20.11.09

Contents

For a statement on why I have developed the Political Objectives Test go here

To take the test at HelloQuizzy go here (HelloQuizzy and OKCupid are different facades for the same web service) or hit the link at the top-right corner of this site. Or to self-score go here.

For explanations of the terminology I use and expanded discussion of what they mean go here.

For the findings of my survey of test-takers - finally presented now - go here.

For a way of representing the relationships between descriptions graphically go here.

For a short discussion on 'internationals' also go here.

For a statement of personal political bias also go here.

And finally to comment on any aspect of this test go here. If you want to share with me your test result then remember to tell me your three percentage scores as well as your overall category label.

Political Objectives Test Copyright © 2006-2016 D S Berk.

26.5.07

Welcome

The introduction to the Political Objectives Test at the amusements site OKCupid says:

Most politics tests assess your opinions on a collection of controversial issues and then allocate a political label to you that best corresponds to that set of opinions. But you may have arrived at that particular set of opinions by happenstance rather than as the result of applying a particular political philosophy. This test allocates labels to you on the basis of your response to particular philosophical statements. The assumption behind this test is that the three most important objectives of all-issues political movements in the modern era have been Equality and Liberty and Stability. Your varying levels of commitment to these will determine your philosophical category (what you do in practice may be different). As much as is practical this test uses the universal definitions of political terms rather than any nation-specific useage.

The purpose of the test is to challenge assumptions that political philosophy can ever be so simplistic as to fit onto the ‘left versus right’ scale. The test also makes an effort to show that politics can be assessed on the basis of philosophical considerations rather than just from studying an arbitrary collection of convictions on particular ‘issues’. My assertion is that if one assesses political philosophy rather than issues then one can get away with using fewer questions yet still get an accurate answer.

I have always been interested in comparing and contrasting different kinds of ideology. It is a long time since I did honours in political history but the subject still fascinates me and so I have worked on this test concept as a personal interest.

The concept for this test arose from a conversation I once had in which I was saying that sometimes different political movements can advocate the same policy but have different motivations for such advocacy. I cited the case of welfare: A socialist may support welfare for the sake of minimising poverty and the gap between rich and poor. However a liberal may support welfare as a way of facilitating the empowerment of someone to then make life decisions for themselves. Finally a conservative may support welfare for the sake of bolstering particular institutions such as the nuclear family. It was from such a conversation that I came to recognise that it is philosophical motives rather than the policy actions that separate different forms of politics.

Giving test-takers a label is only the start of the process however. We are all interested in understanding ourselves which is why on-line tests are so popular. But we also can be interested in how others think and feel and that is the ultimate purpose of the Political Objectives Test. Browse this site. Compare your results with those of others. Consider both similarity and difference. Think of all the shifting and changing alliances that characterize politics and how much we are sold short by notions of ‘The Left’ and ‘The Right’.

The test - like any simplification of human life - is of limited use. It very much rests within a modernist conception of political philosophy and so there are some matters for which it has nothing to say. Those issues which many elevate to ideological divides include environmental preservation versus development, secular society versus theocracy, and 'hawks versus doves'. They may well be superimposed onto the many positions described by this test however.

To explore the rest of this site go here.

Political Objectives Test Copyright © 2006-2016 D S Berk.

21.4.07

Apathetic

Your lack of consistent commitment towards any of the three principles suggests that you have an apathetic disposition towards politics. You may only take an interest in politics if something directly affects you and any positions you take on issues may well be formed haphazardly. You may have difficulty understanding why others are committed to a particular political philosophy. You will have opinions but they may contradict one another and may even arise from your frustrations with politics.

On the other hand you may be more skeptical than apathetic and be wary of an overly narrow commitment to any one principle. If that is so then you are much more like the Moderate.

Scores: Stability (0-50%) Liberty (0-50%) Equality (0-50%)

Liberal

You think liberty is important both for yourself and for all of humanity. You respect others and think it is important that everyone be given the opportunity to make decisions for themselves rather than have authority figures tell them what is best. The autonomy of every person is important to you but you think there are times in which personal action needs to be limited. As such you recognise that there is a role for government as long as it depends on the consent of the governed – this makes parliamentary democracy important to you.

You prefer the role of government in economics and society to be small. In practice you will tolerate public sector activity as long as it is efficient and allows you to get on with your life. You are likely to advocate for both a predominantly free-market economy and a cosmopolitan and permissive culture.

For information on liberal political parties worldwide see here (but note that this international also includes Progressive and Moderate and Establishmentarian parties). If this is too bland for you then try the Libertarian on for size.

Scores: Stability (0-50%) Liberty (51-85%) Equality (0-50%)

Progressive

Your commitment to both liberty and equality makes you a blend of the Liberal and the Socialist. For you liberty and equality are two parts of the same condition. Everyone has to be free to pursue their own way-of-life but in order for that to happen everyone must start with a similar basic standard of living.

You value liberty particularly in cultural and personal life. You also value government intervention to promote equity in economic life while still supporting private enterprise. If this is too bland for you then try the Radical on for size.

Scores: Stability (0-50%) Liberty (51-85%) Equality (51-85%)

Socialist

You think that equality is important for a society. Society cannot be an inclusive association till equality for all is achieved. You feel that this must extend beyond legal and political equality to include equity in economics. As such you advocate for both equality-of-opportunity and the redistribution of what you consider to be excessive income and assets. This can be done directly by use of taxes and welfare or indirectly by public provision of vital services. In this way you hope to reduce or even eliminate poverty.

You regard government as a vital tool in implementing these reforms but accept that government cannot do more than society allows it to and so you work within the confines of parliamentary democracy. You are likely to want a predominantly interventionist economy. You tend to prefer a cosmopolitan and permissive culture but find that it can frustrate the solidarity so important to your movement.

For information on socialist political parties worldwide see here (but note that this international also includes Progressive and Moderate and Communitarian parties). If this is too bland for you then try the Utopian Socialist on for size.

Scores: Stability (0-50%) Liberty (0-50%) Equality (51-85%)

Communitarian

Your commitment to both equality and stability makes you a blend of the Socialist and the Conservative. This combination may seem unusual but consider the way in which both think loyalty to community takes priority over loyalty to oneself.

You recognise the value of traditional culture and institutions. You also value government intervention in the economy. You hope that a combination of traditional values and interventionist economics will protect your way of life. You are concerned that the twin forces of free markets and permissive culture promote selfishness and erode community standards. If this is too bland for you then try the Authoritarian on for size.

Scores: Stability (51-85%) Liberty (0-50%) Equality (51-85%)

Conservative

You think stability is important for a society. You feel that ‘change for the sake of change’ is stupid and that political changes need to be limited to only those things that are demonstrably necessary. The traditional institutions of society have ‘stood the test of time’ and therefore work better than untested proposals. The most important institution is the family which you consider to be the fundamental unit of any society.

Another institution you value is government and you recognise parliamentary democracy as a useful way of ensuring that only incremental change occurs. You are likely to embrace traditional culture. You tend to prefer a predominantly free-market economy but only to the extent that it can be accommodated by traditional cultural – some of the products of a free-market like advertising and conspicuous consumption are way too crass for your liking.

For information on conservative political parties worldwide see here (but note that this international also includes Establishmentarian and Moderate and Communitarian parties). If this is too bland for you then try the Ultra-Conservative on for size.

Scores: Stability (51-85%) Liberty (0-50%) Equality (0-50%)

Establishmentarian

Your commitment to both liberty and stability makes you a blend of the Conservative and the Liberal. You are keen on notions of the person who is ambitious yet well-behaved - it is this kind of person who makes things tick and keeps things running.

You value liberty particularly in economic life and embrace private enterprise. You also recognise the value of traditional culture and institutions. Occasionally your economic and cultural positions may clash but in general you will find practical ways to reconcile them. If this is too bland for you then try the Reactionary on for size.

Scores: Stability (51-85%) Liberty (51-85%) Equality (0-50%)

Moderate

You feel that all three principles are important. You take some interest in politics and definitely have opinions. However those opinions may be formed on a case-by-case basis because you lack an overriding commitment to any of the principles. You may sometimes get confused by complex political issues because you can be persuaded by different arguments.

Moderates like yourself are important in mediating between others in a parliamentary democracy. If you get involved in politics then you may well be working alongside the pragmatists among Conservatives or Liberals or Socialists depending on your inclinations and circumstances.

Score: Stability (51-85%) Liberty (51-85%) Equality (51-85%)

Libertarian or Reactionary

Your pronounced commitment to liberty may well make you a Libertarian. However you also are supportive of stability and may be more of a Reactionary. Take a look at both and decide which description fits you best.

Score: Stability (51-85%) Liberty (86-100%) Equality (0-50%)

Libertarian

Your level of commitment to liberty is like that of the Anarchist but your recognition of other principles makes you more like the Liberal in practice. For you if someone has liberty then they can win other things like equality or stability for themselves.

The only role for government that you accept is the enforcing of laws to preserve your person and property from criminal acts. All other activity is best left to persons working alone or collaboratively for their own benefit.

Score: Stability (51-85%) Liberty (86-100%) Equality (50-85%)

Libertarian or Radical

Your pronounced commitment to liberty may well make you a Libertarian. However you also are supportive of equality and may be more of a Radical. Take a look at both and decide which description fits you best.

Score: Stability (0-50%) Liberty (86-100%) Equality (51-85%)

Radical

Your level of commitment to both liberty and equality is like that of the Revolutionary but your recognition of other principles makes you more like the Progressive in practice.

Your way-of-life cannot accommodate the commitments of a full-time insurrectionist but you are keen to lend your spare time to all kinds of subversive behaviour. Besides which all those occupations and pickets can be lots of fun. In your own life you try to model alternative ways of living.

Score: Stability (50-85%) Liberty (86-100%) Equality (86-100%)

Utopian Socialist or Radical

Your pronounced commitment to equality may well make you a Utopian Socialist. However you also are supportive of liberty and may be more of a Radical. Take a look at both and decide which description fits you best.

Score: Stability (0-50%) Liberty (51-85%) Equality (86-100%)

Utopian Socialist

Your level of commitment to equality is like that of the Communist but your recognition of other principles makes you more like the garden-variety Socialist in practice.

The society posited by communists excites you but the methods they endorse scare you. On the other hand you accept the reformist methodology of socialists but find they are far too prepared to compromise with others. You spend time lamenting the ills of the world while begrudgingly accepting the way things are. You enjoy discussing how to improve the world but are stumped by the implementation.

Score: Stability (50-85%) Liberty (51-85%) Equality (86-100%)

Utopian Socialist or Authoritarian

Your pronounced commitment to equality may well make you a Utopian Socialist. However you also are supportive of stability and may be more of an Authoritarian. Take a look at both and decide which description fits you best.

Score: Stability (51-85%) Liberty (0-50%) Equality (86-100%)

Authoritarian

Your level of commitment to both equality and stability is like that of the Totalitarian but your recognition of other principles makes you more like the Communitarian in practice.

You think totalitarians are oppressive but at the same time wish moral and ethical standards were more strongly enforced. We definitely need to improve values in our overly decadent society. Belonging to community groups (anything from guilds to churches) can promote standards and such groups should participate in government decision-making. Discipline in the young will be improved by compulsory national service and local community work.

Score: Stability (86-100%) Liberty (51-85%) Equality (86-100%)

Ultra-Conservative or Authoritarian

Your pronounced commitment to stability may well make you an Ultra-Conservative. However you also are supportive of equality and may be more of an Authoritarian. Take a look at both and decide which description fits you best.

Score: Stability (86-100%) Liberty (0-50%) Equality (51-85%)

Ultra-Conservative

Your level of commitment to stability is like that of the Fascist but your recognition of other principles makes you more like the garden-variety Conservative in practice.

The implications of fascism scare you but at the same time you feel that conservatives are far too prepared to compromise with others. You feel that ‘life back in my day’ was better than now (even if you are too young to say that) and think that far too many things change too quickly. You usually find comfort in the routine and familiar.

Score: Stability (86-100%) Liberty (51-85%) Equality (51-85%)

Ultra-Conservative or Reactionary

Your pronounced commitment to stability may well make you an Ultra-Conservative. However you also are supportive of liberty and may be more of a Reactionary. Take a look at both and decide which description fits you best.

Score: Stability (86-100%) Liberty (50-85%) Equality (0-50%)

Reactionary

Your level of commitment to both liberty and stability is like that of the Survivalist but your recognition of other principles makes you more like the Establishmentarian in practice.

You just want to get on with your life free from the interference of others. You get annoyed every time political changes come to your attention and if it annoys you a lot you may take action to tell others how you feel. You should get a 'My Home Is My Castle' picture to hang over your mantlepiece, along with a national flag on the front lawn, a 'Beware Dog' warning on the side gate, an 'Unsolicited Mail Will Result in Prosecution' label on your letterbox, and a 'Welcome' mat at the front door.

Score: Stability (86-100%) Liberty (86-100%) Equality (51-85%)

Confused Extremist

The only thing that unites your responses to this test is an intensity of conviction. You hold to a set of divergent principles which frequently clash. The only way you can take firm positions on issues is to selectively overlook aspects of your principles. This can make for a very erratic set of opinions.

You may get angry with others if they comment on your lack of consistency. You may just get angry at all the conflict in your political mind and then project this anger onto the entire world. If you are involved in politics then chances are you have a history of migrating from one political movement to another and never finding a lasting political home.

Score: Stability (86-100%) Liberty (86-100%) Equality (86-100%)

Anarchist

Liberty is so overwhelmingly important to you that you wish to eliminate anything that can interfere with it. The number one target of your outrage is ‘The State’ (all government + bureaucracy + military) but other forces that may quash freedom (corporations or religions or even family) are also subject to your ridicule. If you have the right personality then you may participate in anarchist actions to remove all these oppressive institutions. You may advocate violent revolution but you are more likely to recognise that violence is itself the product of oppression and reject it in favour of non-violent resistance.

You think that every person is sovereign unto themselves but you also recognise that it is natural for us to want to interact with others. However every relationship must be totally consensual. The preferred model for you is the group in which everyone willingly participates in decision-making and in which all economic and cultural interactions are freely made or terminated. If this is all a bit much for you then try the Libertarian on for size. And for related forms of politics see Revolutionary and Survivalist.

Score: Stability (0-50%) Liberty (86-100%) Equality (0-50%)

Revolutionary

Your overwhelming attachment to both liberty and equality makes you a blend of the Anarchist and the Communist and you may call yourself both. Others may see revolution as a useful tool but for you it must be a constant phenomenon. Concentrations of power form in a stagnant world and so it is necessary to always be challenging inertia in society and in oneself.

You are likely to think that other communists are gravely mistaken in regarding the state as useful. And you think other anarchists are overly egocentric – sometimes you have got to commit to your fellows and your cause till the very end. If this is all a bit much for you then try the Radical on for size.

Score: Stability (0-50%) Liberty (86-100%) Equality (86-100%)

Communist

Equality is so overwhelmingly important to you that only full equality-of-outcome in the economic life of all will satisfy you. The only way to ensure this happens is with a government that has the power to command all aspects of the economy. Government must fix all wages and prices rather than letting producers and consumers negotiate that for themselves. All major industry must be owned communally (with the government operating it on behalf of society).

Establishing such a regime will be incredibly difficult given all the powerful vested interests opposed to it. Chances are it will take violent revolution if you are prepared to do that. If you ever do succeed it will be at significant personal cost to yourself and your comrades. Therefore you would defend your new regime with ardour and conviction. Anyone expressing reservations will be regarded as a danger and repressed so that they cannot jeopardise everything you have strived for.

You may think that the notion of a cosmopolitan and permissive society is nice but in practice such a society is fragmented and can direct loyalty into small groups and away from society as a whole. As such cultural diversity must be very carefully monitored and restricted if necessary. If this is all a bit much for you then try the Utopian Socialist on for size. And for related forms of politics see Totalitarian and Revolutionary.

Score: Stability (0-50%) Liberty (0-50%) Equality (86-100%)

Totalitarian

Your overwhelming attachment to both equality and stability makes you a blend of the Communist and the Fascist. Some of the most well-known communists and fascists were in fact totalitarians. For you the only way that a society can be truly unified is if everyone is pretty much the same.

Uniformity is vital for a strong society and anyone deviating from that cannot be tolerated. The kind of regime you will feel at home in is one in which all of society is structured along military lines. It feels satisfying to be given directives by those who are better qualified to make decisions than yourself! If this is all a bit much for you then try the Authoritarian on for size.

Score: Stability (86-100%) Liberty (0-50%) Equality (86-100%)

Fascist

Stability is so overwhelmingly important to you that you wish to return to an era that may never have existed exactly as you imagine it. You may be prepared to support some very drastic action to preserve or revive traditions and institutions that make you feel safe and secure. For you a sense of belonging is very important and you can get passionately romantic about ‘the land in which our ancestors lie’.

Government in the hands of your opponents is something to be scared of but government in the hands of those you trust can be something to cherish. Under such a government you will feel as if you belong to one big family that embraces everyone. However you will be very wary of anyone who is excluded by that ‘family’ and may need to report disloyal behaviour to the government. This you can conveniently do as they have an agent stationed in every neighbourhood!

You cherish your traditional culture but in some cases it may need to be reinterpreted to better serve the regime. You tend to value private-enterprise but feel that some government intervention in economics is needed to preserve your orderly way-of-life. If this is all a bit much for you then try the Ultra-Conservative on for size. And for related forms of politics see Totalitarian and Survivalist.

Score: Stability (86-100%) Liberty (0-50%) Equality (0-50%)

Survivalist

Your overwhelming attachment to both liberty and stability makes you a blend of the Anarchist and the Fascist. You resent any and all concentrations of power greater than your own. You wish to defend those closest to you from a world dominated by perceived governmental conspiracy.

What you most want to do is get your family and friends together and go live in some isolated compound in the hills. There you will grow your own food and stockpile guns. Once that is done you can keep a hostile world at bay and live life as it was supposed to be lived. If this is all a bit much for you then try the Reactionary on for size.

Score: Stability (86-100%) Liberty (86-100%) Equality (0-50%)

Self-Scoring Test

You can calculate your test results yourself rather than using the automated test hosted at OKCupid (a site with content some may object to). Everyone starts with a score of 50% in each of Equality and Liberty and Stability. Selecting particular statements alters those scores as described here...

1. Equality (The Basics)

Select the statement which appeals most to you. If none of them appeal then move onto the next question.

“Everyone has to be equal in both cultural status and economic standing if they are to have a decent life. A society lacking such equality will be fractured into disparate and rival classes.”

Alters Equality Score by +14%

“Equality needs to be promoted among all members of society. Everyone has to be equal in legal and political rights. Also differences in economic standing must be minimised as much as is practical.”

Alters Equality Score by +7%

“We need to stress that the only equality that matters in economics is equality of opportunity. Everyone deserves the chance to make a livelihood for themselves.”

Alters Equality Score by -7%

“Equality is an empty concept. How can everyone be equal if everyone is different? Everyone has conflicting desires that they will do anything to win. You have to defend yourself from those who want to take things away from you!”

Alters Equality Score by -14%

2. Liberty (The Basics)

Select the statement which appeals most to you. If none of them appeal then move onto the next question.

“Liberty is the most important thing anyone can have and the right of everyone. It must be defended at all costs.”

Alters Liberty Score by +14%

“Liberty is important because it allows everyone to become the best they can be and live a life to which they are best suited. Naturally there are some limits to liberty but it is among the most important of principles.”

Alters Liberty Score by +7%

“Liberty is overrated. Loyalty to others is much more important than the freedom to do whatever you want. The groups you belong to make you who you are so you should always value them for that.”

Alters Liberty Score by -7%

“Liberty is dangerous for an orderly and united society. Everyone should do whatever they can to ensure that others behave as society expects them to.”

Alters Liberty Score by -14%

3. Stability (The Basics)

Select the statement which appeals most to you. If none of them appeal then move onto the next question.

“Stability is incredibly important. For a child routines and rules are vital and the same is so for adults. A structured way of life starts in the home but must extend to the wider world.”

Alters Stability Score by +14%

“Stability is important in that drastic change always produces hardship and confusion. Any change that occurs must be small and only happen if there is a blatant need. Time-honoured traditions have lasted a long time because they work.”

Alters Stability Score by +7%

“Stability is overrated. Old habits and practices can always be improved upon. Besides which change is refreshing and a natural part of life. As long as we can ensure that change is for the better then it is worthwhile.”

Alters Stability Score by -7%

“Stability is another word for stagnation and rigidity. In such an environment power accumulates and oppression becomes the norm. Change must be constant and vigorous. If ever you see complacency or conformity you must disrupt it.”

Alters Stability Score by -14%

4. Equality (Association)

Select the statement which appeals most to you. If none of them appeal then move onto the next question.

“We are nothing without society. Nobody can live alone and everyone is shaped by their peers. We need everyone to recognise that they are part of society and that the needs of that society are more important than any petty personal aspirations.”

Alters Equality Score by +14%

“We are all members of society and need to be included in everything that membership involves. We all have the right to partake in its decision-making and the product of its labour.”

Alters Equality Score by +7%

“Society is composed of different persons and groups and cannot be understood in terms of ‘society as a whole’. The extent to which someone will fit into society depends on how well they can negotiate its pitfalls to become a successful person.”

Alters Equality Score by -7%

“There is no such thing as one society. We all live in different and conflicting groups and you have to insulate yourself from any groups hostile to your own interests.”

Alters Equality Score by -14%

5. Liberty (Personal Autonomy)

Select the statement which appeals most to you. If none of them appeal then move onto the next question.

“Every individual is sovereign. Nobody can rule them but themselves and anyone who seeks to control others is an oppressor that must be resisted by those around them.”

Alters Liberty Score by +14%

"Individuality is very important. Everyone is different and the expression of those differences makes society vibrant and robust."

Alters Liberty Score by +7%

“The importance of individuality is exaggerated. Every person may be different but why do they have to fixate on that difference? It is the things we have in common that are important and help form the bonds that hold society together.”

Alters Liberty Score by -7%

“What is the individual? Anyone who stands out from the crowd is likely to be a malcontent or deviant. Given time a methodical and powerful state can remake everyone in its image. Everyone will be content once they have a defined role to fill.”

Alters Liberty Score by -14%

6. Stability (Family)

Select the statement which appeals most to you. If none of them appeal then move onto the next question.

“The traditional family is of utmost importance. At its best society takes the values of family life and extends them to all relations and all conduct in wider society. The best role-models evoke feelings of parental loyalty in us.”

Alters Stability Score by +14%

“Your family instills in you decent standards of bahaviour. Society consists of many family groupings and the role of family in acting as a haven and in producing the next generation should be recognised and supported.”

Alters Stability Score by +7%

“Family is important but we must recognise that it can take all sorts of forms rather than just the traditional nuclear family. Family relations are just one of the many kinds of relationships that can form in a diverse and tolerant society.”

Alters Stability Score by -7%

“The Family is just one of many institutions that work to oppress us. Family has been developed over time into something that instills in us subservience to authority and acceptance of abuse as a way of controlling us.”

Alters Stability Score by -14%

7. Equality (Ownership)

Select the statement which appeals most to you. If none of them appeal then move onto the next question.

“It is vital that the means of production be owned communally. Only this will ensure that both the power and wealth derived from industry will be justly shared.”

Alters Equality Score by +14%

“Industry needs to be regulated to minimise any adverse effects it may have on society. Along with re-distributive taxation and public provision of vital services this will ensure a more equitable society.”

Alters Equality Score by +7%

“Industry can only be productive if it is held in private hands so that incentive exists for those who work hard to be rewarded. Anyone can have a stake in the rewards of productivity if they work and then invest some income back into industry.”

Alters Equality Score by -7%

“The only useful industry is one you own and operate yourself. Any other kind of industry will just benefit others and possibly even be turned back on you. It is important to acquire the skills and tools necessary to provide for your own survival.”

Alters Equality Score by -14%

8. Liberty (The Limited State)

Select the statement which appeals most to you. If none of them appeal then move onto the next question.

“The state and all things associated with it exist purely to oppress and degrade us. All manner of institutions exist simply to control us from birth to death. The state only persists because it monopolises the tools of violence.”

Alters Liberty Score by +14%

“The state is a necessary tool and acts as a neutral arbiter between members of society. However its involvement in everyday life must be kept to a minimum and it must always act on the wishes of those it serves.”

Alters Liberty Score by +7%

“The state is important because it can promote ethical behaviour. It can also help to make life better by lending its impressive monetary support to projects of community renewal. Laws need to be drawn from accepted community standards.”

Alters Liberty Score by -7%

“The state is all-important to ensure discipline and order. The state is more than just some invention of humans. Rather it is an intrinsic part of any society – it effectively is society in a well-structured form.”

Alters Liberty Score by -14%

9. Stability (Heritage)

Select the statement which appeals most to you. If none of them appeal then move onto the next question.

“The past gives us everything that is worth having including a sense of belonging. We must defend our heritage from any insults or misinterpretations. History gives us a sense of purpose. Revered historic figures inspire us to be strong and brave.”

Alters Stability Score by +14%

“The past should be cherished but we can also recognise that our ancestors are flawed humans just like us. We can value the contribution they have made to our culture and institutions while also making our own contributions to the organic whole.”

Alters Stability Score by +7%

“It is important to understand the past. However it is risky to glorify the past or to allow for only one interpretation of history. Knowing history allows us to escape the mistakes of the past and do things better in the future.”

Alters Stability Score by -7%

“The past is whatever the powerful want it to be. Oppressors will tamper with the historic record to secure power. We have to record and nurture our own history. We also have to make history by challenging old assumptions and making a new world.”

Alters Stability Score by -14%

10. Throwing A Spanner In The Works

Finally select the statements that appeals to you most (if none are chosen then all of Equality and Liberty and Stability are altered by –7%).

"A friend in need is a friend indeed."

Alters Equality and Stability Scores by +7%

"God helps those that help themselves."

Alters Liberty and Stability Scores by +7%

"All must be free or none can be free."

Alters Equality and Liberty Scores by +7%

Calculate your totals and then find the catagory the ranges of which your scores fit into...

Scores: Stability (0-50%) Liberty (0-50%) Equality (0-50%)

Scores: Stability (0-50%) Liberty (51-85%) Equality (0-50%)

Scores: Stability (0-50%) Liberty (0-50%) Equality (51-85%)

Scores: Stability (51-85%) Liberty (0-50%) Equality (0-50%)

Scores: Stability (0-50%) Liberty (51-85%) Equality (51-85%)

Scores: Stability (51-85%) Liberty (0-50%) Equality (51-85%)

Scores: Stability (51-85%) Liberty (51-85%) Equality (0-50%)

Score: Stability (51-85%) Liberty (51-85%) Equality (51-85%)

Score: Stability (51-85%) Liberty (86-100%) Equality (51-85%)

Score: Stability (51-85%) Liberty (51-85%) Equality (86-100%)

Score: Stability (86-100%) Liberty (51-85%) Equality (51-85%)

Score: Stability (51-85%) Liberty (86-100%) Equality (86-100%)

Score: Stability (86-100%) Liberty (51-85%) Equality (86-100%)

Score: Stability (86-100%) Liberty (86-100%) Equality (51-85%)

Score: Stability (0-50%) Liberty (86-100%) Equality (51-85%)

Score: Stability (0-50%) Liberty (51-85%) Equality (86-100%)

Score: Stability (51-85%) Liberty (0-50%) Equality (86-100%)

Score: Stability (86-100%) Liberty (0-50%) Equality (51-85%)

Score: Stability (86-100%) Liberty (51-85%) Equality (0-50%)

Score: Stability (51-85%) Liberty (86-100%) Equality (0-50%)

Score: Stability (0-50%) Liberty (86-100%) Equality (0-50%)

Score: Stability (0-50%) Liberty (0-50%) Equality (86-100%)

Score: Stability (86-100%) Liberty (0-50%) Equality (0-50%)

Score: Stability (0-50%) Liberty (86-100%) Equality (86-100%)

Score: Stability (86-100%) Liberty (0-50%) Equality (86-100%)

Score: Stability (86-100%) Liberty (86-100%) Equality (0-50%)

Score: Stability (86-100%) Liberty (86-100%) Equality (86-100%)

The capacity of the Political Objectives Test to accurately determine your political category is limited by the relative simplicity of its scoring model and the brevity of the test. It works surprisingly well for those whose politics is conventional in nature (e.g. Liberal, Progressive, Socialist, Communitarian, Conservative, Establishmentarian).

However for more marginal forms of politics it looses accuracy. To address this somewhat most category descriptions include webpage links to related descriptions. In most cases you will be only one link away from a description that works for you even if the one the test gave you has issues.

In addition it is worth noting that the primary purpose of the Political Objectives Test is to inform and provoke debate. Examine both your own category and links to others and consider them in relation to one another.

Political Objectives Test Copyright © 2006-2016 D S Berk.

Terminology & Phrasing

Basic descriptions of every category are on this site but for more descriptive info and discussion of why particular labels have been chosen take a look here...

Liberal

The term Liberalism is a contested one with a definition that shifts and changes from decade-to-decade and from nation-to-nation. This may in part be because of the persuasive power of the concept of liberty and the fact that movements dedicated to other objectives recognise that power or even accept its value alongside others. In its first twelve months the Political Objectives Test utilised the word ‘Liberal’ as part of three distinct category names. However I have since decided to make most category names unique and with that in mind the term ‘Liberal’ can only belong to the classical liberal.

The classical liberal extrapolates from liberty a preference for a predominantly free market economy. In this they will differ from many of those that I now call 'Progressive'. They also derive from liberty a dedication to a cosmopolitan and permissive society that will separate them from many of those that I now call 'Establishmentarian'. However classical liberals are very much practitioners of politics as “the art of the possible” and as such they accept the very useful role the state can play in smoothing over some of the adverse affects arising from a world of autonomous persons all exercising personal liberty. This very important factor separates classical liberals from libertarians.

Socialist

The term Socialism has been utilised for well over a century to denote any and all manner of movements dedicated to the economic elevation and political empowerment of the working classes. Marxists utilise the term specifically to refer to an historic phase in which the organizations of the working class occupy the apparatus of the state. However since the formation of a dictatorship in Moscow on behalf of the working class a major schism occurred in the labour movement and those elements dedicated to incremental reform or ‘evolution’ rather than ‘revolution’ have been much more likely to use the term socialist as distinct from the word communist. It is this usage that the Political Objectives Test employs.

Socialists may also make use of other terms such as ‘labor’ or ‘social-democratic’ and have done so for decades. In Anglophone nations since the fall of the Berlin Wall there has been a migration of terminology so that garden-variety socialists avow the term ‘socialist’ while communists use the term as a more savoury word than the one which they once bore. Here the original distinction is reasserted.

Conservative

The term Conservatism may refer to somewhat different things in different contexts and settings. One key thing distinguishing conservatism from other forms of politics is its assertion of the relevance of the particular and circumstantial to the political life of a society. Other movements insist on universal principles that apply in all cases and to all persons. Conservatives in contrast will adhere to different things depending on the particular group of conservatives under consideration. While they may be 'fiscal conservatives' (advocating balanced budgets) the degree to which they support free market policy (privatization and deregulation) can vary. Some will support constitutional monarchy while others will have come to accept some form of republic. Some (such as the ‘christian-democratic’) will declare a religious basis for political values while others will be wholly secular. Many will be nationalist while a growing number are becoming internationalist in perspective.

One thing all conservatives however will want to do is defend those present practices that they deem to work – a conservative mantra may well be “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. Herein I distinguish garden-variety conservatives from fascists who envisage a golden age which they then wish to emulate. A conservative wishes to slow present change while a fascist wishes to rapidy “move forward to the past”.

Progressive

Originally I utilised the term ‘Social-Liberal’ for this category and it is a term that is recognised by political scientists and even by some political activists. However I have since decided I wanted my terms to be more distinctive (hence now there is just one ‘Liberal’ category). Also the term tended to make many test-takers think that the Political Objectives Test distinguishes between ‘social’ and ‘economic’ issues rather than assessing overarching philosophical considerations. So I turned to the word ‘Progressive’ which has been utilised since the days of United States president Teddy Roosevelt to refer to a proactive usage of the state within the setting of a free society in the service of improving quality-of-life.

The progressives tend to be pragmatists wary of ideological restrictions on the work of government – hence they prefer a term more akin to an advertising slogan than to political terminology. They promote a vague image of ‘progress’ which is difficult for the average punter to dismiss. However in seeking to advance quality-of-life they necessarily have to engage with both liberal and socialist values. These values have an historic tension. Classical liberals can overlook the limitations put on free action by economic conditions while socialists can dismiss the importance of having an ability to make decisions for oneself. Progressives try to recognise both. For progressives it is important that there be incremental but regular reform that they feel they need to have been instrumental in making happen.

Communitarian

Originally I utilised the term ‘Social-Conservative’ for this category but it is a term that is disputed among political scientists and is only sometimes employed by political activists. Also the term tended to make many test-takers think that the Political Objectives Test distinguishes between ‘social’ and ‘economic’ issues rather than assessing overarching philosophical considerations. There are a number of historic instances of this kind of politics but it took a while to find a fitting umbrella term for it – eventually I selected the term ‘Communitarian’ that is utilised in the United States for those who are wary of both the economic and cultural implications of too much liberty at the expense of ‘community values’.

The communitarians focus on the notion of a community that both takes care of its members and polices how they behave. As such communitarians will share in common with socialists support for state intervention for the nurturing of human needs but they will also share with conservatives a desire to use peer pressure to proscribe particular behaviours and life-choices. There is a tendency historically for this kind of politics to be practiced by those adherents of religious denominations that focus on both worldly works as well as relations with the divine (e.g. Roman Catholicism had strong links to the ‘centre party’ brand in inter-war era Europe).

Establishmentarian

Originally I utilised the term ‘Liberal-Conservative’ for this category but it is a term that is disputed among political scientists and is barely if ever employed by political activists. I have since decided I wanted my terms to be more distinctive (hence now there is just one ‘Liberal’ category). Also the term tended to confuse many U. S. test takers for whom its two component words represent opposing political forces. I passed over 'neo-conservative' as too context-specific and eventually settled on the somewhat clumsy ‘Establishmentarian’. It is only used within the context of specific political issues but I find it resonates well with my understanding of this form of politics.

If one looks closely at the decisions taken by establishmentarians one will notice that they are something other than an arbitrary blend of liberal and conservative. The economic decisions of establishmentarians are more likely to be pro-business than they are pro-market (distinguishing them from classical liberals). The cultural decisions of establishmentarians tend to be made to defend the status or honour of particular interests rather than in preserving traditional practices per-se (distinguishing them from conservatives). The effects of these decisions may look the same but the motivations are different.

So what motivates establishmentarians? It is the desire to both defend ‘The Establishment’ and also to constantly be establishing new generators of prosperity. A liberal wants every person to decide for themselves how best to live as long as they can do so responsibly. An establishmentarian however prescribes a particular kind of life as the best life to live. A conservative wants everyone to occupy different roles or stations within society. An establishmentarian however wants everyone to aspire to the same kind of role. The entrepreneur is the icon for establishmentarians. Is this an exclusionary or elitist philosophy? It may seem that way but establishmentarians think that everyone can be included in this way-of-life. Someone who establishes a new firm becomes an employer who then offers jobs to many others. Some of those employees over time may become partners in the firm or even rivals establishing competing firms. In this way the establishmentarian feels that success can be transmitted from person to person.

Moderate

There is a lack of coherent philosophy or distinct movement for moderates. Rather moderation is something that an isolated person can embody. Also a political party can be moderate in effect if it embraces a populist interest in preserving itself as government. Sometimes an ideology will mistakenly be characterised as moderate if it is perceived as sitting between other more prominent positions within a particular polity. So for instance classical liberals may seem the moderates sitting between progressives and establishmentarians. Or communitarians may seem the moderates sitting between garden-variety socialists and conservatives (moreso in the past than now).

I chose the term 'moderate' rather than 'centrist' because of wanting to get away from the notion that we need to conceive of these political descriptors fitting within a chart. Also one could argue that the categories Apathetic and Confused Extremist are also centrist.

Libertarian

A libertarian differs from even a classical liberal in that the libertarian wishes to minimise the size of the state while the liberal merely wishes to curb the power of government. A libertarian would argue that the size of the state inadvertently transfers too much power from those affected by it and into the hands of government.

A liberal by contrast would argue that proper checks and balances will suffice to limit the power of government (they may still wish to limit the size of the state but for arguments of efficiency or self-respect). The libertarians (particularly prominent in the USA and instrumental in challenging notions of left and right via this test) may argue that they are the natural successors of the classical liberals but the differences described here are important ones. The libertarian obsession with minimising the state makes them almost anarchists.

Almost. The key difference between a libertarian and an anarchist is that the libertarian will still accept some kind of state and government however small. They are 'minarchists' rather than anarchists and reject the anarchist desire for all aspects of ones life to be self-managed in all ways. Having a government that polices the rule of law is something that libertarians still wish to have.

Utopian Socialist

Marxists use the term 'utopian' as a way of dismissing rival brands of working class politics. For them these other forms lack the technical understanding of how to successfully change society and so can only propose imaginary utopias. I use the term utopian socialist then to describe those who wish for a communist-like end result but lack the fanatical dedication to utilise class warfare to get there. They also stand in contrast with the garden-variety socialist who accepts that incremental change is what works and has abandoned notions of utopias altogether.

Ultra-Conservative

For some an ultra-conservative is one who adheres more purely or accurately to conservative values than does the garden-variety conservative. However for others the term is a polite way of saying fascist. And the ultra-conservative has in common with the fascist an interest in romantic notions of a past that may never have been. However they (begrudgingly) accept along with conservatives the practical limitations of politics that are imposed by circumstance.

Radical

Historically the radicals were campaigners for the fullest practical extension of the electoral franchise and of human rights. This nineteenth century conception of radicals gives them a kinship with the twentieth century progressives. However the challenge that these democratic demands imposed on the powers-that-be put the radical within the same marginalised position as the revolutionary. It is with this in mind that I present the radical as a half-way position between the progressive and the revolutionary. The radical will be subversive in small everyday ways and as such I also have incorporated the image of the 'radical ratbag’ protesting and living an alternative way-of-life.

Reactionary

Marxists use the term ‘reactionary’ to refer to those elements of society that respond to forces of change (such as Marxists themselves) with some degree of resistance. They are distinct from those who actively prevent change but they will serve as a tool for those wishing to prevent or reverse changes. With this in mind I use the term to refer to those who are loyal to the status quo even if they only derive limited benefit from it. If such a reactionary did more fully embrace the status quo then they would be an establishmentarian. If however they recognised the limitations the status quo put on them then they may become resentful of both the status quo and those who critique it and become a survivalist.

Authoritarian

During the Cold War international relations experts utilised the term ‘authoritarian’ to distinguish restrictive regimes that could be tolerated from those ‘totalitarian’ regimes that should be opposed. Here then I use the term to refer to those who wish for a more restricted society but who hold back from wholesale regimentation of all aspects of life. An authoritarian may indeed themselves be alarmed by dictatorship despite the fact that they endorse many aspects of strong state control. So they may be akin to totalitarians but in other ways they will identify with the objectives of the more conventional communitarians. One thing they may consider is ‘corporatism’ (representation of recognised groups within society) as a compromise between the more volatile model of representing every citizen via parliamentary democracy and the more restrictive one of military dictatorship.

Anarchist

In this test 'anarchist' is more a conceptual space than it is one coherent political philosophy uniting a movement. Those subscribing to anarchist thinking will very much be free-thinkers and so a plethora of different perspectives will form moreso than for any other category. All however will be hostile to the state.

Many who use the term Anarchist will veer more in the direction of the revolutionary in having a commitment to equality as well as liberty. Others may be more inclined towards the survivalist in having a commitment to stability as well as liberty. And the majority of those who get the 'anarchist' result in the test are more likely to be libertarian in that they pragmatically accept some minimal form of state.

Communist

Since the formation of a dictatorship in Moscow on behalf of the working class a major schism occurred in the labour movement with those aligned with Moscow identifying as communist rather than merely socialist. In this selection of word the communists were stressing the objective of a classless society in which all productive forces are communally held.

However for this end to ever be achieved communists are dedicated to capturing and commanding the apparatus of the state. They discover that the many challenges and opponents facing them are such that there is always need to preserve the state and with it a governing elite. The objective they share with the revolutionary never comes. Furthermore they find that in order to preserve power they must become ever more like the totalitarian.

In this day-and-age most communist regimes have been relegated to history. However communist sentiments are preserved by the ‘fellow travelers’ that are the utopian socialists.

Fascist

The fasces is an image from Ancient Rome of a bunch of sticks surrounding an axe. This object represents the strength that comes from standing together (the sticks cannot be broken while bundled together) and also the importance of rallying around an even stronger leader. There is both subservience and violence implicit in this image. The fascists in name (originally in inter-war Italy) chose this concept to represent themselves and were deliberately evoking notions of past glory. Another concept important to fascists is the power of the will – the desire to take decisive action became more important than any discussion that may hinder action – as such fascism is romantic rather than rational.

The fascist concept is attractive in times of risk and change. It offers comfort in traditional ways that are re-cast into a harsher form that can face and best the confusing forces of a changing world – forces that are necessarily perceived as an enemy. Many of the sentiments of fascists will be shared with survivalists but they seek the power to impose these sentiments on all. In this process they are tempted to exercise power over others at any cost and so turn ever more into totalitarians.

In this day-and-age fascist regimes are a thing of the past. However some still identify with fascist notions and are more likely to now be regarded as simply ultra-conservative.

Revolutionary

Both anarchists and communists advocate for revolution. There are many names for the kind of politics that shares characteristics in common with both (such as 'anarcho-syndicalist') but rather than select any of those I am utilising revolutionary as a coverall term. The revolutionary shares with the anarchist a desire to smash the state. They also share with the communist a desire to overturn the class structure of society but they wish to abolish the state as part of any revolutionary event (rather than just capture the state as an interim action and postpone the dismantling of that state indefinitely). The revolutionary wishes to fundamentally alter cultural norms rather than just political institutions. They are few and far between but some of the ethos and practices of the revolutionary (such as consensus decision-making as an alternative to majority rules) are utilised by radicals.

Totalitarian

It was noted in the post-war era that the character of the most entrenched of both communist and fascist regimes was very similar. The term totalitarian has therefore been attached to dictatorships from the Soviet Union to The Third Reich. Whatever mission the movement once had is replaced by the need for total control. In a totalitarian society all aspects of life are regimented as much as the regime can enforce. Order is paramount. Uniformity is desired of everyone. The rule of the dictator is underpinned by the dominance of technocrats and the constant presence of military and surveillance personnel. Such a regime is difficult to entrench but many regimes will exhibit some of these characteristics in the form of authoritarian governments.

Survivalist

Survivalists anticipate future crisis that will necessitate the ability to be self-sufficient and protected. For survivalists (also known as "separatists") the world is full of dangers arising from the power of governments and the conflicting values of others in wider society. They share with anarchists a suspicion of the state and they have in common with fascists a resentment of those who are perceived as different or degenerate. Frequently they are also concerned that the former has been captured by the interests of the latter. Survivalists are very rare but some of their sentiments are exhibited in small ways among those of reactionary temperament.

Political Objectives Test Copyright © 2006-2016 D S Berk.

Findings of Test

As a registrant of OKCupid I can access the profiles of fellow registrants and back in 2006-07 I scrutinised the profiles of 150 participants of my test over a busy period for the test of several weeks. I collected what demographic data I could on those participants and noted which category result they got in the Political Objectives Test. Herein I present aggregates of that information as percentages. I must also note the limitations of the data.

To start with I have a small sample size. Still it is (I am advised) 'statistically significant' at over one hundred so I will go with that.

The next drawback is the fact that all participants have actively chosen to take a political test - they came to me rather than me to them. As a result the selection (one can assume) is more interested in politics than the population as a whole. I will speculate then that the Apathetic result may well be under-represented in my results.

Another issue is the media utilised. Who uses the Internet? Who more specifically spends time on amusements and networking sites? I suspect that it is younger persons in developed nations (which my demographic data supports). This is fitting in the sense that the array of political ideologies I describe arose in the developed world (even if they aspire to be universal concepts embraced by all).

Finally the data collected is now a few years old and since then economic conditions have worsened. If I were to collect the data now would I find a move away from liberty and towards the comfort of equality or stability as principles?

Whole Group Statistics

What follows is the information I collected on the demographics of the surveyed group of 150 as a whole and is presented as percentages. Some of that information will then be presented also for particular ideological categories.

Gender

Far more participants were male than female. However I am aware that in any natural sampling of the population there are approximately as many men as there are women. And because I know this and because the mathematics is basic I have decided to adjust all my gender figures to reflect that fact. This is the only demographic data I have adjusted for known trends and gives the result of 49.78% male to 50.22% female.

Sexuality

At the risk of simplifying the very complicated matter of human sexuality I have put participants into two groupings - heterosexual and non-heterosexual or queer. This reflects the results I got - the vast majority admit to heterosexuality. With that in mind - and remembering that this is a sensitive matter and some may be inclined to pretend to be heterosexual - I present the following percentages: 85.34% heterosexual to 14.67% queer.

Coupling

OKCupid is in part a dating site. Therefore the following figures should be hardly surprising: 81.34% were single and only 18.67% were in relationships. How relevant is this statistic to my subject matter? I must admit that I noted it simply because the information was there to be had. Still it may tell us something regarding particular ideologies. And since relationships relate to family issues this is ultimately a factor of some political relevance.

Age

I have divided the participants into four age-groups. Those under 21 years of age account for 18% of participants. The group 21-35 are the largest at 55.34%. The group 36-50 are smaller at 22%. By far the smallest group is over 50 years of age at only 3.34%. This is hardly surprising given the extent to which younger generations have adopted the Internet.

Education

Participant profiles include educational information. 34.67% of participants have attended university while 65.34% attended compulsory schooling only.

Origin

The nation-states to which participants belong is noted in profiles. This figure was particularly skewed as one may suspect given that the test is conducted via the Internet. 64.67% of participants are from the United States of America. 16.67% are from Commonwealth nations. Only 18.67% are from the rest of the world (Continental Europe and Latin America and Asia).

Religion

I have put participants into three religious groupings. The largest is the 'Secular' (atheists and agnostics and non-committal) at 50.67%. The next group is the 'Theists' (Abrahamic religions) at 35.34%. Finally the smallest group I simply call 'Other' (most of whom identify as 'pagan') and represent 14% of the total.

Popularity of Ideological Catagories

The following figures shows what percentage of total participants identify with each ideology as described in the Political Objectives Test. They are listed in terms of popularity:

Liberal: 22%
Progressive: 22%
Establishmentarian: 13.34%
Libertarian: 6.67%
Conservative: 4.67%
Socialist: 4%
Apathetic: 4%
Moderate: 4%
Anarchist: 3.34%
Radical: 3.34%
Utopian Socialist: 3.34%
Communitarian: 2%
Revolutionary: 2%
Reactionary: 1.34%
Ultra-Conservative: 1.34%
Communist: 1.34%
Fascist: 0.67%
Survivalist: 0.67%
Authoritarian: 0%
Totalitarian: 0%
Confused Extremist: 0%


Looking at these results immediately suggests that my surveyed group is too small. There are ideologies I deem to be 'alternative' that are more popular than ones I regard as 'conventional'. So there are more Libertarians than there are garden-variety Socialists or Conservatives. And there are even more more 'extremist' Anarchists than the 'conventional' Communitarians.

Overall those who value liberty are more numerous than those that value (in particular) the combination of equality with stability. The predominance of Americans in my surveyed group likely accounts for this. There are few Communitarians and there are no Authoritarians or Totalitarians at all. I have very rarely seen someone on OKCupid get such a result but there were none at the time of my surveying.

Also I have never even seen anyone to get the Confused Extremist result on observing the site (as a one-time political activist I still suspect they exist but that is just my hunch). Still even if such persons exist the act of taking a written test may force a recognition in participants that some statements are contradictory and push them into more coherent ideological choices.

It is interesting to total the figures for the 'spokes' and 'rings' of the wheel concept as described under The Big Picture here.

------------------------
Liberty Spoke: 32.01%
Liberty+Equality Spoke: 27.34%
Liberty+Stability Spoke: 15.35%
Equality Spoke: 8.68%
Stability Spoke: 6.68%
Equality+Stability Spoke: 2%
------------------------
Hub: 8%
------------------------
Conventional Ring: 68.1%
Alternative or Transitional Ring: 16.03%
Extremist Ring: 8.02%

------------------------

The figures for the 'spokes' demonstrate that liberty is the most popular principle and is then followed by equality and finally stability. The figures for the 'rings' show something different - how fanatical respondents are. We can see that a definite majority - 68.1% - identify with conventional political perspectives that vie for attention within the confines of democratic political debate. We see that 16.03% are interested in forms of politics that provide an alternative to the conventional or which allow one to experiment with some more extreme notions. And finally we see that 8.02% have an extremist identity.

We also see in the 'hub' that very few participants regard the three principles with a similar degree of positivity (moderate) or negativity (apathetic). The vast majority of participants can and do show a preference for one or at the most two of the three principles.

Statistics - Ideology-by-Ideology

The more popular the ideology the more we can say about it in terms of demographics. There are only six moderates in my surveyed group while there are 33 classical liberals. I can present all sorts of info about liberals but barely any info on half-a-dozen moderates. What follows is the demographics of many of my categories In some cases I combine related categories. In many cases I allow readers to draw their own conclusions regarding the demographics of the different groups.

Liberals

60% of classical liberals are female. 21% are queer. 27.3% are in relationships. In all these regards the liberals are less male-dominated, less heterosexual and less likely to be single than the whole surveyed group.

15.15% are under 21. 51.51% are aged 21-35. 24.24% are aged 36-50. 9.09% are over 50. It seems that the average liberal is somewhat older than other test-takers. 28% attended university - somewhat fewer than the norm.

79.2% of liberal test-takers are from the USA while 13.2% are from Commonwealth nations and 16.5% are from other nations. It seems that Americans are over-represented in the classical liberal camp.

45.45% are secular while 27.27% are theists and 27.27% are other. Among liberals it seems that both secular and theist positions are less popular than normal while other perspectives like modern paganism are more popular than is usual. This possibly makes sense in the sense that liberals are 'free thinkers'.

Progressives

52% of progressives are female. 10% are queer. 15.15% are in relationships. In all these regards the progressives are more heterosexual and more likely to be single than the whole surveyed group. If this is surprising then I can only attribute it to the small overall sample-size.

24.24% are under 21. 60.6% are aged 21-35. 15.15% are aged 36-50. 0% are over 50. It seems that the average progressive is rather younger than other test-takers. 28% attended university - somewhat fewer than the norm.

60.06% of progressive test-takers are from the USA while 18.18% are from Commonwealth nations and 21.21% are from other nations. The progressives have a somewhat more global distribution than the norm.

100% of progressives are secular - a very significant figure for one of the two largest groups in the survey but hardly surprising regarding the professed 'humanism' of many progressives and the suspicion they tend to show towards the impact of religion on political life.

Establishmentarians

46.67% of establishmentarians are female. 13.34% are queer. 20% are in relationships. In all these regard establishmentarians are more male-dominated, somewhat more heterosexual and somewhat less likely to be single than the whole surveyed group.

15% are under 21. 35% are aged 21-35. 45% are aged 36-50. 5% are over 50. It seems that the average establishmentarian is older than other test-takers. 13% attended university - significantly fewer than the norm.

80% of establishmentarian test-takers are from the USA while 6.67% are from Commonwealth nations and 13.34% are from other nations. It seems that Americans are very much over-represented in the establishmentarian camp.

25% are secular while 75% are theists and 0% are other. The majority of establishmentarians are religious and if they reject established churches it is to be rationalist atheists or agnostics rather than to explore more esoteric religions.

Libertarian & Anarchist

Because of small numbers and very similar characteristics these two groups are considered as one. Statistics have been combined but in all cases those combinations reflect the same tendency in both groups (for instance both are numerically male-dominated).

43.04% are female. 18.9% are queer. Only 4.5% are in relationships. In all these regards they are more male-dominated, less heterosexual and much more likely to be single than the whole surveyed group.

18.89% are under 21. 67.78% are aged 21-35. 6.67% are aged 36-50. 0% are over 50. It seems that the average person of this group is very much a young adult rather than a teenaged or mature-aged. 25.56% attended university - fewer than the norm.

65% of test-takers are from the USA while 15% are from Commonwealth nations and 20% are from other nations. This is very close to the norm for the surveyed group (which itself has an abundance of Americans).

70% are secular while 20% are theists and 10% are other. This is a predominantly secular grouping.

Moderate & Apathetic

These two groups are in a sense the two sides of the same coin. They are considered together but some differences in demographics will be noted.

38.9% are female. A third of moderates are in relationships while none of the apathetic are.

16.67% are under 21. 66.67% are aged 21-35. 16.67% are aged 36-50. 0% are over 50. The apathetic are exclusively of the 21-35 age-group in my survey. 25% attended university.

66.67% of test-takers are from the USA while 16.67% are from Commonwealth nations and 16.67% are from other nations.

66.67% are secular while 33.34% are theists and 0% are other. The apathetic are more likely to be secular than the moderates.

Socialist - Utopian Socialist - Communist

There are significant differences among those dedicated to equality. Nonetheless it is useful in this analysis to look at them together particularly since they are small in number.

44.45% are female (the proportion of women reduces the more one moves from conventional to extremist). 16% are queer (once more this reduces among extremists). 13% are in relationships.

16.67% are under 21. 55.56% are aged 21-35. 17.75% are aged 36-50. 0% are over 50. 26.67% attended university.

33.34% of test-takers are from the USA while 33.34% are from Commonwealth nations and 33.34% are from other nations. They have a more global distribution than the norm. Interestingly both garden-variety socialists and communists come from Commonwealth or other nations while one is more likely to find utopian socialists in the US.

60% are secular while 6.67% are theists and 13.34% are other. Curiously it is once more the utopian socialists who may be religious while the garden-variety socialists and communists are entirely secular.

Conservative - Ultra-Conservative - Fascist

There are significant differences among those dedicated to stability. Nonetheless it is useful in this analysis to look at them together particularly since they are small in number.

50% are female (the proportion of women reduces the more one moves from conventional to extremist). 10% are queer (however these are all garden-variety conservatives). 30% are in relationships - significantly more than is the norm (however once more all these are garden-variety conservatives).

A surprising 30% are under 21 but this is skewed by the extremists and if one looks only at garden-variety conservatives then they have somewhat fewer adolescents than is the norm. 30% are aged 21-35. 20% are aged 36-50. 20% are over 50. Overall this group has a better age-distribution than is the norm. 40% attended university - more than the norm.

70% of test-takers are from the USA while 20% are from Commonwealth nations and 10% are from other nations. They have a less global distribution than the norm. All the extremists came from the USA.

50% are secular while 50% are theists and 0% are other. The more extremist the more secular they are likely to be.

One more thing I noticed while looking at profiles - more so than for other test-takers those dedicated to stability were likely to have locked profiles (which I would need to be logged in to access) - they value privacy more than others.

Radical & Revolutionary

Due to small numbers and similarity of philosophy these groups are presented together.

40% are female. A significant 36.67% are queer. A surprising 26.67% are in relationships.

10% are under 21. 63.34% are aged 21-35. 26.67% are aged 36-50. 0% are over 50. An impressive 73.34% attended university.

50% of test-takers are from the USA while 25% are from Commonwealth nations and 25% are from other nations. They have a more global distribution than the norm.

90% are secular while 0% are theists and 10% are other (it is among the Radicals that there are some 'Other').

With such small numbers it is difficult to say anything for sure regarding this group.

Reactionary & Survivalist

Due to small numbers and similarity of philosophy these groups are presented together.

33.34% are female. 0% are queer. 33.34% are in relationships.

33.34% are under 21. 33.34% are aged 21-35. 33.34% are aged 36-50. 0% are over 50. 0% attended university.

A startling 100% of test-takers are from the USA.

33.34% are secular while 66.67% are theists and 0% are other.

With such small numbers it is difficult to say anything for sure regarding this group.

Communitarian

Note that none of those surveyed got Authoritarian or Totalitarian results. As such only the Communitarians here represent a dedication to both equality and stability. The group is so small that all statistics must be looked at skeptically.

33.34% are female. 0% are queer. 0% are in relationships.

100% are aged 21-35. 33.34% attended university.

0% of test-takers are from the USA while 33.34% are from Commonwealth nations and 66.67% are from other nations. They are the only group that reverses the US dominance of numbers in the survey.

100% of Communitarians are theists.

With such small numbers it is difficult to say anything for sure regarding this group. However what we do see seems to agree with the 'Centre Party' brand of inter-war Europe.

Discussion

In this discussion I will consider the character and profile of differing kinds of politics and make some observations regarding the relative successes and futures of these movements. I will also discuss the implications of the figures for the Political Objectives Test model. I will depart from my usual aversion for the terminology of ‘left and right’ for the purposes of this discussion.

The classical liberals are particularly interesting because they are one of the largest groups and yet more than other 'conventional' positions they tend to lack in specific political representation. There are few major classical liberal parties in the world. And yet this group represents a significant portion of modern society.

Does this matter? Is there opportunity here for the formation of new liberal parties combining a qualified acceptance of the state with a blend of market economics and permissive culture? Some libertarians may wish to present themselves as such but if they do so they will need to recognize that they must moderate the fervor with which they criticize the state which the average citizen - even one of classical liberal persuasion - still values.

However there is another possibility. For decades now the trend in policy changes has been towards both a permissive culture and market economics tempered by the kind of limitations one expects in a representative democracy. The process of centre-left and centre-right parties "taking turns" in forming government has over-time provided a policy mix that approximates something that will satisfy the average liberal. Liberal voters can then be well-served simply by ‘swinging’ between opposing parties.

Among those dedicated to equality – from socialists to communists - are some interesting findings. The most interesting is that among them there is a more pronounced tendency towards extremism than among those dedicated to stability. In other words the garden-variety socialists (conventional form) are outnumbered by utopian socialists and communists. This may be a product of the nature of the labour movement in which both conventional and extremist groups cross paths as they seek to promote themselves.

Another interesting thing is that the utopian socialists seem at odds with the garden-variety socialists and communists they sit between - for instance many of them are religious in what is an otherwise very secular movement. It may even be this factor that makes utopian socialists both more idealistic than garden-variety socialists and yet equivocal compared with communists.

It seems that garden-variety socialists are now just a tendency within progressivism - it is in this form that they will continue to have an impact on politics. They may take the form (for instance) of factions representing trade unions within major centre-left parties.

It is progressives who are now the centre-left and have all but replaced garden-variety socialists in this role. Parties of a progressive character would be wise to note the desires of classical liberal swinging voters while still placating old-school socialists (and possibly also radicals). However they can afford to do this less so than establishmentarians need to heed the pressure of old-school conservatives. Nonetheless they will have to decide from issue-to-issue how best to balance equality with liberty.

Among those dedicated to stability – from conservatives to fascists - we see some interesting things. The most interesting is that among them there is a less pronounced tendency towards extremism than among those dedicated to equality. In other words the garden-variety conservatives (conventional form) outnumber ultra-conservatives and fascists combined.

This seems to fit the self-image of the conservative as persons of tasteful and proper character that distance themselves from anything of a controversial nature. The tendency of the extremists to be young and secular suggests that within this group fascism is a way of expressing youthful dissent rather than any entrenched devotion.

It looks like garden-variety conservatives are now just a tendency within establishmentarianism - it is in this form that they will continue to have an impact on politics. They may take the form (for instance) of the rural branches of major centre-right parties.

It is establishmentarians who are now the centre-right and have all but replaced garden-variety conservatives in this role. Parties of an establishmentarian character would be wise to placate old-school conservatives (and possibly also reactionaries). However if they wish to expand support overall then they need to court classical liberals. In all this they will have to decide from issue-to-issue how best to balance stability with liberty.

It is worth noting in the survey that progressives are more popular than their rival establishmentarians. Do the survey results agree with the current political climate? It does seem that the pendulum has recently been swinging back from right to left. A quick look at who is in power in ten prominent nations seems to confirm this.

Those ten nation-states are the members of the G7 along with India (largest democracy in world) and Brazil (a Latin American power) and Australia (my home nation). Consider the following:

USA - Democratic Party - Centre-Left
Canada - Conservative - Centre-Right
Japan - Democratic Party - Centre-Left
UK - Labour Party - Centre-Left
Germany – Christian Democratic Union - Centre-Right
France – Union For A Popular Movement - Centre-Right
Italy – Forward Italy - Centre-Right
India - Congress Party - Centre-Left
Brazil - Workers Party - Centre-Left
Australia - Labor Party - Centre-Left


The governments of six nations are centre-left while the governments of four are centre-right. The popularity of the left over the right in my survey is more pronounced than this – hardly surprising given it is a tiny group of global citizens. However it does seems to agree with global trends. However there are always those that defy the mood of the times or reject its assumptions altogether.

The libertarian and anarchist group is bigger than other non-conventional forms of politics and I wonder why. It may even be that the success of this test has bolstered the number of 'advocates for self-government' surfing the Net. Or it may be simply because of the popularity overall of liberty in the polity. However it is classical liberals who are the group that far-and-away most benefit from the dominance of liberty as a political concept.

The apathetic and the moderates are few in number - they are different from the conventional 'ring' total. It is a relatively rare person who places similar value on all three principles. However moderate policy-preferences will sometimes be approximated by populist governments intent to keeping power. Moderate persons will if anything gravitate towards liberalism or fall into apathy (which must be bigger than this survey of politically interested persons shows).

There are those who find it difficult to become part of dominant parties of the left and right. The communitarian perspective is something one would only adhere to if one sincerely agreed with its ideology – they are a very small movement indeed. In order to promote themselves communitarians may wish to present as or engage with moderates. Otherwise they may simply fade with time.

It is because of the tiny numbers of communitarians that I am tempted to abandon my model altogether and admit that the left-right concept is correct in most cases. Fewer than 5% of test-takers in this conventional ring are communitarian. One could then remove them from that ring and turn it into a line. From left-to-right one would then have the following:

Socialist>Progressive>Liberal>Establishmentarian>Conservative

The mark of a centrist then would be a dedication to liberty rather than in seeking to compromise between equality and stability. However the conventional ring excludes almost a third of all participants.

An anarchist is a very different thing from a liberal and cannot be conveniently subsumed into the left-right model. And then there is everyone from revolutionary to survivalist and back to the lamented communitarian – even if they are small in number I think they still deserve to be recognized and understood and sometimes the only way to do that is give names to things.

Furthermore there are still authoritarian and even totalitarian regimes in the world today. The secular ones of the Twentieth Century may be on the wane but those of a religious form very much exist even if nobody of that persuasion chooses to take tests on OKCupid. A multi-dimensional model is still a useful thing to develop. I hope that mine - focusing on principles rather than issues - can be regarded as a useful addition to the many models presented on-line that help us understand our own politics and those of others we interact with.

Political Objectives Test Copyright © 2006-2016 D S Berk.