Pop Quiz

Most of us have done this quiz before, but we have a lot of new folks here and I’d be interested to know where all of you fall within the four quadrants. It’s also an absorbing exercise to go through and think about the questions. Almost any one of them would make a great topic for Free Forum Friday…like “I always support my country, right or wrong.” Food for thought, that one. And finally, it’s fascinating to see how one’s position on the political compass continues to evolve over time. I’m still down there in the lower quadrant with Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama as a “left-leaning libertarian.” But I’m surprised to note I’ve actually moved a bit to the right since I last took the test. It must be the positive influence of my right-wing friends here at 538 Refugees.
So, take the quiz, find your score, then come back and tell us where you fall on the compass. And if there’s a question on the test you’d really like the whole forum to discuss at length, let us know that as well, and we’ll make a space for it.

About filistro

Filistro is a Canadian writer and prairie dog who maintains burrows on both sides of the 49th parallel. Like all prairie dogs, she is keenly interested in politics and language. (Prairie dogs have been known to build organized towns the size of Maryland, and are the only furry mammal with a documented language.)
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41 Responses to Pop Quiz

  1. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    -5, -3

    Slightly left-leaning libertarian.

    I done tolt y’all!

  2. filistro says:

    Hi Max.

    I gotta say, I fretted quite a bit over this test. I suppose it’s designed to overcome all kinds of bias and preconception, but still…

    For almost every question on the first page, for instance, I could make an argument with myself for an answer all the way from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.”

    For instance: “Nobody chooses what country to be born in, so it’s foolish to be proud of it.”

    Ponder THAT one for a while.

    Or “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Of course we all want to say “strongly disagree” (especially if we’re bleeding-heart liberals ;-))… but be honest… didn’t you liberals all start liking Ted Olson a whole lot better when he joined with David Boies to argue at SCOTUS in favor of gay marriage, and drove the wingers nuts?

  3. shortchain says:

    I’ve taken the test before, and I always score in the southwest quadrant, always south of Gandhi, but, depending on how I’m feeling on a particular day, sometimes a bit east and sometimes a lot west. Today I’m feeling particularly cranky, after observing the tripe on FFF this week: -6.75, -7.23.

  4. drfunguy says:

    Some would say, myself among them, that “on the one hand, on the other hand” ambivalent thinking is more characteristic of ‘liberal’ types of personalities.
    I seem to have moved farther left (still in the southwest qudrant of course) since I last took the test but the questions seemed a lot different than I recall.

  5. Max aka Birdpilot says:


    I think that there is less of an issue on those things you mention than you think. It’s both rational and rationale.

    We all need the sense of belonging, so the “chauvinistic” tendency is rational. That is true whether at the familial level, the tribal level or the national level, depending on one’s cultural “map”.

    Or, one accepts allies, even when rationale is necessary, dependent on the enemy and their strength and threat level. Temporary allegiances will be better than none at all in the face of greater threat. “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer” is a corollary of the “Enemy of my enemy . . .” concept.

    Circumstances will always trump morality.

    Enjoying a roast haunch of your neighbor is certainly immoral in most cultures. But, stranded on a mountaintop in the Andes after the plane goes down . . . Well then, a nice filet of fili begins to sound pretty damned good, so you better come awake when your name gets called!

  6. filistro says:

    Doc and shortchain… thanks for weighing in. It seems I’m in pretty good company 🙂

    Also when I studied the chart, it appeared I was almost as far away from George W. Bush as is ideologically possible. I really like that.

    Another thing… I don’t want to do the whole quiz again just to get to the results page but as I recall they didn’t show anybody who fell in the southeast quadrant. What kind of person would you have to be, ideologically, to be over there?

  7. shortchain says:


    Southeast would be anarcho-capitalist. Look for them in Somalia.

    There’s a reason we don’t see any prominent capitalist leaders who espouse anarchistic ideals. I just can’t think of it at the moment…

  8. filistro says:


    I don’t know why I’m having trouble with this particular quadrant. Something in the layout must be confusing me, I can’t seem to wrap my mind around it. You’re saying southeast would be people who believe in total, untrammeled capitalism as well as limited social controls?

  9. shortchain says:


    Apparently you don’t know any social Darwinists. Think Ayn Rand, etc.

    Oddly, as I said above, this class of people don’t seem to rise to become leaders of mass movements. They do, however, write bad fiction with amazing regularity.

  10. Mule Rider says:

    economic -0.25
    social -0.77

    Barely in the lower-left quadrant.

    I almost landed the peg right in the middle….however, I feel like some of those questions were slanted, biased, and even pointless in some cases in determining your left-right standing, so I take the results with a couple of teaspoons of salt.

  11. filistro says:

    Okay, I was wondering about Ayn Rand.

    They do, however, write bad fiction with amazing regularity. 😉

    Did you read Ayn Rand in college? Were you impressed? I’m ashamed to confess I was. I thought she was Deep, and Profound, and Wise. But a while ago I picked up The Fountainhead and couldn’t get through the first dozen pages. It was stupid, clumsy, awful to the point of embarrassment. Yet my kids, who were fairly sophisticated, also went through their Ayn Rand phase.

    I don’t why this stuff appeals so strongly to the late-adolescent mind. Maybe at that age when they’re so pathologically self-absorbed, they find the concept of objectivism soothing. It’s somebody telling them, “Hey, being totally selfish is not only acceptable… it’s, like, virtuous!

  12. Max aka Birdpilot says:


    You have some really tough times ahead as you discover your inner liberal. Just go with it, dude!

    Left-leaning libertarian! Who knew!

  13. filistro says:

    Muley’s in my quadrant!

    Actually that doesn’t surprise me too much, though I thought you might creep across the line just a bit on the “authoritarian” scale.

    Though on second thought… Muley and the Dalai Lama… not a dime’s worth of difference, right? 😉

  14. I haven’t moved appreciably since last time. -5.38, -5.85. And I hate the wording of most of the questions.

  15. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Gawd-dam buncha pot-smokin’, hippie-type, free-lovin’, commie, pinko-fags!

    Y’all gonna be the downfall of the Republic!

    God save the Queen!

  16. WA7th says:

    I wanted to skip some questions. I kept my pants on, so I should be allowed to excuse myself from questions that apply to those who chose to remove theirs.

    -4.12, -5.95. Almost dead center libertarian left, but one notch less left and one notch more libertarian. When my trigger finger itches, I take generic Benadryl.

    Madam Chairperson, at this point in the proceedings I move that we semi-formally strongly suggest voluntarily adopting the bathing schedule of the authoritarian right. It is gettin’ a little funky in here and the patchouli isn’t quite covering anymore, but that’s just my opinion. May I call for a 2nd to the motion while I step outside to stop my eyes from bleeding?

  17. parksie555 says:

    Parksie checking at 0.75, 2.05. Not sure what that means, would be a better test if there was a neutral 0 point option for stuff you really don’t care about that much or don’t think is really relevant.

  18. shortchain says:


    I read Atlas Shrugged and was not impressed. I got to the infamous sex scene and (although I’m hardly the most knowledgeable individual about sexual issues, and was young and even more innocent) I just started laughing and skimmed the rest of the book, chuckling most of the way. I’ve never been tempted to read anything else of Rand’s output.

    I preferred Heinlein. That was before he “went off” (IMO) — I was reading his stuff in the mid-sixties.

  19. filistro says:

    parksie is the only one on the plus side of both quadrants.

    From now on he’s in charge of looking after the money, buying the groceries, monitoring the bathrooms, shoveling the walks and reporting any illicit or questionable sexual activity.

    Hey parksie… I see your team pulled off a nice save in the final innings of your opener. My guys, OTOH, logged 13 runs. 🙂

  20. Monotreme says:

    I have done this quiz on a number of occasions and always end up pretty close to -3, -3.

    I’m a proud libertarian liberal, which is why I bristle when some commenters say things like “all liberals are statist”.

    As far as the “no zero point” option, that’s by design. When setting up a Likert scale (the technical name for “strongly oppose, mildly oppose,” etc.), you have to make a decision whether to give people the option of a midpoint “I don’t give a crap”, such as 3 on a 1-5 scale. With controversial topics like politics and social policy, many, many people will take that option whether it is what they really feel or not — just to get along. So, the designers took that option away, and forced a choice.

    Click to access likerttips.pdf

  21. parksie555 says:

    And two homers for young Arencibia – too bad I didn’t draft him :).

    Must be my whitebread suburban upbringing and engineer training that has forced me into my role as orderly drone 🙂

  22. Mainer says:

    Hmmm the questions are different. While I am still still in the SW quadrant I am closer to Mule than some of the rest of you. I guessing Grog would fall in there too. Gator would be up with Parksie and our two resident new comers way North of parksie.

  23. filistro says:

    @parksie.. Must be my whitebread suburban upbringing and engineer training that has forced me into my role as orderly drone

    See, I don’t believe that. I think political inclinations are somehow inborn… and I’ve seen studies of identical twins that seem to bear this out. Do you have an orderly mind because you’re an engineer… or did you choose engineering because it appealed to your naturally orderly mind? I would posit the latter.

    But, of course, all that is totally refuted by the political makeup of Utah and North Dakota… so who knows?

    I’m still waiting for Treme to address the issue of “nature vs nurture as regards the political compass”… and give us the definitive answer.

  24. filistro says:

    @Mainer… While I am still still in the SW quadrant I am closer to Mule than some of the rest of you.

    That surprises me a little. It seems to me I’ve been watching you move further LEFT over the past year…. and increasingly angrier with Republicans.

    My guess would be you still believe in a generally rightward-leaning philosophy, but the party is disappointing and upsetting you more all the time.

  25. Mr. Universe says:

    Me and Gandhi. We still hang.

  26. Monotreme says:

    If it weren’t the end of the semester, it’d be written already.

    In any case, I think it will be a series.

  27. filistro says:

    @Mr U… Me and Gandhi. We still hang.

    By the time I got to the last page, I was so frustrated by own complicated ambivalence and general wishy-washiness, I didn’t read all the fine print before checking out my placing.

    So maybe it told me and I missed it… how exactly did they get Ghandi’s score, and Dubya’s, and Stalin’s?

    I’m guessing these people didn’t all take the test, so… they just assumed it based on public statements and writings?

    Call me crazy, but I’m betting George W. Bush the person (as opposed to the political creation) would score closer to the center on both axes than his placing on the chart indicates.

    I think George Bush essentially just offered himself as an avatar for the Republican party and more or less suspended his own personal views for 8 years.

  28. Gator says:


    Wrong. Southeast quad –
    Economic Left/Right: 0.88
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.87

  29. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    About what I expected there G!

  30. filistro says:

    You know, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anybody in the southeast quad until now.

    Trust Gator to be a total contrarian! 😉

  31. Gator says:

    Whoever deleted my comments last week… F/U. You owe me an apology.

  32. GROG says:

    I’m in the very corner of the SE quadrant. Just barely South and Right of center.

    While I would NOT always support my country no matter what, I think one should always be proud of his country, I don’t think my race is superior, I don’t think the enemy of my enemy is my friend, I don’t think corporations should be trusted to protect the environment, I do believe in an eye for an eye, I think parents should sometimes spank their children, and I do think gay couples should be allowed to adopt.

    I can’t think of any others off the top of my head.

  33. filistro says:

    GROG… I answered all those questions exactly the same way you did except for one… I don’t believe in an eye for an eye.

  34. GROG says:

    See fili. We’re not that far apart, you and I.

  35. filistro says:

    @GROG… We’re not that far apart, you and I.

    I’ve always suspected that 😉

  36. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    The semi’s are about to start.

    Could y’all please hold it down for the next few hours.

    fili, you and parksie are responsible for the group.

  37. dcpetterson says:

    I scored

    Economic Left/Right: -7.50
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.44

    Another of those leftie libertarians.

  38. shortchain says:

    I’m left-handed, too, so I’m a leftie leftie libertarian.

  39. Brian says:

    -5, -4.72

    Pretty much right in the middle of the lower left hand quadrant. Seems we don’t have anyone that’s hardcore in the upper half.

  40. -9.00, -6.75. So, west by southwest. That’s a little farther left than usual, but not by much. I’m usually in the southwest quadrant of the southwest quadrant. I’d certainly get a different score if there were questions about guns instead of sex. Different issues get different responses.

  41. filistro says:

    @ Proud Democrat… -9.00, -6.75

    Whoa! A real lefty! Welcome, it’s nice to see you here. And I gotta say, this sentence:

    I’d certainly get a different score if there were questions about guns instead of sex

    …is tempting to me on so many levels, but I’m trying to be good… 🙂

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