Fukuyama end history essay


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Fukuyama have to say to each other, though their co-habitation clearly makes for sensational copy. We have nothing but good wishes for Fukuyama 1; about Fukuyama 2, however, we have grave reservations, not least because of the threat his ideas pose to his more commonsensical twin. Once one is seduced, everything seems marvelously clear and, above all, necessary : all important questions have been answered beforehand and the only real task is to apply the method to clean up the untoward messiness of reality.

It is very exiciting. As the philosopher Leszek Kolakowski observed in his book Religion ,. What one gains is an explanation; what one loses is the truth. There are good reasons—from the rise of multiculturalism to the state once known as Yugoslavia—to believe that what we are witnessing today is not the final consolidation of liberal democracy but the birth of a new tribalism. Among the unpleasant side effects of adherence to such doctrines is the habit of intellectual arrogance.

Hegel offers the supreme case in point.

Francis Fukuyama Postpones the End of History

Not surprisingly, such arrogance also expresses itself about competing doctrines. Is it not rather that what one needs in order to discern progress is knowledge of where mankind has been , not where it is going? And in any case, whom should we trust to furnish us with accurate reports about where mankind is going? Hegel, for all his genius, really a reliable guide? Is Francis Fukuyama? No: history, a humble account of how man has lived and suffered, is what we require to declare progress, not prophecy. It is important to stress that the issue is not whether mankind has made progress over the millennia.

Surely it has. The exact nature and extent of the progress can be measured in any number of ways. The material progress of mankind has been staggering, especially in the last two hundred years. As Francis Fukuyama points out, in there were only three liberal democracies in the world: the United States, France, and Switzerland. Today, there are sixty-one. That is remarkable progress. But it is also contingent progress, reversible by the same means that accomplished it in the first place: the efforts of individual men and women.

But how often, even before Hegel, has that end been proclaimed. And then they will say again that everything has been done and said. But in his view, evil, e. I submit that any theory which regards World War II as a momentary wrinkle on the path of freedom is in need of serious rethinking. For it is not at all clear that Hegel himself was a champion of anything like what we call liberal democracy.

What about the rest? No one is going to give Hegel a prize for limpid prose. Certainly he talked about freedom a great deal. But liberal democracy? Did Hegel believe that it was? Francis Fukuyama is surely correct that to have a liberal democracy, the people must be sovereign. But in The Philosophy of Right Hegel seems to think that the sovereign should be sovereign.

Or at least he appears to like it. Fukuyama himself has acknowledged the flaws in his initial argument. Francis Fukuyama's works can best be understood by through his worldview.

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His interpretation of history is adapted from Hegel, and posits that the story of history is best understood as a long, long struggle to realize humanity's latent desire for freedom. They won. From the fall of the Soviet Union onward, ideological struggles would only further strengthen the dominance of Western liberalism. Despite using a dramatic term like "The End of History," Fukuyama isn't saying that wars won't break out, or economic crises won't be triggered, or bad things will stop happening.

His argument is only that no serious ideological threat would ever again rise to challenge the liberal capitalist world order, as it had supposedly proven itself superior to authoritarianism in all respects. Very early in his essay, Fukuyama actually very specifically rejects the idea that the West's victory would result in a perfect and peaceful world: [2]. This is not to say that there will no longer be events to fill the pages of Foreign Affair's yearly summaries of international relations, for the victory of liberalism has occurred primarily in the realm of ideas or consciousness and is as yet incomplete in the real or material world.

But there are powerful reasons for believing that it is the ideal that will govern the material world in the long run. His essay, however, was largely inspired by his observations of then recent political events. The first version of the essay was published in , when the Berlin Wall was crumbling, the USSR was collapsing, and the Second World was going nuts for a consumerist orgy of free market awesomeness. Fukuyama's introduction does a good job of explaining why he and his contemporaries viewed liberal democracy as the last ideology standing.

In the past decade, there have been unmistakable changes in the intellectual climate of the world's two largest communist countries, and the beginnings of significant reform movements in both.

The last hollow laugh

But this phenomenon extends beyond high politics and it can be seen also in the ineluctable spread of consumerist Western culture in such diverse contexts as the peasants' markets and color television sets now omnipresent throughout China, the cooperative restaurants and clothing stores opened in the past year in Moscow, the Beethoven piped into Japanese department stores, and the rock music enjoyed alike in Prague, Rangoon, and Tehran. In , Fukuyama himself interestingly rejected the idea that his endgame world would be based around the American system, instead claiming the world would more closely resemble the European Union , saying "The EU's attempt to transcend sovereignty and traditional power politics by establishing a transnational rule of law is much more in line with a "post-historical" world than the Americans' continuing belief in God, national sovereignty, and their military.

The greatest and most obvious criticism of Fukuyama's theory can be made by making simple observations about the world since the earlys. The West and its ideologies are under assault from all corners in a manner which highly suggests that the world might find itself in a titanic ideological struggle not seen since the Cold War.

One problem is that several ideological challengers have risen to face Western liberals, and they cannot be brushed aside in the glib manner in which Fukuyama addressed Soviet communism and European fascism. The other problem is that internal weaknesses have also become seriously noticeable in the political systems of many nations, both within Europe and in North America. American leaders goaded the Soviets into an arms race that communist Russia's much smaller economy couldn't withstand. Fukuyama believed that the temptation of prosperity would draw authoritarian states onto the path towards democracy.


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However, there are now two major cases were this has not happened: China and Russia. What makes this model dangerous is the combination of capitalist wealth with centralized authoritarian power. China's president may have a theoretically smaller for now economy to work with, but he can wield this economic strength far more effectively than an American president could, entirely due to the comparative powers of the two offices. Like the United States, China can also use its money to buy friends.

Illiberal regimes which seek to add to their own wealth are far more likely to seek guidance from a fellow illiberal regime rather than from a democratic nation which transparently seeks to create another democratic nation. China especially, has successfully been gathering credibility for its own model versus the Western.

In the wake of the Great Recession , China's ability to create an economic plan and force the whole nation to follow it seems very attractive. More recently, Fukuyama has made his triumphant return to US headlines, but now he seems to be singing a different tune.

An Introduction to Francis Fukuyamas The End of History - A Macat Politics Analysis

Fukuyama is now worried about a possible implosion of Western democracy from within, a fear which was heightened by the election of who else? Donald Trump.

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Fukuyama 25 years after ‘The End of History’—what is this ‘History’? – Foreign Policy

This has forced Fukuyama to address what is now apparent as an oversight in his initial hypothesis: democracies can backslide into authoritarianism. Also typical for the man who wrote his first essay about the collapse of Soviet global leadership, his other great concern is the effect this democratic backsliding will have on American global leadership. Not only could the United States take a friendlier tone with the authoritarians who gnaw at the Western liberal order, Fukuyama fears, but a general withdrawal from the world stage could create a power vacuum which would be filled by the likes of Russia, China, and Iran.

Even as early as , Fukuyama showed himself to be considerably less idealistic in this respect, [13] acknowledging that countries like Thailand and Turkey turned against their liberal institutions, and noting the failure of the Arab Spring and the Orange Revolution. At the end of and All That , published in , W.

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