Political Quiz

Nate Coffman's Integrative Tools

new politics

In our emergent and liminal communities, the division is not exactly between superficial ideas about Left & Right but rather between those who feel strongly that we (a) need to attend to politics as a key arena for transformation, and those who feel that (b) politics is an addictive, pointless trap that never really changes anything. 

Nate Coffman's Plural Politics Quiz is an interesting example of a youthful, integrally-informed, new wave of political projects that try to undermine that divide. 

The general idea is to build political tools, categories, proposals & procedures that emerge from (and subtly reinforce) something like Game B psychology.

The theory behind Coffman's 15min online self-diagnosis is that we actually can, with a little effort, start building for higher degrees of integration and post-polarization by changing the frame of our political self-identification.

Many people still want to engage with politics.  They feel the importance of identifying themselves as agents in the political arena of culture.  Nonetheless, they find themselves weary, wary & unimpressed by the trivial oversimplification of the conventional left/right spectrum. 

This explains the rise of popular online tools like the political compass (which adds an additional axis of authoritarian/libertarian to left/right) and the recent discourse around the Hidden Tribes project.  Both of those cultural attractors attest to the fact that social desire for political identity is not being served by binary options.  However, such tools still do not go nearly far enough to help us start growing beyond our current political stagnation. 

To do that we might need to get beyond the whole notion of having a single, fixed point of identity with one political faction. 

Nate Coffman has tried to build in another dimension.  He has added a variable for the degree to which we are expansive or contractive, integrative or partial, in the range of political perspectives with which we are capable of empathizing.

His quiz -- validated to a higher level than most contemporary online assessment tools -- permits people to select multiple positions and track themselves as cultural agents who are NOT bound to a position on a single spectrum. 

In some ways, this is a small thing. 

And maybe it maintains the "trap" of staying involved with politics. 

At the same time, however, most people are embedded in politics and if we have any hope of transmuting the dominant discourse it may need to start with new assumptions about how we categorize ourselves -- and which values are implicit in the diagnostic tools used by citizens, pollsters and political parties. 

Fingers crossed.