Tuesday, September 2, 2008
3) I'm beginning DPS data collection in the U.S. soon. Also I'm considering adding more items to each Democracy "dimension." I wonder whether it is appropriate, however, to think of each "element" of Democracy (e.g. an independent press) as a unique dimension. I think that perhaps it is more appropriate for Democratic Proclivity to be its own dimension.
I had an interesting conversation yesterday with a Peruvian, a Venezuelan, a native Nigerian, and a native of the West Indies (as well as a couple Americans). A few notes: 1) Hugo Chavez was regarded as not yet a dictator despite an admission that he has eliminated all authority of the legislature effectively destroying the rule of law, has responded with threats and taken away jobs from those speaking out against him, and will likely run again for president (breaking an earlier promise). With this kind of rationalization, an American conception of a legitimate and Democratic government likely shares little with the conception of Democracy for Venezuelans. 2)They discussed Simon Bolivar's dream of a united South America "nation" as a "dream" that would likely never be realized. They think that the countries would never cede authority with the possibility that someone from outside the country would be the leader. This looks to me like an exercise in game theory. But this brings up an interesting possibility: what would the effects of an international deliberation look like for the DPS?
Sunday, August 24, 2008
The DPM will use all those environmental conditions to predict an individual’s Democratic Proclivity score. It is certainly true that Democracy needs a conducive environment to flourish. As I collect Proclivity scores from people around the world, I’m also collecting self-reported environmental data. When I put the model together, I will correlate the actual Proclivity scores with environmental data (both self-reported environmental data and more objective data). Eventually I should be able to predict based on environmental data how likely it is that one individual will support a democratic rule of law, speak out against democratic reforms, actively participate in democratic coups, etc.
Of course I believe that we can manipulate certain variables to artificially increase Democratic Proclivity (e.g. Conditioning Democracy—creating positive democratic experiences for people; democratic education—teaching correct democratic practice and theory; etc. etc.)…
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
As Georgia has grown more Westernized and leaned closer and closer to the leaning tower of NATO, many analysts think that Georgia's people were believed, erroneously, that they lived under the shadow of NATO's veil of protection. Now of course it has been made clear that the protection of the West extended not far beyond angry rhetoric. Not quite part of the liberalized elite circle, but not terribly far from it, Georgians must no doubt be suffering from a biting disappointment.
In a burgeoning democratic state, the support of the people for Democracy might likely be on the fringe after such a disappointment. It is not hard to imagine how disappointment might turn to bitterness, doubt, and potentially anger. Is this "mission critical" time to (re)capture the hearts and minds of a beacon of Caucasus Democracy? I believe that, indeed, this might represent an opportunity to put into action a Civil Psychology mission to Condition Democracy in the nation...
P.S. the picture is of marauding Russian warrior statues above the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg
On SORM-2 "...It is a sort of equivalent to the Echelon system in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. All ISPs, by law, must give all encryption codes to the FSB and a number of other law enforcement agencies..."
Greg (an expert on Russian media) also warned me that Russians "hate" the word Democracy: "So much so that in the 2003-4 election cycle it disappeared from the rhetoric of most of the parties. The party that stuck with the democracy message was decimated in the elections. It has been used and misused for a while now, there is an association with the 'Shock Therapy' economic programme, which has deeply hurt many ordinary Russians. They hate the word, prior to this democracy was more associated with the ability to consume, buy and choose goods and services."
I wonder whether my research will support this line of thinking... I question whether an analysis of the state-controlled media can accurately reflect the feelings of individuals (especially with the heavy misuse of the word). I think that the DPS analysis of Democratic concepts independent of the word "Democracy" will be especially critical here.
Overcoming the SORM-2 system might prove challenging. I suppose that much is dependent on whether the ISP gets tagged to be checked. They can't possibly review ALL of the data being sent on Russian servers,
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Now with the burgeoning number of scholars, diplomats, students, and professionals reading the blog and emailing me, I will address the issue a little bit on the blog for everyone. You can get the latest updates (and really great links) from the Georgia Ministry of Foreign Affairs blog. This has proved a reliable source of direct information from
What’s more, there is little clamoring for more openness. The government under Putin has consistently moved more authoritarian, and the Russian people have put up with it. There are very few elements of modern Democracy left in
It starts now—although it never should have stopped—
P.S. the picture is "The Death of Socrates" found in a St. Petersburg art museum
If you are interested in helping to administer the DPS, please email me. I'm trying to establish enough scores for a baseline.
In a couple days I will offer a lot of criticism of the current attempts (by the IRI, Pew Center, and others) to measure any kind of Democracy "endorsement."
Why Build Foreign Democracies?
I can already hear everyone shouting at me: "But they're different! If those people are free, they will all want war--they'll want the destruction of the United States and all the civility and culture of the West!" This doomsday scenario is actually a perfect example of the Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE). Look it up on Wikipedia. Don't feel bad if you feel this way, but you are not looking at the whole picture. We all have a tendency to overemphasize the role of the person and under-emphasize the power of the situation. It's impossible to judge what people who are living a fear-based society would do if they were living in freedom. But why would you jump to the conclusion that they are somehow fundamentally different from us? I think people see themselves in a wholly separate manner from the way they see anyone else. Just assume with me for the moment that other people want the same things from life that you do. They want to survive, they have fears, they want to succeed, they want some modicum of happiness, etc. What would the world look like? Probably very similar to the world that we already live in, right? People are placed in different situations. It's hard to imagine someone who would want an ultimately different set of goals in life. And everyone wants to be free. And everyone wants to be safe. And war does not fit into this picture at all. Free societies support everyone's security.
Aside from our own collective security, some have mentioned that strong liberal Democracies have a moral duty to spread liberal Democracy to other countries. I find this argument weak so I won't go there. But you certainly can.
And aside from both of those, liberal Democracies support the progress of science, industry, and economic development. If you think these are bad, then A) I feel sorry for you, and B) ignore this argument and take one of the above. Free societies liberate the innate creativity, ingenuity, and curiosity of humanity. This is what fosters development in these areas.
Proposing "Conditioning Democracy"
After nine years in the Gulag, Natan Sharansky might have conclusively refuted the self-evident nature of inalienability of
“Conditioning Democracy” proposes Democratic Propensity Theory to shape the much-needed policy overhaul. With a unique focus on individual endorsement of Democracy, “Conditioning Democracy” relates psychological principles to Democracy initiatives. The United States is missing a sixth tool from its toolbox: conditioning people for Democracy, creating the yearning for freedom from within individuals. Exposing individuals from emerging Democracies to successful Democratic deliberation experiences increases the individual’s propensity for Democratic government. Conditioning Democracy proposes policies that incorporate professional “operational” psychologists into missions that “condition” denizens of emerging Democracies, whole communities at a time, to accept the potential both for participation in Democratic government and Democratic rule of law. If policy-makers consider the evidence that I will present in “Conditioning Democracy,” new policy should both more efficiently use resources and perhaps also save lives.