Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Transnational Liberalism

The Sociological Need for Acceptance and Validation of Transnational Liberals
The need for acceptance and validation is common to all humans. Indeed, humans are essentially social creatures. In the process of gaining maturity, however, there is a dialectic between the perceived sources of satisfaction of these human needs: through interpersonal relations as a social gift or as a reward rightly deserved for accomplishment. Like all learning animals, we habitually seek out that source of acceptance and validation that has been imprinted on us earlier in our formative period. Principally, this relation seems to solidify during childhood, but may in some cases be altered in later years.

Transnational liberals seek to satisfy this need through interpersonal and intergroup relations that produce the social gift. Urban environments accentuate this need as the individual is constantly exposed to a vast number of others making his relative worth seem small by comparison. However, these environments also provide the opportunity for interpersonal validation. The output of this system is often a certain groupthink along the lines of the common needs of the individuals.

As talented individuals are drawn toward the group for validation, they are drawn away from individual achievement as a valued source of fulfillment by the lowest common denominator of the group. Socialistic economies are designed so that the aggregate deficit in individual achievement is spread throughout society as an insurance mechanism to prevent individual failure to achieve from becoming socially catastrophic. However, the macro effect of the interaction of the socialistic economy with the population is to move the entire population in the direction of TNL political and economic thought. Fortunately, since the memory of the fundamental source of validation is deeply imprinted, economies are able to adapt to this potentially stability-impairing influence inside the biological adaptation time frame. Eventually, a stability point is reached on the national level.

At the heart of the modern liberal movement is the pseudo-philosophy of relativism which serves to rationalize the emerging gap between the current liberal position which is oriented in opposition to exterior players and the moral goods which are claimed. Rationalization is a cognitive inversion of causality which serves to lessen cognitive dissonance between self-affirming want and observed empirical effects of those wants. Essentially, it is the minds method of refusing to learn. As such it is a fundamental source of immorality.

Paradoxes of Modern Liberalism: A Game-Theoretic Analysis
Pei, the author of “Paradoxes of American Nationalism”, cautions that the US incurs an anti-American response from other nations through the strength of its nationalistic characteristic and recent move away from the herd in order to deal with predators in the form of international terrorist organizations and rouge states armed with WMD. In raising these concerns, Pei gives voice to the instinctive threat response of the liberal herd: it is better to be on the interior protected by the stronger members on the exterior. In doing so, Pei, wraps his security concerns (controllability of the US) in the cloak of established herd/international mores. The herd of nations or individuals facing external challenges is analogous to the role of players in game-theory.

While mainstream political, economic, and social policy has traditionally focused on the determination and achievement of Pareto-optimal solutions that are Nash equilibrium, there has been a growing movement in the United States over the past four decades that has searched for Nash equilibriums that are not Pareto-optimal. This movement has been the subject of much scorn and criticism (Ann Coulter), overlooking the success of its growth. In political terms, this phenomenon is known as the modern liberal movement. This interior solution is motivated by psychological security needs aptly illustrated by the behavior of weaker members of a herd to seek protection at its interior and by their innovations for the perpetuation of their line (Smithsonian).

Whereas the determination of the Pareto-optimal Nash equilibrium is guided by the observation of events and relations with the external environment, the determination of the nonpareto-optimal Nash equilibrium is a function of interior relationships only. Thus, the modern liberal movement defines itself not by an objective standard, but by its relation to others. Since, relationships are a function of adjacency; it is natural for the liberal movement to be blind to connections in an associative relationship (the Iraq/Al-Qaeda nexus).

We understand that the recent anti-American dynamic is fundamentally a threat response of the liberal movement when we consider that in the direct aftermath of September 11, both the President and the US enjoyed a high degree of domestic and international support. This is an acknowledgement by the liberal movement of the fact that the US, in particular, President Bush, was seen as the alpha male whose role it was to protect the herd from predatory threat of Islamic terrorists. The instinct for the liberal movement to offer up the stronger exterior members of the herd to satiate the predators through pushing or tripping when faced with only a low or moderate threat can be seen in the willingness of liberals to send US forces to Bosnia, Somalia, and Liberia, but not Iraq in which a victory makes the US relatively stronger. The fact that this desire is innate of liberals transnationally speaks to the instinctive nature of the response.


  1. Bob,

    Thanks for the comment.

    I should clarify that TNLs do not exist outside of the game-theoretic framework here. That is to say that this is a working model that recognizes the existence of a group, loosely identifies that group by its behavior, and offers some intuition into how our system devolved into one where an interior solution has become a point of political stability.

    Not all Democrats or Western Europeans are TNLs nor do these actors always act in a way consistent with the TNL model. This is simply a dame-theoretic method of understanding the method behind the apparent madness.

    For example, while the Democratic Party in the US today is a coalition that supports health care for the indigent, children, handicapped, et al., this is not necessarily anything more than a tactical coalition building strategy. However, note that it is not an exterior good either but rather a matter of wealth redistribution (noble, but nonetheless a net zero gain at best to the degree that this can be measured today). Note also that these policies do seem to be gaining acceptance in the Republican Party as pushed by the neocons -- these are the old guard liberals that have migrated to the opposing party.

  2. There is a case to be made that a health care safety net is an exterior good as well as a method of wealth redistribution. There are more than one way of looking at the problem.

    For example, it makes sense to incorporate a perscription drug benefit in Medicaid/Medicare -- it is simply a smarter way of administering healthcare. At the same time, others can look at it as nothing much more than an added subsidy. This is not an either or proposition. The true nature of the beast is best described in the manner that the benefit is structured.

    The key always in minimizing the potential for corruption is the alignment of information flows with action-reaction pairs i.e. to form tighter feedback loops and controller authority to a system. When these mechanisms are lacking in the design, it is usually not by complete ignorance alone. This is one way of distinguishing the intent of an exchange where the interpretation may be ambiguous.

  3. Bob, this is a good example you raised in regard to the introduction of IM to the healthcare accounting system. If you were to track the corruption measured by unaccounted funds over the period since the introduction of the systems (and normalize by health care volumetric present value dollars), I think you will find that itresponds as something like a minimal phase system hit with an impulse. That is to say that the initial shock of the new technology at first opens up more possibilities to exploit the system, but then stabilizes at a point where there is less corruption than before after the technology is adapted to the action-reaction pairs.

    Long linkages in the action-reaction pairs allow more "whiplash" in the response. So in general, it seems to me that we need to empower the consumer with information directly of value in assessing his decisions while also providing the consumer enough control authority to put that information to good use.

    The internet/blog proliferation is a good example also. See, you are here because this content and tone of discussion has some value. You found this site through an adaptation in your web browsing based on the information presented at another site. In the future, as technology permits, this search might be parameterized and accomplished through a smart aggregator. We do have sufficient technology for this; it will just be a matter of evolution now. Think, not that long ago, we did not even have Google.

  4. On the matter of the prediction of the evolution of relationships with static economic disparity:

    I disagree with Keenan's take on the situation. China, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan are counter examples to his argument. Free trade allows for increasing wealth and accommodates the reduction in the disparity. We are all wealthier in real terms today based on our trade. Furthermore, democracy has enhanced and facilitated this development (note that China lagged the other countries in economic development -- we can even consider the North Korean example).

    Democracy made the system stable (unlike the ME where wealth and free trade sans democracy resulted in perpetual instability). Democracy was a catalyst to economic development (North-South Korea; Taiwan-China).

    This is an example of sequential thinking on Keenan's part -- the system is actually a multi-dimensional dynamic manifold ala Nash.

  5. I would say that economic reform and democracy do go hand in hand. There is no reason why in different instances one may not precede the other. Also, I don't see that one can make such a blanket statement as Fukuyama in reference to Islamic cultures and democracy. Considering the example only of the ME, it is entirely possible that the anti-democratic tendencies are an artifact of history. Tribal cultures must go a very long ways to develop into modern nation-states.

    However, I do agree that there is an anti-democratic stability point that will eventually require some outside influence to correct. The problem is a result of the proliferation of modern weaponry -- an inseparable problem to other technology transfer. We simply have to face now what we have for so long avoided and may have encouraged in certain aspects esp. due to Cold War politics.

    Hopefully, it is like breaking a logjam. Obviously however, there are more logs that need to be broken. I’m thinking of a pair in particular.

    However, I do agree that there is a anti-democratic stability point that will eventually require some outside influence to correct. The problem is a result of the proliferation of modern weoponry -- an inseparable problem to other technology transfer. We are simply having to face now what we have for so long avoided.


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