Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Columnist has Political Compass spinning with contradictions


Guns, Dolce & Gabbana, David Suzuki's scream and champagne socialist - what does Political Compass say about our ideology?

Bill Tieleman and Thompson submachine gun - in legal Las Vegas gun range - never question a columnist holding an automatic weapon
Online Political Compass tests your beliefs - but don't expect clarity!

Bill Tieleman’s 24 hours/The Tyee column

Tuesday August 14, 2012

By Bill Tieleman

"If any ideology is so serious that you can't have fun while you're doing it, it's probably too serious."
- Author Larry Wall
Are you right-wing or left-wing? Are you a social liberal or conservative?
What exactly is your ideology? And how can you tell?
Tough questions anytime and more difficult still at a time when religion is fading as a moral compass and millions of different issues bombard us through electronic media.
Fortunately, help is at hand. At the Political Compass website you can take a short test and find out not only where you stand, but who's there beside you.
And for politically confused Canadians, or those like me who confound description, it couldn't come soon enough.
Navigate your politics
The Political Compass isn't a simple left versus right indicator, because that's not only too simple but simply inaccurate. It adds another dimension -- authoritarian or libertarian -- to paint a more telling picture by dividing ideology into four quadrants.
For example, on the extreme end both Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin were authoritarian but the ex-Russian communist was on the left side, while the former German fascist was surprisingly only a bit right of centre.
Down in the left and libertarian/anarchist quadrant is Indian independence leader and pacifist Mahatma Gandhi.
Modern political leaders from Canada's Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper to U.S. President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney to Australian Labour Party Prime Minister Julia Gillard, South African President Jacob Zuma and British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband are all grouped relatively close together in the middle of the right-authoritarian quadrant.
Only French Socialist President Francois Hollande and Greek opposition leader Alexis Tsipras can be found in the left-libertarian quadrant.
But if you take the test you may not agree with the results -- and directing voters to their political home can be very controversial.
The CBC ran into major criticism during the 2011 federal election when it promoted its own "Vote Compass" that Conservatives claimed was a biased tool that drove voters to its opponents by slanting the questions.
CBC is currently running another Vote Compass for the Quebec provincial election, as it no doubt will for B.C. in 2013's election.
In all directions
But does it work? Consider my own contradictory political personality, which regular bemuses friends and foes.
I am a longtime supporter of the left-wing New Democratic Party and was once communications director to Premier Glen Clark and B.C. Federation of Labour president Ken Georgetti in the 1990s, but I have also run my own small business for 14 years serving businesses, unions, non-profits and government.
I enjoy shooting handguns -- I'm decent with a .45 Colt or 9 mm Glock -- and have also fired Thompson and Uzi submachine guns, all legally of course, but I oppose ending the long gun registry.
My beliefs include supporting choice on abortion and the right to euthanasia, but I detest capital punishment.
I voted in favour of the 2010 Winter Olympics being held in Vancouver to help our economy, then escaped to Mexico to avoid most events.
I'm on the left but won't visit Cuba because of its dictatorial government, and I received death threats from inside China after suggesting readers boycott products from that brutally repressive communist regime.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals gets my financial support but I enjoy the occasional taste of "banned in California" foie gras and vegan-reviled veal.
My opponents describe me as a champagne-sipping socialist in Armani clothes and they're correct -- unless I'm being an XO cognac connoisseur in Dolce & Gabbana gear -- but I usually write about social justice issues.
I have friends in all political parties but prefer the company of honest conservatives over whiny bleeding heart liberals.
I fought the unfair B.C. Liberals' carbon tax, drive a 5.0 liter V-8 Mustang GT and and was screamed at in public by David Suzuki, yet oppose the Enbridge pipeline plan and want more tax money to improve public transit.
I helped organize Fight HST to defeat the Harmonized Sales Tax but think taxes on the wealthy and corporations are too low.
The politician whose home I've visited the most isn't that of any NDP leader but instead of former right-wing Social Credit premier Bill Vander Zalm.
Bill Tieleman with Bill Vander Zalm during Fight HST campaign
So where do I fit in ideologically on the Political Compass?
Actually, somewhere to the left and more libertarian side of retired South African President Nelson Mandela and Tibetan Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama.
Extremely good company to keep -- but despite the compass direction, I'm still confusing people.

.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm a Economic Left/Right: -5.00,
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.72

Which makes me a classical libertarian collectivism of anarcho-syndicalism, or: libertarian socialist.

Unknown said...

I can see why the CBC was criticized for using this. I had a number of problems with how questions/options were framed. Ended up holding my nose and picking what was the best option- even if I wasn't entirely in favour of it. I think more thought, maybe more defining, was needed- not just pigeon holding people.

Unknown said...

I can see why the CBC was criticized for using this. I had a number of problems with how questions/options were framed. Ended up holding my nose and picking what was the best option- even if I wasn't entirely in favour of it. I think more thought, maybe more defining, was needed- not just pigeon holding people.

Bill Tieleman said...

For those interested - former BC Liberal MLA and current Christy Clark staffer Lorne Mayencourt says on Twitter that my photo above is "tasteless" and I should take it down. I've declined Lorne's advice and asked why?

Anonymous said...

Staright answer is well it invokes violence.

Most NDPers are pacifists they would not take up arms to defend country if they were asked. Marvellous.

In fact, many would run to the darkest basement if there was a terrorist invasion of sorts. Or run to The North or vacation in Cuba or Angola or another socialist country until the danger passed. Great.

It is offensive even to those who
respect the rights of those who want to legally own firearms for hunting and shooting off a box of .22's at the gun range.

The attitude is not sensible and plays on a violent behaviour.

and with your propensity for liking fine wine, well guns and wine don't mix. Won't even get into how your fancy for hot cars enters this scenario.

If you got pulled over with all that junk in the trunk, the cop would run out the rest of his shift writing a report, not being out there catching bad guys. Great. Just because you want to play a cigar chompin' wine swiggin' head bandanna wearin' urban Rambo drivin' hot metal.

Heck why not trade that Mustang (which is definately bourgoise) for a 68 VW Micro Bus? If you're going to continue being left wing, drive a left wing vehicle.

Safety off that weapon Sgt Brubaker before coming out with sensless remarks. Might want to safety off the keyboard before making such inane remarks too.

The picture is enticing violence.

and Bill one more thing. That Charlie's Angels pose of yours isn't makin' it.

DPL said...

Anon 4:28:00 has some strange idea about NDP folks. I've supported the NDP since leaving the RCAF/CAF after 22 years. We were trained to kill, not aim for a leg or arm. Pacifist, no way. Citizens who did the job many wouldn't consider doing. My father served this country in WW!, my sister and two brothers served in WW2( oldest wounded quite badly but fooled the experts and lived. He could do things with a weapon that amazed us all. said it kept him alive)

The stuff we carried in our aircraft would make Bill's machine gun look like a toy. If he wants to rent a weapon, why not. He isn't about to shoot anyone with the thing. I once even owned a small automatic pistol, but got tired of the paper work, but do defend the gun registry.

I and thousands of others served to protect our country.We ranged across the political spectrum. My cars ranged from a Rover, MGA,( sold it to my navigator and still regret doing so). Never quite managed a Mustang, but the desire for one still exists Our family owned a couple of small all track vehicles, and I had most of a Harvard trainer shortly after my 14 birthday and have driven Volvo's for the last 25 years. Try not to fit all of us so called lefties into some mold. And remember just how many Canadian men served in Spain against a Fascist.

Anonymous said...

"Anon 4:28:00 has some strange idea about NDP folks. I've supported the NDP since leaving the RCAF/CAF after 22 years. We were trained to kill, not aim for a leg or arm. Pacifist, no way. Citizens who did the job many wouldn't consider doing."

You obviously didn't see the Young New Democrats at UBC during the 1980s. They wouldn't even go near an Air Force base except to protest. Saw them alot when I was at UBC, and the lot at Simon Fraser were more left wing.

"My father served this country in WW!, my sister and two brothers served in WW2( oldest wounded quite badly but fooled the experts and lived. He could do things with a weapon that amazed us all. said it kept him alive)"

Yeah so? My Dad did the same thing as did two uncles and several aunts. Fortunately none were seriously wounded.

"The stuff we carried in our aircraft would make Bill's machine gun look like a toy. If he wants to rent a weapon, why not. He isn't about to shoot anyone with the thing. I once even owned a small automatic pistol, but got tired of the paper work, but do defend the gun registry."

Well good for you. That pose of Bill playing Urban Rambo sends a wrong message. If he's playing Sabrina the Charlie Angels gal, he's not makin it.

Bill an do what he wants, but that message of his is wrong in my book. If he wants to show bravado and machismo he can if he wants, but hopefully without looking silly. The one thing missing on that picture is a torn shirt and a beefy buff chest. Not a pose for recruiting poster for the Canadian Forces.

and DPL, the lesson here is also don't try to fit conservatives and right wingers into a mold. Figure how many served in Spain against a Fascist, and recently in Afganistan.

Anonymous said...

This Political Compass points to an unspoken fact about people's political identity. Take me. I'm far left on economics (-9.3) and moderate on culture (-3.6). It is therefore possible to be a leftist and not give a hoot about gay rights, or be an ubercapitalist gay (10 and -5). It is also possible to be a Paul Ryan (10.0 and 10.0) or Saddam Hussein (-8 and 6). This makes politics so interesting, because it is so complex.

Ken in Victoria said...

Nice column Mr. Tieleman. I enjoy your posting. Keep up with comments. Thank you bill.

NeoDude said...

Of course you're still confusing people. I always assumed it was your job description because it's what you do best. So many world leaders in the Authoritarian Right quadrant and from my point of view (-7.50, -7.13) almost all available alternatives to Conservative tyranny are closer to Harper than my supposed ideology. Only the NDP (edging closer to upper right all the time) are still remotely close. In fact the closest neighbor I could find from reading this blog and the analysis is . . . Bill Tieleman?? Go ahead Bill, confuse me some more. Why was it again, that you support keeping our political system as is (Authoritarian Right) while pretending to be in opposition to their power base? I look forward to a long friendship with you, as soon as I see an intelligent believable answer.

Bill Tieleman said...

Welcome back NeoDude -it's been too long. I hope you have been well.

But you are mistaken in saying I support keeping our political system as it is - not at all. I simply do not support changing the electoral system - certainly not with the wacky STV.

There are many changes that could be made without that - a supermajority for passing budgets, independent hiring of MLA and cabinet staff, a raft of improvements to legislative matters - and you and I might just agree on most.

Anonymous said...

Bill I doubt "independent hiring of MLA and cabinet staff" would work. They are political positions,
and if Cabinet staff included the Premier's Office, what happens if there is a clash of political idealogy? Said staff wouldn't last very long. For example could you last long as Communications Expert in the VanderZalm Premier's Office when he was Premier? I doubt very much. You both worked together on one common thing, but VanderZalm was quite different as Premier. What you saw in him was not the same VanderZalm that plagued Social Credit.

I souldn't worry about any "Supermajority of passing budgets". That will happen in 2014 when Minister of Finance Bruce Ralston tables his first budget.

But I do agree with you on the STV. It was wacky to say the least. I did not vote for it but that was not attributed to any marketing by your STV group. I wanted to see a one member per riding transferrable ballot system of the likes that are used to elect legislature members in Victoria Australia. There was no need for for the mini fiefdoms of multiple members.

NeoDude's using of the tyranny label is comical. Must be 100% Libertarian and yet gets the benifits of government he hates.

NeoDude said...

Right you are, Bill. It has been too long and I think we could find a lot to agree on for ultimate legislative changes. But none of that will happen as long as we keep relying on majority governments with excessive financial backing pulling the strings. We need people of good conscience leading us, nobody at any government level in Canada leaps to my mind.

Oh and the tyranny label was meant to be tongue in cheek yet there is still a bit of truth in it. I'm not afraid to label our country as latently fascist. Perhaps I will have to go into that in more detail later. What few "benefits" I may receive, I would gladly trade in for a more benevolent government.

Anonymous said...

"Oh and the tyranny label was meant to be tongue in cheek yet there is still a bit of truth in it. I'm not afraid to label our country as latently fascist."

NeoDude, you've most likely never lived in a true fascist country. If you did, and make very public critical comments about the govenrment, you'd receive a late night knock on the door, and the next morning, your family would be frantially wondering where you disappeared to.

This blog wouldn't exist either and the owner also would "disappear".

"Perhaps I will have to go into that in more detail later. What few "benefits" I may receive, I would gladly trade in for a more benevolent government."

Well trade them in now. You won't see a government 100% to your liking.

Trading in your benifits will at least save money and benfits can go to someone who actually apperciates them.