What % Socialist Are You?

Zoe Samuel

Image: Cultura/Philip Lee Harvey/Cultura/Getty Images

About This Quiz

"Socialism" has a muddled reputation, and before we get into how socialist you are, we're going to get into why this is. Socialism does not actually mean nationalizing all companies and abolishing private capital. That is communism, a separate ideology to the left of socialism. 

Socialism is also not the same thing as liberalism, the ideology to its right. Liberalism is less redistributive and tends to be reformist (i.e., making small changes while preserving the system) while socialism is revolutionary (overturning the system altogether). For example, a liberal might support permitting all people to access the institution of marriage, while a communist would reject the entire idea of marriage, and a socialist might be a mix.

Meanwhile, a liberal might use a carbon tax to stop a fossil fuel company from polluting with impunity; a socialist might phase in a moratorium on fossil fuels; a communist would just nationalize the oilfields and stop digging. To a communist, socialism is an interim step on the road to communism; to a socialist, it is the endpoint. Thus, someone who identifies as a socialist probably isn't a communist. Socialism can also include community (i.e., non-state) regulation of activities and companies; by some definitions, a church is a socialist enterprise, as is any company offering stock to its workers.

There are three main reasons that socialism gets mixed up with its neighbors. First, the Cold War resulted in lumping anything even vaguely left-wing together. Second, most liberals and conservatives actually like some socialist policies like highways and Medicare. Third, Karl Marx called communism "scientific socialism" to distinguish it from what he saw as woollier brands of socialism, a branding exercise the USSR later found useful.

Like society, most healthy people are a blend of ideologies, which means we can identify how socialist any given person is. What's your number?

What deceased political thinker do you admire?

Should the state simply cease to exist?

How do you feel about for-profit companies?

What should the hourly minimum wage be?

How do you feel about the institution of marriage?

What's the best solution to climate change?

What is a reasonable tax rate on marginal incomes over $10 million?

For what cause would you go to a march?

What sort of car do you drive?

Who is a voice you admire in today's politics?

Would you describe yourself as a feminist?

Does socialism automatically mean a high level of government involvement in your life?

Is healthcare a right?

Should workers have a seat on corporate boards?

Which country is a good role model?

What is a good example of socialism doing a good job?

How do you feel about labor unions?

Where would you say socialism went wrong?

Who should be allowed to serve in the military?

What is something that you think of as kinda socialist, that almost never gets called socialism?

Who is "the economy"?

What is the biggest reason for growing inequality?

Who should you never trust?

Who is likely to take away your rights if they get a chance?

How do you feel about communists?

Assuming everyone was going to obey it, what one law would you like to pass?

By a quirk of fate, you have become president on a manifesto to be very, very socialist. What spending priority will your socialist administration have?

What one modification could we each make in our lives to bring about more socialism?

Why do you think socialism is so misunderstood?

What's a good reason to have a war?

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