The End Of History


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Huntington, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote in the pages of The National Interest to comment on the fifteen-page piece.

Its millennarian title, sans question mark, soon became a slogan to be bruited about in Washington think tanks, the press, and the academy. The young Francis Fukuyama, then a deputy director of the U.


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Why the fuss? What commanded attention was something far more radical.

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For in proclaiming that the end of history had arrived in the form of triumphant liberal democracy, Francis Fukuyama did not mean that the world would henceforth be free from tumult, political contention, or intractable social problems. According to Francis Fukuyama, other forms of government, from monarchy to communism to fascism, had failed because they were imperfect vehicles for freedom; liberal democracy, allowing mankind the greatest freedom possible, had triumphed because it best instantiated the ideal.

In this sense, what Mr.


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In any event, the idea of the end of History is hardly novel. In one form or another, it is a component of many myths and religions—including Christianity, with its vision of the Second Coming. And anyone familiar with the interstices of nineteenth-century German philosophy will remember that the end of History also figures prominently in the philosophies of G. Hegel and his disgruntled follower Karl Marx. It is perhaps worth noting, too, that one important difference between most religious speculation about the end of History and versions propagated by philosophers is hubris: orthodox Christianity, for example, is gratifyingly indefinite about the date of this eventuality.

Francis Fukuyama and the end of History | The New Criterion

Hegel harbored no such doubts or hesitations. On the one hand, faithful Hegelian that he is, he regards it as the final triumph of freedom. We cannot picture to ourselves a world that is essentially different from the present one, and at the same time better. Francis Fukuyama claims at the outset that The End of History is not simply a restatement of his famous article.

Like the article that occasioned it, The End of History also provides two quite disparate views of the world. On one side we have Francis Fukuyama the conservative political analyst, commenting in lithe, well-informed prose on the state of the world. This gentleman is hardheaded, wry, and full of quietly witty obiter dicta.


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One is not surprised to find endorsements on the book jacket from such well-known figures as Charles Krauthammer, George F. Will, and Eduard Shevardnadze. On the other side we have Francis Fukuyama the philosopher, impressively erudite, deeply committed to a neo-Hegelian view of the historical process.

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This Francis Fukuyama seems to put greater stock in ideas than facts indeed, one suspects that he would scorn the distinction between ideas and facts as an artificial construct. 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. Not surprisingly, such arrogance also expresses itself about competing doctrines.

End of history

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? To explain this, he considers some theoretical issues about the nature of historical change, including the philosophy of Hegel, who originated the idea of the end of history. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from to that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields.

Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review. The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.

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