Political Leanings

Steve Evans and Mathew Parke recently set up a new blog for discussing LDS thought from a liberal perspective. I hope to weigh there as well sometimes.

In the inaugural substantive post, Steve made the interesting observation that even liberal Mormons are pretty conservative in general. Using the imperfect indicator of the online Political Compass test, Steve and I both turned out to be more-or-less left-leaning centrists (as did Steve’s wife Sumer). I’m curious as to how our group of readers places on the spectrum (I’ve seen Russell’s score somewhere on his blog, but I don’t know anyone else’s). And so I invite T & S readers to post their own scores as comments to this thread. A tally will be kept.

Scores so far:

Kaimi Wenger: -1.62 / -2.56
Steve Evans: -4.38 / -1.56
Sumer Evans: -3.25 / 0.26
Mat Parke: -2.50 / -2.00
Karen Hall: -4.68 / -2.62
Clark Goble: -0.12 / -2.31
Gary Cooper: 2.12 / 0.67
Lyle Stamps: 4.12 / 1.18
Ben Spackman: -4.88 / .36
Brayden King: -6.62 / -4.00
Michelle Mumford: 1.00 / -0.92
Gordon Smith: -1.12 / -1.03
Kori: -4.25 / -2.41
Julie Smith: 2.50 / -2.67
Mardell Wenger: 0.62 / 0.36

82 comments for “Political Leanings

  1. I tend to disagree with these sorts of tests. (They always seem fundamentally misleading in some sense)

    My score though was
    Economic Left/Right: -0.12
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.31

  2. Well, as much as I hesitate to do it…I guess I’ll start off the posting coming out of the closet as somewhat more left of center than Kaimi and Steve (although I still consider myself quite a centrist…) My scores: -4.38/-2.62

    I thought I’d be more socially liberally and economically conservative (go free trade!), so I was surprised, but I suppose that my “premarital sex is immoral” attitudes somewhat mitigate against my serious concern for the erosion of civil liberties. Anyone else surprised at their own scores?

  3. Okay, Kaimi. 2.12 economic, 0.67 social libertarian whatever. I don’t like these tests, and I didn’t like how a lot of the questions were phrased, but whatever.

  4. Economic Left/Right: 4.12
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 1.18

    Hm…yet if I use the politopia.com test, I’m a raging “NEO”/libertarian who would be further “south” on the map. Hm…

    I guess I can see that I have alot that I can learn from Karen…we are rather polarized :)

  5. Hmm. Apparently I’m an ecomonic leftist, and a
    tad authoritarian.

    Economic -4.88, .36 authoritarian.

    I didn’t like the way some were phrased…

    How did people get to know themselves before personality quizzes?

  6. The thing I really like about the Political Compass is that it satisfies no one. Liberal (well, more liberal) friends think its some GOP tool, and conservative friends think it must be some left-wing site. So far, the numbers don’t surprise me too bad (except Brayden — man, what happened?? You could be crowned king of our new ultra-liberal blog!)

  7. With the usual carpings about inadequacies of such tests, here are my scores:

    economic left/right: 1.00
    social libertarian/authoritarian: -0.92

    I know some will be surprised, notably Steve, who enjoys likening me to Hitler (who had a +10.0 score on the authoritarian scale).

  8. Michelle,

    I don’t liken you to Hitler — I just like to tease you once in awhile. Come on….

    As for your score, I’m not THAT surprised. I expected most mormons to end up looking pretty similar, despite what this blog indicates at times.

  9. Gee whiz! Talk about loaded questions! This is why I never give multiple choice exams. I wanted to end up somewhere close to the middle (because that’s how I think of myself), and I succeeded pretty well: -1.12, -1.03.

    Just for fun, I retook the test and answered every question in the extreme (“strongly” one way or the other), always favoring the caricatured position of the right, and I got a score of 7.00, 7.64. I was going to do the same for the left, but it looks like Brayden beat me to the punch.

  10. Steve,

    Yeah, since you called Kaimi a Nazi over at your blog I guess it’s not personal, but just your thing.

    P.S. Who’s your favorite Fascist anyway?

  11. Favorite fascist? Yikes. In terms of labelling others, Hitler’s the best. But my personal fav (at least to hate) must be Ezra Pound. Such gifts, squandered in such a strange cause.

    I need to stop labelling people as nazis. In some circles it’s supremely insulting. Amongst us wasps it’s not so bad, but still….

  12. My score shows me as a little more liberal than I think I am. -4.25/-2.41. (I don’t post often, but I read the blog daily).

  13. Economic Left/Right: 2.50
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.67

    Not sure what to conclude . . .

  14. Yeah, I think the reason I scored so high is because I put “strongly” before too many things. It is a little strange though because I did answer some of the questions more moderately.

    If you asked me on the street, I’d say I was a moderate liberal.

  15. Oh, I guess that explains why I usually vote Libertarian and always cringe whenever anyone comments about anything remotely political in Church.

  16. I know it’s passe to complain about that test, but it sure seems to have some weird questions that I don’t find representative of the way I actually think about those issues. On the other hand, it put me about where I would have put myself.

    Economic Left/Right: 7.38
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.44

    My numbers are higher than most people’s. I guess that means I’m in the running for our resident extremist libertarian nut case.

  17. Economic Left/Right: 3.75
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 1.08

    I agree, it is difficult to really answer some of these questions in a way that accurately reflects my real opinion, especially as many of these issues are complex.

  18. Russell’s comment was also interesting: “almost everybody, when put to the test, expresses libertarian rather than communitarian sympathies”. I’d like to believe that’s true, but I don’t think the results on T&S thus far show that tendency.

    It is, of course, a frustrating test because it asks you to agree/disagree with notions expressed in ways you’d greatly like to clarify. A lot of them find you saying at the screen, “yes, but it’s not like that at all!” Which is telling both as to the difficulty of generating such a survey, as to the difficulty of formulating complex ideas.

  19. I must preface my post with a little background. I have been lurking and do not know if I have ever posted.
    I am an “active” member of the Church and currently serve on a high council.

    I scored -4.12 and -5.12.

    If my Stake President sees this, am I as good as gone?? Interesting self reflection.

  20. I agree with Steve’s last comment that I would have prefered some clarification on some of the questions, or at least a “neutral” category, but I ended up with a 1.25 and -3.18.

    Not too suprising for me.

  21. Steve: I think Russell’s comment, (i don’t knwo the context though) makes sense.

    If the gospel is true, we all lived before this life; and even w/o any memory thereof; it seems like liberty/agency is one of our most prized personal possessions, i.e.:

    there seems to be a social translation of newton’s law: for each and every attempt to use force against an individual’s agency, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

    sure…the above isn’t 100% predictive; but agency defies prediction (unless you are God).

  22. I just did a quick check: so far it looks like I’m the farthest right economically (even farther than Gordon’s caricature — yikes!), and the third most socially libertarian. No wonder I’ve been able to annoy both Brayden and Matt.

  23. Okay I bent to the lure of the test for T&S. My score reflects why I can’t stand satistical analysis:

    Economic left/right: -4.12,
    Social Libertarian.Authoritarian: -1.59

    The questions are too black and white, and will produce scores to meet the needs of the scorers. I am very conservative with, I suppose, Libertarian under pinnings. There are beliefs I have that don’t work in society for the simple reason of freedom. For instance – the question on land ownership. I don’t think land should be bought and sold as a commodity. I love that I now own a sizeable chunk of land however, I really deep down inside beleive that everyone should have the opportunity for land or home ownership. When we see the amount of property owned even by the Queen of England in this country it is appalling.

    And then there is the porn question: I don’t think anyone should have access to it. However, I don’t think we have the right to tell adults what they can and can’t read.

    So I guess in the end I sort of a walking dichotomy. That’s why I can’t stand simple black and white questioning. There is always more to the question and the answer.

  24. Hal, please report to the Stake President’s office following your meetings today. Bring a switch from a young green willow tree.

    Cooper, the idea of a walking dichotomy is near and dear to my heart. I believe most mormons are that way — we have drawn certain moral lines in the sand but they sometimes intersect! Your stance towards pr0n, for example, makes complete sense to me even though it is self-contradicting.

  25. That quiz was so ridiculous, I couldn’t get past the first question (should we benefit trans-national corporations or humanity? some choice!)

    Anyway, I’ve found some other political quizes you might enjoy.

    The World’s Smallest Political Quiz is so short, it trys to figure out whether or not you’re a social conservative without mentioning abortion, gay marriage, or the family: http://www.self-gov.org/quiz.html

    The Political Quiz Show is fairly good, though it’s only a 1-D test: http://www.madrabbit.net/webrabbit/quizshow.html

    For a test that does not even attempt to appear unbiased, check out Liberty or Tyranny: Where do you stand? at http://www.quiz2d.com/

    The Politopia Quiz has a sense of humor, though it’s skewed in favor of libertarianism (actually, almost all these quiz sites are run by libertarians, and it shows).

    And for the world’s greatest political quiz, check out the aptly-named World’s Greatest Political Quiz at http://www.boogieonline.com/revolution/politics/humor/quiz.html

  26. Well on the economic left/ right level: -1.50
    On the social libertarian/ authoritarion: -0.41

    The problem with many of these quizes is that they have very finite and specific situations that are to be applied equally to broad generalization of the issue at hand.
    The above score was recieved answering the questions at face value but there are questions which my personal opinion was not reflected. I went back and took the test again, choosing my answer based on some of the more abstract ideas of the issues, in my opinion.
    This was my new score:
    Economic Left/Right: 0.25
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 2.31
    I figure realistically I fall somewhere in the middle.

  27. Economic Left/Right: 2.75
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 4.51

    About a third to a half of the questions didn’t make any sense to me, given my presuppositions.

  28. My, my, my, here are my results:

    Economic Left/Right: 4
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.03

    Logan, Julie, Michelle… We are definitely outnumbered here… How can it be that so few people are economically right and socially libertarian?

    To tell you the truth, my numbers could be even higher in the directions they are. Call it the “peacemaker” in me, but generally it can be hard for me to put “strongly agree” or “strongly disagree”.

    So Logan, does that make me your slightly-less-extreme-resident-extremist-libertarian-nut-case sidekick?

  29. Economic Left/Right: 7.50
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.59

    I’m suprised that I’m that far right economically. I did expect to be that high of a libertarian, though.

    I’m also suprised that more people aren’t Economic Right and Social Libertarian here.

  30. I’m surprised we haven’t heard from two of my favorite bloggers here. Nate, Kristine, where are you? Or is it against your very nature to take such a test?

  31. Quoting Russell:

    “And then the test makes me feel even better by telling me that if I happen to believe that social cohesion and personal happiness requires a defense of both economic equality and civic morality, then I must be cut from the same cloth as Vladimir Lenin. Delightful.”

    Economic Left/Right: -6.5
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 0.67

    I think that Russell hit the nail on the head. Economic equality and civic morality. That’s what I’m about. At least until I have to start paying real taxes…

  32. Um, I took it. It will probably surprise no one that my scores were quite liberal; I’m actually scared to post the numbers for fear that more conservative readers would henceforth dismiss everything I say out of hand (if they don’t already ;) )

  33. “At least until I have to start paying real taxes…”

    Sci, that’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all day. BTW- What exactly do people mean when they say “economic equality”?

  34. Come now, Kristine, don’t be shy… If it makes you feel any better, there have been many an occasion in which I’ve thought of you as conservative…

  35. Bob, Kristine apparently took the test but didn’t want to disclose her numbers. See the comments at By Common Consent (http://rameumptom.blogspot.com/ , apologies for the self-promotion). I sympathize with her when she says that it’s hard to find a place to fit in. She’s not alone in her loneliness.

  36. Kristine:

    Ah…come on. I posted mine! And if you will note, it appears there are really only about 3.5-4.5 conservatives on this blog. Once again the liberal non-media rules! ;)

    Nate probably is letting his words speak for himself…but i don’t mind ratting him out as being funding by IHS, i.e. the types who created politopia.com.

  37. Come on Kristine, join me in baring your true colors to the group. It’s somewhat liberating, and perhaps there are safety in numbers. Quite frankly, more liberals on here than I thought.

    Just so you can all get your kicks out of the internet political quizzes, I recommend the test on http://www.loveinwar.com. Warning though, if you have no sense of humor, might tick you off a bit….

  38. Okay, new poster here. My stats, if you please.

    Economic Left/Right: 6.62
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 2.31

  39. Welcome, Thom. I notice that you scored exactly the same as Brayden on economics … but in the other direction! You, Jan, and Logan might want to talk.

  40. Kristine,
    I hesitated about posting my score for the same reason, but I went ahead because I realized this is a gimmick test which doesn’t mean a lot. Right? right?

  41. I took it twice, just to see how much I’d waffle–there were so many answers that I didn’t feel strongly about, or could answer in self-contradictory ways.

    economic: -6.92/-6.88

  42. In the interest of being part of the club and not sure that my scores wouldn’t change significantly if I took this test again in a few minutes, I post my results: -3.12/-4.72.

  43. Economic Left/Right: -4.88
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.59

    Haven now taken the test, Kristine, I am duly impressed.

  44. Okay, I doubt anyone really cares, but I didn’t think my initial test scores adequately reflected my self-identified libertarian streak, so I retook the test. This time I didn’t mentally qualify my responses so much, and really let my true feelings be known. However, my scores didn’t end up changing very much, and it didn’t move me into the libertarian quadrant at all. I guess one cannot think marijuana and pornography should be illegal and officially qualify as a libertarian. Oh well.

    My new scores below. The previous scores can be disregarded I suppose.

    Economic Left/Right: 7.75
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 1.44

  45. Economic Left/Right: -2.25
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.77

    I think this explains why I have a hard time finding candidates to vote for. Democrats are too socially liberal and want to put too much in the hands of the state; Republicans are to socially conservative (in some ways) and aren’t willing to police business as much as I’d like.

    I kind of echo Thom, here. I’m sympathetic to the Libertarian view, except I find that there are certain things that I think the state should set parameters for — mainly related to the actions of businesses and to harmful substances.

  46. Kristine inspired me to try again. My new scores:

    Economic Left/Right: -0.38
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 4.15

    Here’s my old score:

    Economic Left/Right: 2.75
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 4.51

    I’m not sure why my economic score changed as much as it did. Maybe I need a new pep talk from Nate. My authoritarian score didn’t change much at all. Guess I’m going to have to be the brooding Other in this liberal/libertarian love fest. Go ahead and love all you want, just remember: I’m watching you, and I’m . . . brooding.

  47. For most of the questions I could think of too many exceptions or interpretations to completely agree or disagree with them. I therefore didn’t use the ‘strongly’ answers very often.

    First score was about 1.5 economic, -1.0 social.

    Then I took it again and answered ‘strongly’ with abandon and went up to about 7.0 economic, -4.0 social.

    Being opinionated counts quite a bit in their book.

  48. You know, as meaningless as this little survey may seem, I find it reassuring that the people I respect the most on this site have similar results.

    Maybe I only like them b/c they are politically similar? Or am I becoming like them out of admiration?

  49. Steve Evans,
    I didn’t harbor any illusions that you respected me, but then again I didn’t know that you didn’t. I would have preferred to preserve that ambiguity.

  50. adam:

    in steve’s defense…he did say “respect the most”; which means that arguably, there is some lesser respect reserved for you.

    i however…don’t feel like i’ve earned it; and enjoy ‘sunshine’ posts that make me aware of it :)

  51. Adam,

    Sorry for my earlier post. I spoke poorly, and certainly didn’t mean to suggest that I didn’t respect anybody who didn’t have scores like mine.

    I’m not sure if/why you’d care, but for what it’s worth I’ve always thought you were well-spoken and intelligent in your posts. I guess for such a stupid quiz, it seems to be having quite an impact. Again, apologies for any offense (at least for this latest gaffe).

  52. Steve Evans,
    Thank you very much. All is mended, all is forgotten, all is right with the world.

  53. Steve,

    Am I mistaken, or is that your second time apologizing to Adam within a week?

    Bob the Vulcan here wanting to officially give Steve a hard time… :-)

  54. Econ left/right: 0.88
    Social auth/lib: -2.82

    On their chart of world leaders, this puts me halfway between Gerhard Schroeder and Nelson Mandela, which makes me want to take the elevator to the roof and end this farce before I sink further into incoherence and anomie.

    On the other hand, my closest T&S scorers seem to be Clark Goble, Julie Smith, and Mardell Wenger. This gives me hope. Stop the elevator.

    PS: The unidentified authors of the quiz do reveal this about themselves: “The idea was developed by a political journalist with a university counselling background, assisted by a professor of social history.” Well, no wonder the economic analysis was so misdirected. A reporter wrote it.

  55. Bob,

    Your dispassionate, logical mind yet shows the capacity for error. It may be my second apology in seven days, but Adam’s only received one so far (and that’s just b/c he sounded hurt and is a flounder of the board).

    As for you, Bob, you’re obviously still harboring resentment over that Vulcan comment, but if you think you’ll wring yet ANOTHER apology out of me, you’re sadly mistaken. That was one of my favorite barbs yet, and I won’t let go of it so easily…

    It’s been a bad week. No more showing weakness by apologizing! Feelings, prepare to get bruised.

  56. Steve wrote:
    “Adam’s only received one so far (and that’s just b/c he sounded hurt and is a flounder of the board).

    What are you saying Steve? Adam is a “flounder” of the board? Are you suggesting that Adam is “floundering” as he participates at T&S? Or maybe you are comparing Adam to a “flounder.” Either way, your comments are really offensive and inappropriate.

    I think another apology to Adam is in order. :)

    Aaron B

  57. I think that Steven should also apologize for the historical injustices suffered by indigenous people everywhere. (I, mean, while he’s at it, you understand…

  58. Aaron, Nate,

    Nice try. I have forsaken apologies for all time. Not even in the repentance process shall I admit my wrongdoing. T&S has caused me to forsake my soul forever!

    p.s. Aaron, check your inbox, Karen sent you an invite.

  59. Steve, your overly emotional, irrational mind also has its fair share of capacity for error. Harboring resentment for the Vulcan comment? Nonsense. I actually liked it when you called me that. I would much rather be a Vulcan than a Klingon, Steve. :-)

    Of course, you must realize that I’m just tempting you here. Don’t come back to me and say something that would require an apology later, for that is my goal.

  60. How absolutely bizarre! I consider myself somewhat libertarian, but this quiz scored me 4.88 Right/1.88 Authoritarian. Maybe I didn’t understand the questions…

  61. Economic -7.12
    Social -6.46

    Will this jeopardize my church membership?
    I’m a social worker…yeah, that explains it.

  62. I’m not sure what to make of this test, though the question sure are interesting. I had taken it previously and my dot was basically right in the very center of the x/y axis. This time around wasn’t really very different. Here are my scores:

    economic leflt/right: +0.38
    social libertarian/authoritarian: -0.31

  63. Yeah, I know this is an old thread, but with danithew I am jumping on the old bandwagon.
    I haven’t taken the test in ages- but I think that I was around the same score as Kori
    around -4 economically and -2 socially.

    I also think the test has it’s flaws, but I like it a whole lot better than most other political quiz type things available on the internet. Also, it is nice to see where every one else scored. I am not overly surprised

  64. Ashleigh, you go girl! I happily cede my position as the reigning lefty lunatic around here to you :)

    I knew I was really a moderate!

  65. Mine were:

    Econ. L/R: -4.00
    Soc. Lib/Auth: -1.74

    I had no “Strongly Agree” & only two “Strongly Disagree.” Thus explaining my extremist moderation. Or my deep commitment to mellow moderation.

  66. Political Leaning
    Well, I don’t think anyone will be suprised by this. I took a political quiz linked over at Times and Seasons. Looks like I’m officially a libertarian whacko. I knew it already, but it’s nice to have it confirmed. Free…

  67. Political Leaning
    Well, I don’t think anyone will be suprised by this. I took a political quiz linked over at Times and Seasons. Looks like I’m officially a libertarian whacko. I knew it already, but it’s nice to have it confirmed. Free…

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