How Liberal is La Chat?

La Chat, it should come as no surprise, seems a pretty liberal place – at least in regards to student opinions. I mean, how many right-wing articles can you find here on The Update? But of course, that’s just one issue. And if there’s one thing that’s particular to the left-wing, it’s that they have a tendency to be loud. This noise could potentially drown out other opinions, the so-called ‘silent majority’ could be exactly that for all we know.

Therefore, we at the Update wanted to know just what the average opinion regarding politics is in La Chat. How liberal is La Chat, really?

Did you know? The terms ‘left-wing’ and ‘right-wing’ come from the French Revolution, when the King had all of his supporters sit to his right (the right-wing of the hall) and all of his opponents sit to his left (the left-wing of the hall).

To find out, we sent out a survey to all the students in La Chat, simply asking them how they might describe themselves politically. At the time of writing, a total of 249 responses have been logged and recorded. The results can be seen in the (rather ugly) graph below.

my-own-graph
The graph has been color-coded. All left-wing responses are in shades of red, right-wing in shades of blue, centrists in purple, ‘Other’ in green and non-political in orange.

Somewhat obviously, the most popular choice in choosing what your political ideology is, was the ‘Non-political / I don’t care’ option, with almost a third of all respondents choosing that option. From there, the second most popular option was ‘Liberal’ with just below a fifth of respondents using that to describe themselves; and the third most popular was ‘Socialist’, with around one in ten students identifying themselves as such.

In total, we had 40.1% of respondents aligning themselves on the left side of things, whereas a mere 14.8% identified on the right side of the aisle. This correlates with the perception of La Chat being more left-wing than not. However, a few interesting nuances can be observed.

Did you know? The color red has been associated with the left-wing since the 19th century, as it was supposed to represent the blood of left-wing revolutionaries. The color blue has been associated with the right-wing for longer, as it was the traditional color of the Tory party in England (founded in 1678).


new-statesman-com-left-vs-right
The governments of the EU categorized into Left and Right. Source: newstatesman.com

Before we go into these nuances, a bit of clarification. There was vociferous debate over what terms to include and what to not, and whether one respondent could select multiple options. Eventually it was decided not to include terms like Fascist or Communist, because of the possibility of joke responses (“Yeah man, haha, I’m totally a Nazi. It’d be mad bantz if I made this Update writer’s life just a bit more difficult”) skewing the data results, and us having no way of finding out which are real and which aren’t.

We used the terms Liberal, Left-wing and Far-left in an attempt to gauge how far down the political aisle any one person is, with the least left-wing being the ‘Liberal’ option and ‘Left-wing’ being the general option (the same goes for the corresponding right-wing options). And yes, we know that there are pedants out there who call themselves ‘Classic Liberals’ who say things like “Actually, ‘Liberal’ means emphasizing liberty, whereas being left-wing means emphasizing equality”. God, they’re almost as bad as the Socialists (I’ll get to those in a bit). When we say ‘Liberal’, we are referring to the modern usage of the term – because we live in the 21st century, not the 19th – wherein ‘Liberal’ has evolved to mean moderately left-wing. Besides, the survey was sent to all years, and it was thought that the latter meaning of ‘Liberal’ would be the default for the younger years.

Did you know? The term ‘Tory’ (nickname for Conservative) derives from a Gaelic slur. When England ruled Ireland, many Gaelic-speaking Irish called right-wing Irish Confederates (who supported the English) ‘toraidhe’, the Gaelic word for ‘thief’, ‘bandit’ or ‘pursuer’.

Another term whose inclusion was fought over was ‘Socialist’, mostly because it wasn’t given a right-wing equivalent (although I am currently kicking myself for not including ‘Libertarian’. Yeah… my bad). Its inclusion was eventually justified with the reasoning that if it wasn’t there, the respondents would probably just tick the ‘Left-wing’ option anyway, and thus the total left/right divide wouldn’t change. There was also the issue of what was meant by ‘Socialist’, but – in a similar vein to the discussion over the use of the word ‘Liberal’ – it was thought that most who would read the survey would mean ‘Social-Democrat’, in a style reminiscent of the Scandinavian nations and Bernie Sanders – never mind that that isn’t Socialism, as Socialism is supposed to be the transition from Capitalism to Communism, and most Communists believe that transition isn’t even possible in a Social-Democracy, because the bourgeoisie will always try to repress any form of Communism, thus Socialism can  only be a one-party state and Social-Democracy is really just a left-leaning form of liberalism and-

Oh God, I’m just like one of those ‘Classic Liberals’. What is wrong with me?

political-compass-reddit
A more accurate representation of the divide, the political compass (this one with the placements of famous people), Source: reddit.com

One of the major flaws(?) with the survey was the group itself. The survey was sent anonymously to all Secondary La Chat Students, which, according to the silver-tongued, beautiful, intelligent, quick-witted Goddess that is Marguerite Vernet (who told me to describe her that way), could open up the survey to the younger years who might not have formed a political opinion, in contrast to the older, very opinionated years (the ones who are more likely to believe there are ‘good opinions’ and ‘bad opinions’). This could be the driving impetus to the large volume of respondents who chose the ‘Non-political’ option. Of course, the proportion of Non-politicals out there could just be very high, but the probability that the younger years skewed the result is still a valid one.

Did you know? The term ‘democracy’ began as an insult. It comes from the Ancient Greek words ‘Demos’ (poor) and ‘Kratos’ (power/rule), meaning ‘rule by the poor’, who were seen as uninformed. Similarly, the term ‘republic’ comes from the Latin words ‘Res Publica’ meaning ‘public affair’, or something that the people should be able to decide about..


In terms of the actual nuances of the results (finally), some interesting things pop up. While, yes, the plurality of respondents aligned themselves with the left (40%), they tended to choose the more moderate options, with over half either choosing ‘Liberal’ or the general ‘Left-wing’ option. Contrast this with the right side of the aisle – of which only around 15% of respondents identified with – which tended to be less moderate, with about as many respondents choosing ‘Far-right’ as ‘Conservative’. Overall, the right-wing was evenly split between its three categories (Conservative, Right-wing and Far-right) whereas the left-wing was weighted towards the moderate side of its categories (the furthest left-wing category, the aptly named ‘Far-left’ was the lowest scoring category, only three respondents picked that option).

In terms of the non left/right divide categories, those identifying as ‘Centrist’ accounted for 7% of respondents, and those picking ‘Other’ for 6%. While the first category is rather easy to identify, the latter isn’t. For all we know, those who picked ‘Other’ could be Communists, Fascists, Libertarians or some other -ism we otherwise didn’t account for.

Did you know? Fascism and faggot both derive from the Latin word ‘Fasces’, meaning ‘a bundle of sticks’. The bundle was supposed to represent strength through unity (hence Fascism), and was traditionally used to burn gay people at the stake (hence faggot).


Just before this ends, I’d like to point out that this survey was by no means scientific and should not be held as any form of definitive proof of La Chat’s liberalness. Yes, it does paint a picture of a left-leaning school, but the ambiguous definitions and possibility of large amounts of younger students skewing the result mean that this is in no way an accurate representation of La Chat’s belief. Furthermore, this is a fairly basic survey – one that reduces the political divide to a mere left-right spectrum, when in fact most pundits favor a quadrant system (and even then, some think that’s too simplistic).

Politics is complicated, both in its essence and definition. While this survey certainly paints a picture (that La Chat is left-leaning with a sizable minority not caring about politics) it can’t be held to any academic standard. Still, it’s fun to take a little look sometimes and see the broad strokes.