While only a congenital idiot would call Stephen Harper a fascist, most would label him a right winger in today’s political parlance, some derisively, others with pride.
Politically speaking, Harper is, arguably, farther right than Adolf Hitler,* if all you take into account are his economic ideas. On other significant questions, thankfully, Harper is in another universe (though I wish he would get over his apparent shared fondness for things military).
How helpful is it, then, to describe Hitler and Harper as right wingers? Or Joseph Stalin and the Dalai Lama as lefties? Not helpful at all, in my experience, and frequently a cause of political confusion.
Some clever folks at The Political Compass have come up with an alternative to the worn-out left-right paradigm that takes into an account social issues, ideas about authority, individual freedoms and so on. By completing a short, five minute questionnaire you can determine where you live on the political landscape and how you compare with what passes for political leadership today.
I tried it out and learned that instead of merely being a left winger, that I lived somewhere in the bottom left quadrant near the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela. How cool is that?!
(I also determined that my partner-in-life is a tad more authoritarian than I, though equally left-wing, I hasten to add. Ahem. So, if you involve friends, comrades and spouses in this exercise, the social learning potential is, well, interesting.)
Having taken the test and graphically illustrated my distance from Robert Mugabe (a man I once admired for his leading role in the liberation of Zimbabwe), I’m still not sure what to do with this little tool. If you have some thoughts on this, please feel free to share them here.
* Adolf Hitler’s relative position on the left-right continuum is plotted at The Political Compass, and dammit, he is farther left than Harper.