It’s timely to stress that The Political Compass has been on the internet since 2001. The uniqueness of our take on politics is reflected in the gratifyingly enthusiastic reviews we’ve enjoyed in the national media of many countries from our earliest years — as well as from many teachers and academics who continue to use our work.
The enduring appeal of The Political Compass lies in its universality, and the fact that it’s not a fly-by-night election-time survey, but a continually accessible profile of a political personality applicable to all democracies. Although we’d like the time to develop more updates than we can sometimes offer, we remain a tool for comparing the politics of countries and well-known political figures, past and present. We invite you to check out some of our other features, such as the Iconochasms — a word that we coined in our early life, and one which is now widely used on the internet.
Our essential point is that Left and Right, although far from obsolete, are essentially a measure of economics. As political establishments adopt either enthusiastically or reluctantly the prevailing economic orthodoxy — the neo-liberal strain of capitalism — the Left-Right division between mainstream parties becomes increasingly blurred. Instead, party differences tend to be more about identity issues. In the narrowing debate, our social scale is more crucial than ever.
We’re indebted to people like Wilhelm Reich, Hans Eysenck and Theodor Adorno for their ground-breaking work in this field. We believe that, in an age of diminishing ideology, The Political Compass helps a new generation in particular to get a better idea of where they stand politically — and the sort of political company they keep.
A key source of revenue has been from the copyright licenses of our images, which appear in a number of education books.
Our weakest point is commercialism, so it was always inevitable that others with those skills would tinker a little around the edges of our basic concept — and even our name — and repackage it as a national issues-based tool for commercial sponsorship for a few weeks during national elections; or perhaps simply as yet another of those “fun” internet personality tests; or maybe just for five minutes of Facebook fame, with the source almost invariably unacknowledged. The Political Compass continues to offer something more substantial all year round, and we look forward to keeping our hundreds of thousands of visitors stimulated for years to come.
Take the test (it’s entirely anonymous and your responses are not logged) — but be sure to check out our other pages as well!