The World Values Surveys were designed to provide a comprehensive measurement of all major areas of human concern, from religion to politics to economic and social life and two dimensions dominate the picture: (1) Traditional/ Secular-rational and (2) Survival/Self-expression values. These two dimensions explain more than 70 percent of the cross-national variance in a factor analysis of ten indicators-and each of these dimensions is strongly correlated with scores of other important orientations.
The resulting "map" doesn't resemble any "traditional" map of the world, but it's interesting. For example, all the English-speaking countries end up near each other, all the countries of Protestant Europe end up near each other, and so on.
I'm not sure why "English-speaking" is its own group, while no other language is given its own group. In particular, all the Spanish-and-Portuguese-speaking countries seem to end up together. (This is obscured by the map, which for some strange reason includes Uruguay in "Catholic Europe" and Portugal in "Latin America". I'm conflating Spanish and Portuguese not because I don't know there's a difference, but because they are fairly similar as languages go.
My instinct is that the "Traditional Values"/"Secular-Rational Values" divide is similar to the ideological conservative/liberal divide in American politics (although I'm not sure how this would be made precise); I want to say that the "Survival Values"/"Self-Expression Values" dimension corresponds to the economic conservative/liberal divide in American politics although that seems like a lot more of a stretch. Apparently countries seem to move from "Survival" to "Self-Expression" (i. e. rightward on the graph) with time.
One sees a lot of these "factor analysis" plots where a large-dimensional space is reduced to just two dimensions in this way; I don't think there's some fundamental reason why two dimensions is the natural way to think about this, but rather that we're just good at drawing two-dimensional pictures. Dave Rusin's Mathematical Atlas includes such a plot (although naming the dimensions is tricky -- I thought they might be discrete vs. continuous and pure vs. applied.) I've also seen a political map like this, based on the voting records of U. S. Senators and Representatives; it's kind of fascinating to watch how the two parties have moved around with time, and how you can explain almost as much variation between politicians by just looking at a single variable as you used to need two variables for. You can almost predict who will vote for a given bill just by lining up the Senators from "most liberal" to "most conservative" and drawing a line somewhere to separate the two sides. Life is more complicated than that.
I wonder if one could use a plot like this (or the data which underlies it) to predict which international borders are likely to create a lot of tension. For example, the U. S. is (according to this plot) much more similar to Canada than it is to Mexico, and there seems to be a lot more tension at the U. S.'s southern border than at its northern one. Perhaps one could predict strife within a country as well, if a survey like this was done for subnational entities. Lumping the entire United States together seems almost ludicrous to me.
Also, how is this sort of thing correlated with language? And if the language spoken in a country changes, for whatever reason, is this correlated with that country becoming more like countries that speak the new language? It seems reasonable that there should be some connection between language and culture, if only because most of culture is expressed through language. But causation is a problem; do countries become more like each other because they speak the same language, or do countries that speak the same language become more like each other?