I've taken quite a few, over the years...some better than others. I've taken a lot of psychological evaluations over the years, too (a consequence of the type of jobs I have had), and these type of tests remind me of those. Lots of questions, multiple choice answers, attempting to gauge how strongly you agree with a particular statement. Often, they will ask the same question several times (scattered throughout the survey), but worded slightly differently, to try to narrow in on some particular nuance.
Writing survey questions can always be tricky. You can take that two ways: tricky to word it in such a way that it will generate an accurate response, or tricky as in manipulative...trying to generate a specific response. I don't like taking the latter kind, and I wouldn't want to subject you to that, either. This one appears to be to be pretty objective.
If you are interested thus far, continue below the Orange Kleinur for more on the survey I recently took.
Many of you have probably taken this particular survey before. I've taken it a few times, and sometimes I feel differently about some of the questions, at least in terms of degree. I've gotten slightly different results, but always in the same general neighborhood. I think I may have drifted more to the left over the years. If you have taken it, it might be interesting to do it again and see if there is a noticeable difference.
This particular test recognizes that the standard spectrum of "left" and "right" is really an over-simplification, and isn't descriptive enough to show the range of possible political beliefs (and policies, of course). So it plots results on two axes...the tradition Left and Right crossed with another to measure Authoritarian vs. Libertarian. (Note that "Libertarian" doesn't refer to the political party of that name; their policies don't score very far from the center on that scale, actually). The creators of the test have this to say about the multi-axis approach:
There's abundant evidence for the need of it. The old one-dimensional categories of 'right' and 'left', established for the seating arrangement of the French National Assembly of 1789, are overly simplistic for today's complex political landscape. For example, who are the 'conservatives' in today's Russia? Are they the unreconstructed Stalinists, or the reformers who have adopted the right-wing views of conservatives like Margaret Thatcher?
On the standard left-right scale, how do you distinguish leftists like Stalin and Gandhi? It's not sufficient to say that Stalin was simply more left than Gandhi. There are fundamental political differences between them that the old categories on their own can't explain. Similarly, we generally describe social reactionaries as 'right-wingers', yet that leaves left-wing reactionaries like Robert Mugabe and Pol Pot off the hook.
To take the test, head over to The Political Compass. While you are there, poke around. They've got songs that are supposed to be appropriate to segments of the spectrum, and ways to compare yourself to some more well known political figures. Then come back here and tell us how you did. You can do that via my little Poll, below, or as I am going to do, and post a link to the actual graph of my results.