Political Polarization Test


Take a 2 minute test to find your political position and see suggestions to help depolarize your thinking

To take The Political Polarization Test choose your top three political value statements from the list of 7 values below, in order of priority. Select the buttons that correspond with the letters of your top three values and then click on “go to results” to see a description of your position and some additional values to consider. No log-in is required and your answers will never be shared with a third party.

First Highest Value:
Second Highest Value:
Third Highest Value:
  1. Protect the Environment
  2. Strong Social Safety Net
  3. Protect the Middleclass
  4. Economic Vitality and Growth
  5. Small Government
  6. Strong Military
  7. Respect Heritage and Traditions


About the Test

The political philosophy that informs the polarization test is described in the accompanying white paper on this website: Depolarizing the American Mind: How America Can Grow Beyond Its Currently Polarized Politics, by ICE partners Steve McIntosh and Carter Phipps. As discussed in the paper, a central principle for working with a polarized cultural situation is that each pole needs the values of its opposing pole for its own further and fuller development. Applied to politics, this principle shows how conservative values can serve to improve liberal positions by challenging and moderating such positions in a way that makes them stronger. The same can be said about the role of liberal values in strengthening conservative positions. See the results pages for specific examples. This test is not social science research, it is simply an interactive method for demonstrating some of the ideas behind ICE’s polarization campaign. For a fuller description of our proposal, please see the accompanying white paper: Depolarizing the American Mind.

Click on a title to see the results page for each of the four basic political positions:


Cassell Gross
January 16, 2017, 11:15 pm

This is too simplistic. For my priorities, I choose a) strong social safety net, which I assumed means things like access to medical care and education for everyone, women’s right to choose, and affordable housing for everyone; b) preserving heritage and traditions, which I assumed cover things like protecting Indian land, valuing diversity, having freedom of religion so that people can preserve their own traditions, and having an educational system that is grounded in sound methodologies instead of chasing every fad. I like the Common Core, for instance, because it is grounded in reading and highlights real literature and discourse. c) My third choice was protecting the environment, which I thought would include things like endangered species, coastal waters and coral reefs, amongst other things. From those choices, I got listed on the far right of the spectrum, as a Socially Conservative Traditionalist. That doesn’t make the remotest sense. The write-up that went with my choice added that I was for a strong military, which is ridiculous. There’s nothing in this about things like gun control (which I am for), wars for oil (horrible), or the death penalty (which I am not for). As for government, I don’t care if it’s large or small. I care that the government serves the interests of the governed, not big corporations and the government itself. I think this is a seriously flawed little exercise. Or did I misinterpret the categories?

Brian Aull
February 22, 2015, 3:07 am

Hi, Steve, Carter, Elizabeth and Mike,

I found that the test forced me to accept false dichotomies of “left” vs “right”, regardless of which choices I made. But maybe that was your intention! I look forward to reading your document “Premises and Principles of the Evolutionary Worldview.”

I just published a Kindle book that might be of interest to you. It attempts to reconcile liberal and conservative values and a achieve a moral synthesis. The ideas are inspired by spiritual models of governance in the Baha’i Faith: The Triad: Three Civic Virtues That Could Save American Democracy

Thanks for your work on this. We desperately need this kind of thinking.

Tara Aders
November 23, 2014, 4:14 pm

Thank you for your efforts in addressing this important issue. Your test was insufficiently granular to capture my actual point of view, and the suggestions for de-polarizing were things I’ve been doing for many years. I wonder if a more complex test would capture the fact that many of us are already at the point of integration and holism that you’re promoting.

    Steve McIntosh
    Steve McIntosh
    November 25, 2014, 1:49 pm

    Hi Tara,

    Thanks for your comment. The point of the simple and easy test was to call attention to our white paper on this website: Depolarizing the American Mind. We trust you’ll find more nuance there.

    Best Wishes,


Gerard Bruitzman
April 16, 2014, 6:19 pm

Let me say that there are 2nd-person (group-centred), 3rd-person (formal rationality), 4th-person (metasystemic vision), and 5th-person (global vision) traditionalists (I have in mind some perennialists, such as Wolfgang Smith, Huston Smith, Jean Borella, Stratford Caldecott, et al); 2nd-person (group-centred), 3rd-person (formal rationality), 4th-person (metasystemic vision), and 5th-person (global vision) modernists (empiricists); and 2nd-person (group-centred), 3rd-person (formal rationality), 4th-person (metasystemic vision), and 5th-person (global vision) postmodernists (interpretivists). Developmental theory predicts that only 5th-person traditionalists, 5th-person modernists and 5th-person postmodernists with integral sensibilities would be interested in depolarising a culture. Second-person, 3rd-person, and 4th-person traditionalists, modernists and postmodernists get their juice from maintaining their limited exclusive non-integral identities. McIntosh and Phipps, given their evolutionary lens, seem to argue that there are only 2nd-person traditionalists, only 3rd-person modernists, and only 4th-person postmodernists. Consequently, they neglect traditionalist depth, and they fail to adequately problematise modernist quantitative flatland, and postmodern egalitarian flatland. Hopefully, these issues will be addressed at forthcoming events in their political campaign.

April 14, 2014, 9:08 am

Enjoyed the paper. Having been elected 5 times myself and managed campaigns for others, I was inspired by the paper. I had to wonder if leaving out redistricting (gerry-mandering)is a major omission or not that important. State legislatures have swung conservative as has the US House because of the conservatively drawn seats – the change in those districts will culturally be much more intense than in districts of old which were sort of evenly split by political persuasion. Since 2000 when the conservatives launched a successful redistricting long term plan, polarization became a pillar of our political process. Not sure how it is overcome since we operate on a primary process which now trumps the general election. Maybe just a lot more challenging! (?)

    Steve McIntosh
    Steve McIntosh
    April 14, 2014, 9:18 am

    Hi Sue,
    Thanks for your comment. We did refer to the gerrymandering problem on the first page: “Others recommend action at the state level that employs ballot referendums to disempower partisan control over primaries and congressional redistricting.2” We cited Mickey Edwards’ book on this. However, while structural solutions are needed, these are unlikely without cultural change to begin with, which is where we are focused.

Louise Kimbrel
April 12, 2014, 8:19 am

Liberal Modernist does fit my feelings to a tee. One of the big challenges to finding agreement between the differing mind sets is the Multimedia. When I watch even the news reporting channel I like I find myself wondering how can this huge quagmire be over come? The media’s “not so fully factual” reporting on both sides of the issues don’t help bring the people of this nation together in finding actual ways to heal and bring this nation together.

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