December 23, 2015

Empire State of Mind

The Illiberal Foundations of Liberal Hegemony
  • Christopher Coyne

    Associate Director, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • Abigail Hall

    Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Tampa
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You can find the paper at SSRN.

This paper explores the interventionist mindset required for success under the U.S. government’s foreign policy strategy of liberal hegemony. This approach to foreign policy contains an inherent tension. Its adherents claim a commitment to liberal values but successfully implementing the strategy requires, attracts, and reinforces a mentality fundamentally at odds with those values. We discuss the defining characteristics of the interventionist mindset and how the adoption of this mentality is incentivized by government bureaus which reward those who successfully implement the government’s foreign policy strategy. Those who rise to the top will tend to be those who are most comfortable and willing to engage in illiberal behaviors toward foreign populations.