[FoRK] The new middle?

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Fri Jan 22 10:30:24 PST 2010

Jeff Bone wrote:
> sdw says:
>> If we could just have the party of newly-centrist JB!
> So, lower-left is the new middle?  Wait, I've been saying that for 
> years.  Well, I've been saying that it's the *real* middle...
> Just keeping it real.  As of today (just took the test to spot-check...)
> Your political compass
> Economic Left/Right: 7.88
> Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.69
Doesn't this put you in lower-right?  I know you want to be in the 
lower-left.  ;-)
> Note:  the econ number is *exactly* what it was in 2004, 2003, ...  
> Slight drift down the authoritarian axis, but not too significant, and 
> a good thing anyway IMHO.
> Draw your own conclusions, things are rock-steady over here.

It is the secondary interpretation and nuanced principles where you have 
evolved, IMHO.  The political compass questions are not nuanced enough 
to capture why you believe in your answer, only what your answer is.  It 
seems that the scoring is making some guess as to your principles.  The 
reasoning is what counts while model-probabilities or simple tradition 
can greatly skew actual answers on "gray scale" questions.  Why doesn't 
that test have "neutral" as an answer??  No one can see it both ways, as 
in "it depends"??  For maybe half of those questions, I could have 
chosen any value based on which circumstance I chose to give the most 
weight.  We should write our own version, or at least fix their version.

For instance, if you grew up in an inner-city area and saw "junkies", 
gangs, and other complete life failures were the typical result of 
illegal drugs, you might have a completely different view of drug 
legalization than someone who grew up in, say, California where the 
majority of users are happy, successful, and carefully (in some sense) 
moderate their behavior.  This is a different model-probability state 
that affects weighting of basic and derived principles, where some may 
eventually atrophy or don't even get absorbed.  The crazy thing is when 
people hold views based on opposite principles because the actual or 
expected or feared model-probability results are so different in each 
area.  Hence, you can have Republican-ish religio evangelists who are 
freaked out about personal freedom while being totally laissez-faire.  
(Yesterday, I fought an urge to go deep on this.)

So, with all of the flaws in the questions, here is my result:
> Your political compass
> Economic Left/Right: -1.50
> Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.59
Just libertarian of center.

> jb

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