An Aussie Cynics Guide to Politics Using Political Compass

cycle of Despair

Des Pensable copyright 2016

Part One – the Politics of YOU

Most Aussies dislike politics. It’s boring and confusing but we have a compulsory voting system which means we have to vote every couple of years for Federal, State and Council elections. Many people only decide who to vote for minutes before voting, they don’t know or care to know about the candidates and want to get it over and done as quickly as possible then forget about it.

If you are one of these people then this short guide is for you.

We’re all free people in a wonderful free Australian society aren’t we?

Let’s think about that for a few moments. If we lived alone on an island we could do as we pleased but we don’t. We mainly live in cities and towns with lots of others who have all sorts of strange personal and religious beliefs on how they want to live.

So to live together in harmony with a minimum of conflict some members of our society have created rules – lots of rules called laws which we are all obliged to accept and penalised if we don’t. You are free to do as you please as long as you obey the laws and don’t get caught breaking them.

In Australia we have a constitution which is simply a document that lays out a basic set of rules as to how the country will operate within our internationally agreed borders. Then we have laws that operate Australia wide, others that operate in each state and others that operate in your council area.

These laws have controlled everything you’ve done since before your birth and will control what happens every day of your life until you die.  When you were born you received a birth certificate which gave you certain rights but also obligations and responsibilities within our national boundaries.

You have to go to school from a certain age; you have to behave in certain socially accepted ways; you can only have sex after a certain age; you can only marry a person of the opposite gender after reaching a certain age; you can only drive a car after a certain age and must drive within the rules. You can only use certain drugs but not others.

You can’t assault or kill other people; you can’t steal their property; you can’t smoke in restaurants or public places. You can do or can’t do many things that other people outside our national borders can or can’t do BUT you are free to do whatever you like as long as you are prepared to accept the penalty if you get caught.

Your working conditions are controlled. You have to pay taxes on your labor. You have to pay your debt to the bank. You have to work every day to pay your way to be able to live where you do. You have to obey all these countless rules and laws so you really must love rules.

Wrong! Everybody hates rules but we are conditioned to accept them and many people even fear having no rules. So if we must have rules perhaps we should be sure the rules that we do have are tolerable.

Politics has created all the rules that control your daily behavior so you really do have a vested interest in any new rules or changes to current rules as they may affect you in a beneficial or detrimental way.

You can sometimes influence which rules you like and those you dislike through voting and lobbying your local politician. The trick is to choose the right politician that thinks the same way as you do.

This where political parties such as the Greens, Katter, Labor, Liberals and Nationals Parties are supposed to help. They are groups of people that are supposed to think alike.  They tell you a few of things you want to hear and expect you vote for them.

Unfortunately, political parties attract power loving people that are often corrupt dishonest and deceitful. The parties often have policies that you like as well as ones you don’t like. They have sneaky hidden agendas. They often do the opposite after the election to what they said they would do before the election.

Trust in politicians is very low. Only 31% of Australians have confidence in their political parties. Only 46% believe it makes a difference which party is in power. Its easy to ask do our politicians earn their pay but hard to get an answer.

The Aussie mass media doesn’t help as it is corporate controlled and coercive actively trying to manipulate our minds . It’s selective, presenting only issues that its vested interests wish to be pushed and often censors important news or information by omission. This leaves it to each Aussie to find out what is true or false.

Since it has becomes difficult to get the truth, it has become confusing, so many people become complacent, they don’t register, vote informal or take a punt because the law in Australia says you have to vote.

The question is how do your personal ideas, beliefs, wishes and desires align with the actual policies of the parties and politicians.

It turns out that there are several internet based sites that will do this. Some look at social/economic/ political issues from an international perspective allowing you to see how your political beliefs compare to those of other people around the world.

Other sites allow you to compare your political beliefs with those within your own country, state or locality. In this first article (part 1) we’ll look at how your Aussie personal political beliefs compare to those around the world.

This is where Political Compass can help. It’s a computerized method of mapping out the attitudes of both people and political parties to a variety of social /economic / political issues that influence every country’s laws and their people’s individual rights and freedom.

It’s run by an international non-profit organisation that uses the same set of questions for everyone around the world. You are not recorded so you remain anonymous. You can choose whether to tell others or not.

By knowing your own Political Compass coordinates and those of other people and parties you can immediately get an idea whether they have similar beliefs and personal values to your own.

It’s very simple to do.

  1. You go to the Political Compass web site answer a series of questions and get back your Political Compass X, Y coordinates that show where you fit on a graph of social / economic/ political attitudes.
  2. You can compare your results with other people, politicians and political parties in a wide variety of countries. The closer their coordinated are to your coordinates the closer their beliefs, attitudes and actions are likely to align with yours.

Political Compass coordinates are available on line for most political parties and many politicians and celebrities in many of the world’s countries. You can compare your attitudes to people both current and from the past. You can also see how people and political parties have changed over time.

You can get your coordinates here.

Here is an example showing a Political Compass graph containing high profile politicians past and present.

political people

In part 2    We will examine how to interpret your Political Compass coordinates.

Published by

Des Pensable

Des is a native of Sydney where he currently lives with his partner Joanne. He has a PhD in neuroscience and worked as a biomedical scientist where he published widely in several areas of science. Since retiring, he’s been a keen writer of poetry, stories and philosophy which appear on his web, blog site and on line literary publications. He is also a performance poet that appears regularly in venues around Sydney.

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