Ever since various RWDBs slated Best Blog Posts 2006 as a “lefty” benefit partly because it was judged by that notorious lefty Ken Parish, I’ve been idly concerned that perhaps I’ve started lurching in za socialist direction as I got older. As longtime readers of this blog will be aware, I’ve always seen myself as a “centrist”, while acknowledging that any labels of that sort are pretty meaningless on their own. I see myself as socially and economically liberal, but with very slight social democratic influences to the extent necessary to promote equality of opportunity.
That’s why I embarked on Brian Palmer’s Australian Politics Quiz over at OzPolitics with a certain amount of interest. There have been quite a few of these quizzes on the interwebs over the last few years, but most have been either American or British, or very amateurishly designed. Brian’s quiz strikes me as a fairly respectable effort. Try it for yourself. My results were basically in accord with my self-assessment:
Your broad political orientation score is 13.5%, which equates to a ‘Centre’ position
Your economic policy score score is 37.8%. This equates to a ‘Centre Right’ position
Your social policy score is 41.4%. This equates to a ‘Centre Right’ position
Your traditional values score is -50.7%. This equates to a ‘Left’ position
The party political evaluation aspect of the quiz strikes me as more problematic, and probably needs more tweaking by Brian. I show up as a strong Liberal voter, whereas in fact I’ve only even voted Liberal once in my life. The programming seems to assume that people who are both socially and economically liberal (like me) would be Liberal voters. However, John Howard is very much a social conservative and, as Andrew Norton has pointed out recently, just as “tax and spend”-oriented as the ALP. Why in those circumstances would I vote Liberal? I may well do so once Costello or Turnbull or even Nelson are in charge, because any one of them would probably be more socially liberal than either John Howard or Kevin Rudd (as far as one can tell).
I also notice that I show up as a stronger Liberal voter than Jason Soon! Just shows you: JF Beck was clearly correct about Catallaxy really being a lefty blog.
Here’s how Brian explains each of his categorisations:
Your economic policy score reports the extent to which you think the state should be regulating the economic aspects of our lives. A negative score means you believe the state should, on more issues than not, intervene in the economic lives of its citizens. A positive score means you believe the state should be less interventionist.
Your social policy score reports the extent to which you think the state should be providing services for its citizens and protecting its citizens from making decisions that could be harmful (in social policy areas other than those covered by the traditional values score below). A negative score means you believe the state should, on more issues than not, intervene in the social lives of its citizens as a force for good. A positive score means you believe we are responsible enough to provide for ourselves and run our own lives free from excessive government intervention.
Your traditional values score reports the extent to which you think the state should act to maintain conservative moral standards (for example in respect of abortion, divorce and drug use). A negative score means you believe the state should not overly intervene in the moral lives of its citizens. A positive score indicates you believe the state should intervene on more of these issues than not. A strongly positive score is consistent with the position adopted by the ‘Christian Right’ in Australia.
The traditional values dimension reverses the relationship between the political spectrum and state intervention. In the economic and social dimensions, being left wing equates with higher levels of state intervention. When it comes to traditional values, higher levels of state intervention are associated with right-wing politics.