The Political Compass
Having completed the test measuring the prevailing political orientation, it has turned out that I lean more to the left libertarian ideology. My results are about -3 and -4 on both axis, which makes my position close to the ones of Mahatma Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, and some other representatives of the left libertarian ideology. The closest historical person with views that are similar to mine, according to the political compass, is a prominent Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi. However, prior to analyzing his ideology and political views, it seems reasonable to define the notion of the left libertarianism. The idea posted on the website with the test supposing that the lines between various ideologies are often blurred is especially acute in terms of the left libertarianism as it is often confused with ordinary libertarianism and even some right-winged ideologies. Contrary to traditional libertarians, the left ones reject their statism (Gonzotimes, 2011). They are always on the marginalized and downtrodden side. The left libertarian ideology may be characterized by the Gary Cartier’s phrase “socialist ends by free market means” (Gonzotimes, 2011).
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi or as he is often referred to Mahatma was the worldwide known leader of the Indian nationalist movement. He is often called the great soul and the father of the nation by the citizens of his country (BBC, 2012). Furthermore, he is usually designated as the trigger of the movement within his country aimed at gaining independence from the British rule. In terms of his political orientation, he is traditionally called the representative of the left wing ideology. On the political compass, he is placed in the square intended for the left libertarian members. Although his contribution into the case of the Indian independence as well as the one into the development of the political thought in his country is indisputable. The entity of all his ideas and beliefs seems to represent a rather controversial system that has evolved throughout the years and has been altered to suit his agenda.
His life principle was, according to some of his biographies, “It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view” (Roy, 2012). The only thing that remained stable was his religious views and his deep conviction that he had to follow the path of truth. He believed that equality was the integral part of the society. However, despite his statements about the equality of all social classes and nations, he threatened to fasten himself to death when the British government wanted to give the Untouchables the right to participate in the elections. In spite of such discrepancies, he was really devoted to the case of establishing the equality of all religious and ethnic groups in India. Coming from the middle class and being a quite well-off citizen, he dressed in the peasant clothes and claimed that simplicity was the way towards the enlightenment. Thus, he tried to unite both the Hindis and the Muslims in one of his satyagraha campaigns (Whitehouse, 2001). One of the major outstanding features of the Mahatma’s ideology was his non-violence mass movement. However, he was unable to control the rapidly escalating movements that quickly became militant and involved victims on both sides. He was enormously criticized for his decision to call off the movement after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre (Whitehouse, 2012). His followers did not comprehend the underlying reasons of such a decision as they were gaining moderate successes at the time. Belief in the power of the non-violent ideology distinguished him from the rest of the left-winged leaders. In terms of technological progress and economic development, Mahatma Gandhi was against the vast technological advances and supposed that the Indian market had to be domestic oriented and closed to the foreign exports that diminished the value of the native production. He largely supported peasantry and simple workers, though he promised not to deprive the wealthy capitalists of their possessions out of unjust reasons (Whitehouse, 2012).
My political views slightly differ from the ones of Mahatma Gandhi, which is obvious and inevitable due to different cultural backgrounds and the drastically different living circumstances. The times have changed and nowadays the issues that are urgent for the whole mankind have not been vital for the Indians. However, I utterly agree with Mahatma that equality should be the integral part of the society. I support it in all its manifestations, ranging from the gender equality and to the elimination of racism. It does not mean that I support economic equality as well, but rather equal opportunities to acquiring economic benefits. Free market should be really free rather than contribute to the prosperity of huge state-supported corporations that often establish monopolies in certain spheres, which must not happen on the free market. None of the races is superior as well as it is unjust to determine the civilized and savage nations as they simply have different cultures. Homosexuality, explicit sexuality as well as other intimate issues are matters of personal choice and cannot be dictated by the society or government. The mode of governmental rule has to be democratic and oriented at benefitting people rather than economic giants or the party’s elite. Mahatma deeply believed that non-violence was the key to peace and harmony. Although this idea seems to be attractive, it is rather utopian in the existing circumstances when the country is deemed strong when it is advanced in terms of its military powers. I suppose that modest levels of violence, for instance, in the domain of criminal prosecution or court sentencing, is unavoidable nowadays as it is the most effective way of preventing wars and violent outbursts. Withal, I tend to agree with the majority of dogmas postulated by the left libertarians. The most crucial value is freedom in all spheres of human life.
It is also true for such an urgent issue as the gay marriage, the debates around which have long been raging in the USA. On November 6, 2012, the same-sex marriage was approved by the voters in Maine, Maryland, and Washington (The New York Times, 2012). Furthermore, this year there has been elected the first openly gay member of the Senate in the State of Wisconsin (Davies, 2012). These events have been monumental for the LGBT fighters who advocate for the elimination of the law provision defining that marriage can be legally approved only between a man and a woman. Nowadays, nine US states legally allow same-sex couples to register their relationships. However, there are still about 40% of the Americans who are against the legalization of the gay marriage as the common societal phenomenon (The Telegraph, 2012). These people are even united in various groups that post their opinions in the social media, for instance Stop Gay Marriage in the US Constitution 2012 on Facebook. An interesting fact is that there has recently been a scandal concerning the sexual orientation of Mahatma Gandhi who has been claimed to have a love affair with a German bodybuilder and architect Hermann Kallenbach (Roy, 2012).
Another topical issue for the US society is the one concerning the war on terror announced after the 9/11 events. This issue is extremely controversial and raises much discussion both in the country and in the world. On the one hand, it seems crucial to fight against terrorism in all its forms (The FBI, 2012). On the other hand, there are claims that the war on terror has become a justification of the politicians’ pursuing their hidden agendas. For instance, the government spends annually “$11 billion just keeping secrets from the American public” (Glaser, 2012). The recent military operations in Libya that have officially conducted as pre-emptive actions raise questions about their appropriateness and legitimacy (German, 2012). Certain extents of violence for the sake of the people’s well-being may be justified, but only when they have been proved to be necessary, beneficial, and unavoidable. The US foreign policy weakens the country’s status on the international geo-political arena making it look like an aggressor rather than the facilitator of peace and prosperity.
I am inclined to think that the political compass is an extremely valuable resource for measuring the political orientation in the world, where the lines between miscellaneous ideologies have been significantly blurred. Initially, I have not expected that my views could be close to the ones of Mahatma Gandhi. Having researched this prominent historical figure, I have come to the conclusion that our views have some essential features in common.
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