Mearsheimer, in part one of our two-part political overview defines what Liberalism is and how Liberalism in general can be subdivided into differing camps of Liberal action. These camps he describes as Nationalism, Realism, and Liberalism. The way we have defined these with an Integral lens is to say that what is believed is Orange Liberalism but how this is enacted and believed is through Blue Nationalism, Orange Realism, and Green Liberalism. In part two we get into International Relations and how these groups see the application of their beliefs beyond their own borders.
From the perspective here at CrazyCanadia, Orange is always labeled socio-centric where Green is world-centric. It is the case however that these are not perfectly discrete steps. These are noticeable parts of a wave of development. That is to say, the upper most progressed part of Orange is also world-centric where the middle part is socio-centric, and the lowest part of Orange is closer to ethno-centric. You can be in an Orange perspective, though the drive to bring that perspective global is the push into Green. The Orange idea of individual inalienable rights is Orange but is easily world-centric as well when simply extended to any individual. This is the nature of the fine line or blurry transition from one stage to another.
To look at this progression more linearly we can see this as a progression from Blue through Orange and into Green. Or put in other words, from Ethno-centric to Socio-centric to World-centric; from Nationalism to Realism to Liberalism. Or to relate this to the ‘left-right’ notion of politics, from right conservative to middle libertarian to left democrat. Normally I present development visually from left to right however to show the political ‘left-right’ of common speech we have the following:
Keep in mind that Blue ideology alone does not produce nationalism. It is tribal in its nature but this tribal nature existing whilst holding a national socio-centric ideology creates the tribal nation-team dynamic. The above is the separation of How the What of Orange liberalism is seen. If it’s not making sense, try to remember our looking glass lens of the quadrants from the last posting. We are looking at the How of Liberal belief and the added arrow in the graphic below illustrates the same direction of development above in the linear graphic.
Mearsheimer starts by defining Liberalism’s three main reasons to spread Liberal Democracy internationally.
1. Protect human rights globally
With an emphasis on individual rights being a cornerstone of Liberalism and Orange perspective, liberals see others in different countries as also be endowed with the same inalienable rights. This produces a moral imperative to help especially when these rights may be violated by another government on its people. Further than simply intervening in another country temporarily and firefighting against injustices, that country can be turned into a Liberal Democracy in which these individual rights are protected and will not then need outside intervention.
2. Cause international peace
Mearsheimer expresses that one of the ideas of a Liberal Democracy is that if all countries were Liberal Democracies than there would be no war. (I do not share this perspective) However, he argues that countries who are Liberal Democracies will be following the core aspects of the Liberal Solution in part one, inalienable rights and tolerance for other people in other states and therefore will have peace between nations which is called Democratic Peace Theory.
3. Protect Liberalism at home
Where other forms of government in other countries may wish to go to war with countries whom are Liberal Democracies or overthrow them from within, Liberalism could be wiped out. The ‘Red Scare’ of a communistic takeover of the world is an example of this Liberal hegemony in action. An attempt not to be wiped out. Here he also references President Woodrow Wilson who stated “The world must be made safe for Democracy” when calling for a declaration of war against Germany in 1917.
Within the first point of protecting human right globally Mearsheimer states that there are two strands of liberalism (simply seeing the development in a linear polar fashion), Universalist and Particularist. He states that the Universalist strand “wins out” over the particularist strand when seeking to enforce protection of human rights within non-liberal-democracy states (i.e. seeking to enact Liberal Hegemonic foreign policy).
“Liberals [Green] tend to believe that they have discovered at least one important truth. They’re basically violating their core precept that you can’t reach agreement on first principles. Liberals are basically saying that liberal democracy is the best political order and there is no acceptable alternative, but you’re not supposed to be able to say that.”
This contradiction seems somewhat reminiscent of the self-defeating logic of Green ideology itself which believes that its hierarchy says that all hierarchies are bad. However, I digress…
What is interesting in the last couple lectures of this series at Yale is how Mearsheimer continues to expound on the decision making of the factions. Again, in a polar style, he mentions that the Liberal or Universalist [Green end] strand approaches international relations differently than the Realist or Particularist strand of Liberalism [Blue end].
Based upon the tendency of orientation in the above progress of Liberal Hegemony, Mearsheimer suggests the above two factions tend to operate and engage in propagating Liberal Hegemony. How they engage is dependent upon where they operate from. The above graphic attempts to indicate the three types of engagement which Mearsheimer expresses as being two types with the Realist type having offensive and defensive subsets.
Lastly, what is interesting is the notion that the “globalist” ideology seen here within Liberalism, which at its core is Orange nation-state ideology, is being pushed towards a global society or global community. This seems to be a very corporatist style governing of trading partners in free markets which is pushed by multinational corporations seeking to expand their Orange corporate playground globally. This sentiment was also touched on with a brief comment by Mearsheimer who mentioned that there is “little public support for liberal hegemony as it is largely an elite-driven phenomenon”. He also stated that many political scientists believe it to be the case that America has pursued Liberal Hegemony since the end of the cold war in 1991. However, he claims that almost all would agree that it has been the case since 2001. This time frame has been a period of one single dominant power without a need to worry about balance of power politics and thus the US and the elite interests who generally run it have been free to operate from the Universalist end of policies rather than the Particularist ones.
After all of this, Mearsheimer expresses that the balance of power politics may be increasingly important to consider as China and Russia predominantly join as a counterbalance to US hegemony. What he is essentially suggesting is that of the options he sees we should be moving back to the particularist end of policies. What I would suggest is that we continue forward beyond the Green policies of Liberalism and into Yellow Integral policies.
After the last couple of long entries, I feel like another shorter one is in order. Today we are talking about Political Science and a look at John Mearsheimer’s breakdown of Liberalism in the United States. We will be able to break this down relatively quickly as we have already discussed "Blue Babies in a Green World" and "The 21st Century Political Horizon" in former posts. Mearsheimer’s work and a series of lectures on Liberalism seem to only reinforce the value of an Integral view of politics and political history. (Quick disclaimer: development is not as discrete as the graphic may suggest, it is a wave of development creating gradations of being and understanding.)
Mearsheimer starts with two underlying questions that Liberalism is based upon.
Mearsheimer states that Liberalism is fundamentally based upon the answers being that we are individuals first who form social contracts and the notion that we cannot agree on first principles on the big questions to life.
As the basis for Liberalism these answers are really the upper right Orange quadrant perspective on things. This is a perspective which is focused on the individuality of people. Furthermore, it follows from this Orange perspective certain ideas which are inherent in liberalism itself. As each person can be seen in a 3rd person perspective they are seen as each having individual human rights. These rights are afforded to people regardless of race, sex, color, creed, nation, etc. This is also why Orange level industrial societies were the first societies in history to abolish slavery and to engage in the equal rights of men and women.
This level of perspective brings with it an important problem. If people are afforded their individuality and freedoms to believe differently, How do we create a Liberal society in order to prevent conflict between sometimes harshly contrasting individuals? In what Mearsheimer calls the Liberal solution to the problem, he presents the following aspects of Liberalism:
The Liberal Solution:
1) Inalienable Rights
3) The Night Watchmen State
The first is Inalienable rights of all individuals [Orange]. Growing from those individual rights there should secondly be tolerance of difference [Orange]. Thirdly, to ensure that individuals who have different beliefs can live in tolerance with each other there should be an overseeing authority of rules maintaining the balance of the game [Orange].
These three tend to frame the basis for understanding a Liberal ideology. However, what is also important to understand about this perspective is the spectrum of Liberalism that exists. This is really what Mearsheimer talks about in his lectures about Liberal Hegemony and what he mentions his book titled “Liberal Ideals and International Realities” is all about.
The focus on the individual and his or her inalienable rights turns liberalism into a universalist ideology.
If you focus on the social groups, not the individual, you end up with a particularist ideology, which is what you get with nationalism.
There are many ways to look at something and what you see will really depends upon your perspective. We can see the spectrum of Liberalism being a polar view or a developmental one. Mearsheimer basically puts it in a polar orientation. On one end of the spectrum exist the Liberal realists and on the other the Liberal Idealists; the more classical modus vivendi liberals to the more modern progressive liberals. (FYI – modus vivendi: an arrangement or agreement allowing conflicting parties to coexist peacefully, either indefinitely or until a final settlement is reached. [Seems very pragmatically Orange to me])
Mearsheimer adds in a couple dimensions to consider as the differences between modus vivendi liberals and progressive liberals. He states he believes the differences lay within the negative rights versus positive rights and the desirability and efficacy of social engineering. For example, some believe in the right to liberty, the freedom from government intervention, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, the right to property – where the state exists solely to protect your freedoms. In contrast, others believe additionally in positive rights, where government oversight and regulation are a must to ensure the rights of people like the right to equal opportunity or public healthcare – where the state intervenes to level to playing field. Mearsheimer then states that if you believe in positive rights, you will tend to believe in the desirability of social engineering as the government needs to socially engineer the environment to enact positive rights.
Now after having this simple realist to idealist polarity then adding a couple dimensions to it already starts to add complexity which may be hard to follow. Thankfully we here are well versed in Integral. The four quadrants do a beautiful job of succinctly explaining the patterns Mearsheimer is talking about. What we do have to understand is that the difference between what ideology is believed and how it is believed.
What is seen is Orange level Liberalism but How Liberalism is seen through each quadrant is what creates the complexity.
The nature of Orange perspective is Liberalism at its core. Mearsheimer describes how Liberalism is enacted from each quadrant from Blue which first countered Orange in the Industrial revolution as we mention next, to Orange politics of corporate democracy, and finally to Green Liberalism which became much more impactful over the last several decades.
Mearsheimer states that liberalism began in America in the late 1800’s as a function of three things:
1) The industrial revolution
In the US in the late 19th and early 20th century there were huge industrial enterprises which had great affect and created the necessity for social engineering around common goods (i.e. labor unions, labor problems, and child labor problems)
“The original progressives in the United States were not Democrats, they were mainly ‘Republicans’. Herbert Hoover was a social engineer par excellence, Teddy Roosevelt was a social engineer par excellence.”
The Nation is organizing people for administrative reasons, economic reasons, and military reasons to help create one coherent nation of people loyal to the state. These loyal people then often demand something done for them in exchange for their national loyalty.
3) Huge wars that were fought
The government was needed for running and organizing the wars, though also to do social engineering after the wars to reward the people who fought (Mearsheimer references the G.I. bill).
What is important to remember is that these quadrants represent our individual and collective development. Over one hundred years ago, the most ‘left-leaning’ party was the Democratic party whose ideology at the time was the most developed for the time (for the general population). This means that they supported what were mostly Orange policies as Green simply wasn’t around enough to substantially impact politics. The ‘right-leaning’ Republicans were the party then which was more focused on the collective bottom quadrants as evidenced by Mearsheimer’s comments about two republican Presidents who were the ‘progressive’ social engineers of the time. They, although not embodying the most developed ideology of the time countered the standard corporate free market nature with social engineering as the ‘night watchmen state’.
As time has progressed, as we first discussed a couple years ago in “The 21st Century Political Horizon”, Green is now more of a political force. This now moves the most developed end of the ‘left-leaning’ people to a Green perspective. It has really taken the bi-polar nature of politics and created a third understanding. Where conservatives have not moved away from some core beliefs, they have updated with the times themselves, many republican politicians are more in-line with corporate liberal democrats today than they are with the religious conservatism of the past. Even the fracturing of the Democratic party these days and the ideological lines along which they are fracturing is very telling. There is a group of Democrats who wish to continue with corporate donors and crony capitalism for a continued corporate governing party of a ruling class [Orange]. And there is a group of Democrats who wish to focus on being funded by the people and work for the people to provide greater social engineering for the masses [Green]. These are the ideologies believed, though how they are believed is another story.
In short, How Liberalism is believed is what Mearsheimer is talking about when he separates out Realism, Nationalism, and Liberalism into three aspects of Liberalism as a whole. This would be how Blue, Orange, and Green respectively see and enact the ideology of Orange Liberalism.
What is also interesting, and we will dive into in a future post (Part 2) is then how Mearsheimer applies this to International Relations and how these ideologies and their implementations affect international policy.
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