Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Useful Idiots Devise a Quiz

There’s a political questionnaire making the blog rounds. It’s a bizarre and simplistic “quiz” loaded with questions that are difficult to answer with any real meaning. After responding to these strangely phrased “do-you-still-beat-your-wife” examples, you get your score and find out what your label is. Everything from Totalitarian to Socialist to Capitalist to Centrist Democrat -- I didn't read them all.

No, I’m not going to link to the test. It’s easy enough to find on many blogs. Besides, since the whole thing looks like something out of the old Pravda I’m not going to join in. But in order to show you some of the creepiness, I’ve excerpted a few of the items so you can judge for yourself.

By the way, at the end of the test, they ask how you voted in the last election. So far, the respondents line up like this:

KERRY: 211,649
BUSH: 109,683

Here are some of the questions or statements, along with my comments. They are not in the order they appear in the “test”; I just picked them at random. Note that you have four choices ranging from "Strongly Disagree" on through "Strongly Agree" --there are no "Maybe" or "Sometimes" choices:

Being poor and black is an advantage in getting into college.
How do you answer that? In some cases it is, but not always. And it certainly is a disadvantage when it comes to actually staying the course. Black kids drop out of college at an alarming rate, disaffected and defeated by a system designed to take their money (or the government's). This question can’t really be answered in a way that’s honest.

America isn't as free as it thinks it is.
This may be the case, depending on which “America” you talk to. Or which immigrant. Are we losing population or are we gaining? Are people lining up to come here or are they lining up to leave? What is the questioner's definition of "free"?

Since parents can't be trusted to monitor what their children watch, TV content needs to be more regulated.
How’s that for snarky? I want the content regulated so my senses aren’t assaulted when I turn the thing on. It has nothing to do with trusting or not trusting parents….who don’t stand guard duty 24/7 on their kids anyway.

If a company invents a pill that cures cancer, they should be allowed to charge whatever they want for it.
The old socialist double bind. No big pharma company is going to do that; they’d get clobbered eventually in the market and they know it. On the other hand, what did it cost them to go through the bureaucratic maze to get the pill to market?

Blind patriotism is a very bad thing.
At no point in this exercise do you have the opportunity to observe whether you think patriotism is good. Only “blind” patriotism is on the table.

It bugs me when somebody names their child something like 'Sunshine' or 'Charm'.
It doesn’t “bug” me so much as it lets me peg their mindset. People identify and project their hopes and dreams onto their kids. “Sunshine” has a lot to live up to at her house.

People raising children have a responsibility to live up to society's standards.
Uh…say what? Since part of raising children is civilizing them, what is this question supposed to indicate?

Tradition is a reliable guide in deciding what's right.
It would have been an answerable question if they'd asked if it might be just one of the guides for decision-making. But you don’t get any nuance here.

I could continue fisking this thing, but you get the idea. Load the questions and point them at your head. "Bang!" You’re whatever they say you are.

Here’s another interesting twist. They have some follow-up yes/no choices, which is reasonable enough: What’s your view on abortion, the death penalty, gun control, the War on Drugs, and the War on Iraq. Notice it's not in Iraq, but on Iraq. Get it? Did you know we were at war with Iraq? I didn't either.

But the twist gets kinkier, because here’s their tabulation of the results:

42% pro-choice
( that means 58% are AGAINST it)

27% pro-death penalty
(oh, maybe they’re just using the “pro” stats here. Sorry )

35% for gun control
(that passes their “pro” alignment. Also means 65% of us like guns, which they neglect to mention)

28% against the War on Drugs
( whoa...now we’ve got an “against” instead of a “pro”. What gives here? It’s also surprising that so many Kerry supporters favor the war on drugs. Why phrase the result this way? Beats me -- lack of education in logic or statistics maybe?)

15% for the War on Iraq
(the creepy question. No wonder they get this result, considering the way they phrase it)

As Stephen Vincent said, "words matter." I wish they did for these folks.


At 2:58 AM, Blogger hank_F_M said...

You missed one.

The radio buttons were set so that if you did not answer the question it count the aswer in one of the groups.

Since the questions are as badly worded as you note there are problally a lot "unasered" questions.

I woner how much bias that caused

At 4:28 PM, Blogger Politica said...

I came across that site, too, at least I think it's the same one. I simply couldn't answer many of the questions. But unlike Hank_f_m, it wouldn't let me advance to the next group unless I responded to everything. I wrote to the creator, but didn't get an answer.


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