English Composition 121
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The Best Survey Ever™

Below is a survey that I’ve created that I would send out to politically active young people. I’ve explained each of the questions directly below the questions. DW/anyone who reads this: feel free to take the survey and comment it below!

  1. What is your political affiliation?
    This is a new aspect of the radical vs. pragmatist debate that I’m exploring: political affiliation. I shouldn’t close my mind to the idea that just because I’m a progressive, doesn’t mean I can’t talk about conservative radicals/pragmatists. This question would also provide interesting information re: if they identify as a pragmatist/radical.
  2. What is the political affiliation if your parents/close family?
    Political affiliation of parents/close family greatly affects one’s own political beliefs. What I’m particularly interested in is if people break that general mold as I seem to have. All around me are rather conservative folks (except my family, who are rather socially liberal, especially my grandfather and mother).
  3. What does radical mean to you?
    Folks’ definitions of radical and pragmatic are incredibly important to know, because it informs how they view the respective actors. It also informs what they identify as, and if they can hide animus within their answers (can they be impartial?). For example, if someone says a radical is “someone who considers crazy ideas to be what ought to be the mainstream”, one would assume that they’re a pragmatist who doesn’t try to hide that fact.
  4. What does pragmatic mean to you?
    See above, and an example for what a radical might say: “a pragmatist is a wishy-washy, indecisive figure who favors incrementalism over rapid change.”
  5. Based on your definitions, would you consider yourself a radical or pragmatist? Why?
    After hearing someone describe the two, one could probably make a logical assumption as to which they are. However, hearing their rationale could be very valuable to hear first-hand accounts of why one person is one or the other. It may open up my eyes to a side of the argument that I haven’t considered, or they may bring some insight into my own project. What parallels might there be between the subject and myself? How may that inform my thinking? Will it allow me to think about an experience I had in a different way? This may be the most important question of the entire survey, as it provides a bit of a testimonial.
  6. Who are some modern-day radicals you can think of?
    Again, a question highly linked to party, but it could go either way. One could say Bernie Sanders is a radical, and that he favors mass change, and that it’s an admirable trait. Another can say that Trump is a radical, who favors massive roll-backs in modern policy. It’d be interesting to see how others’ ideas of radicals/pragmatists line up with mine. Do they have the same people in mind that I do?
  7. Who are some modern-day pragmatists you can think of?
    Same as the above here. One could say Susan Collins is a pragmatists who falters on her core beliefs to please parts of her constituency. Another could say that Joe Manchin is temperate in his decisions, not wanting to rock the boat too much.
  8. Are radicals more likely to be Democrats or Republicans? Why
    This may not be an incredibly insightful question, but it’s a very interesting one that’s linked with the following two questions. Are people likely to say that their party is more radical or pragmatic? I suppose it depends on their view on radicalism/pragmatism.
  9. Do you think being a radical is a good trait?
    This is the other set of questions that could be the most important ones. If sent out to a number of people, how many would say that they’re both good traits? Or neither are good traits? Or one or the other? I suppose it’s something like an opinion poll. I wonder if there’d be folks who say they’re a radical, but say it’s not a good trait. This’d be a very interesting question to compare to my own thoughts as well. What percentage of people agree with me? Disagree?
  10. Do you think being a pragmatist is a good trait?
    See above.

One thought on “The Best Survey Ever™

  1. Dhipinder Walia

    My responses:
    What is your political affiliation? Democrat
    What is the political affiliation if your parents/close family? Democrat
    What does radical mean to you? Someone who is interested in approaches that haven’t been considered and who might also be less willing to wait for results.
    What does pragmatic mean to you? Immediately, I think of maturity and someone who doesn’t have the luxury of making an impulsive decision that will isolate half of a population. So I guess then, I’m more focused on the responsibilities of a pragmatist than anything else.
    Based on your definitions, would you consider yourself a radical or pragmatist? Why? I think I’m a social radical, but maybe a financial and diplomacy pragmatist.
    Who are some modern-day radicals you can think of? AOC, Sanders, Willie Nelson (idk why), Bill Maher
    Who are some modern-day pragmatists you can think of? Obama, John Oliver (again, idk why), Clinton
    Are radicals more likely to be Democrats or Republicans? Why? I don’t know if I’m informed enough to say.
    Do you think being a radical is a good trait? If you’re a politician, sure. If you’re a teacher, sure. If you’re an artist, sure. I can’t think of when it would be a bad thing to think outside of a box.
    Do you think being a pragmatist is a good trait? Always. Pragmatism isn’t about stunting radical ideas. It’s about dealing with the realities of your circumstance.

    You pose great questions, Michael. I’m curious to see how data collected from these responses will help your project as I thought your project was more about why people choose to become radical or pragmatists, and this survey seems to be more about what people think these two ideas are in general terms. Log into hypothesis for more notes.

    DW

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