks to Jim, I now officially label myself an extreme-libertarian, which then provokes some damn annoying dissonance with critical theory approaches, to which I am consistently drawn).

What says you? Does one's theoretical preferences in the study of rhetoric develop from one's political orientation?

Submitted by Jim Aune on November 11, 2006 - 7:21pm.

I was -7.00 on Economic left/right, social libertarian/authoritarian -5.49

so I'm slightly to the left of you economically, and slightly more libertarian.

Submitted by Adria on November 11, 2006 - 10:26pm.

Actually, good sir, I must inform you that I am the more left of the two of us. Least you misread, a
-7.50 and a -6.87
would be FURTHER left and FURTHER down than a -7 and a -5.49, dear friend. Hence I am MORE left and Libertarian than YOU. (maybe it's me? maybe it's UT? maybe it's mabelline?)

Do I get a cookie? Or a fifteenth bumper sticker about oil, Bush or abortion?



Submitted by Jim Aune on November 11, 2006 - 10:57pm.

I repent in dust and ashes. . . those negative numbers always got me in trouble in analytic geometry. . .

Submitted by rhosa (not verified) on November 11, 2006 - 9:28am.

one of the students in my Literary Public Spheres class this semester (and a nanotech biology major!), suggested "The Political Compass" to us back in September when we were reading Nafisi's READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN, a memoir that also urges readers past reductive binaries of "liberal" and "conservative". thanks for the reminder -- and the poetry -- jimjames. hypotacticallee,

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