Exploring Political Values: Understanding the Factors that Shape Your Opinions

8 Political Values That Shape Your Political Opinions

Often people align themselves with a political party or candidate without having a clear understanding as to why. This activity can help you explore the underlying values that shape your opinions about public policy.

This quiz differs from the original political compass test by measuring your views on eight opposing values aligned across four different political axes.

1. Liberty

Liberty is a positive concept that means freedom from restraints or freedom to act as one chooses. Those who score higher in Liberty prioritize individualism, free will and self-determination and resent authority that restricts liberty. They tend to be Libertarians.

People who have LibertyValues of paleo often value heritage and are skeptical of woke culture. They may like neoclassical economics. They may also prefer 12Wackies, a modified version of 8values that measures alignment with off-compass ideologies.

2. Equality

Equality is the belief that people should not be treated differently because of how they are born, where they are from, their race, religion or disability. It is a very important value for political communication, particularly when it comes to welfare politics and the distribution of wealth.

Proponents of equality argue that greater equality of outcome reduces relative poverty and promotes social cohesion. However, critics of equality argue that it can actually lead to more absolute poverty if it deters people from working hard.

3. Justice

One of the most important political values is justice. This includes not stealing or lying, but also a duty to help the poor and not interfere with others’ work.

In the Republic, Socrates has a discussion of this value with his interlocutors. They agree that a completely good society requires wisdom among leaders, courage in defenders and temperance among the producers. Whatever is left over must be justice.

This quiz can help you understand your political beliefs and bridge the gap between different ideologies. You can also take a more in-depth look at your ideology with 12Wackies and 8dreams, modified versions of 8Values that focus on off-compass ideologies.

4. Openness to Change

Researchers have found that people’s personal values and core political values shape how they approach politics. These values are important predictors of their beliefs about the role of government.

Across the world, those on the ideological left of the spectrum are more likely to believe that their country will be better off if it is open to change. In contrast, those on the right of the spectrum are more likely to believe that the country will be better off if it sticks with its traditions and way of life.

5. Freedom

The freedom of people to express their opinions publicly without government interference (except for defamation, inciting panic, creating fighting words, promoting crime or sedition). This includes the freedom of press and the right to protest.

The freedom of people to participate in democratic elections and to hold officeholders accountable for their policies. This entails the freedom of citizens to advocate for their interests, including political minorities. This also requires a strong rule of law. A free economy depends on these conditions.

6. Free Enterprise

Free enterprise is a core American value and the cornerstone of a conservative philosophy that seeks to limit government involvement in economic matters. It advocates for market efficiency, consumer rights, financial security and stability, growth opportunities, and justice.

Free enterprise values connect with a laissez-faire economic system that emphasizes private property ownership, profit as an incentive, and competitive bidding in the marketplace. However, this does not preclude a role for government regulations to help manage market instability or nurture new industries.

7. Individualism

Individualism is the belief that people should be judged by their actions, rather than their membership of a group. Individualists are also likely to have higher tolerance for differences among individuals.

Governments in countries with high levels of individualism may be more reluctant to impose mobility restrictions. This can thwart the fight against COVID-19 by reducing policy adherence. However, a pool of collectivist values also gained in importance, including those related to family and close relationships, personal integrity and interpersonal harmony (“logical”, “mature love” and “true friendship”). These have an opposite effect.

8. Tradition

It is a crucial question for political analysis, that of why certain traditions gain resonance, whereas others do not. This is why I use the term resonance rather than hegemonic or dominant – terms that carry connotations of power and which are arguably less suitable for work on traditions in their own right.

Traditions are partly constitutive of the beliefs that uphold them and they bind actors together in unacknowledged inter-subjective communities. They can help to explain the relative success of certain ideologies in particular contexts.

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