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 © 2006-2017 D S Berk.