The End of American History
Francis Fukuyuma, the Japanese American intellectual spokesman for the Jewish American Neoconservative movement, proclaimed in his 1992 book The End of History and the Last Man that liberal democracy was the final socio-political form since earlier alternatives such as Fascism and Communism had proven to be ideological failures, and liberty and equality had now been established as universal norms. Fukuyama’s view of history moving in progressive political phases was of course first popularised in the nineteenth century by German thinkers like Hegel, Marx and their followers, who sought to discern historiographical patterns in the vagaries of military and economic fortune and to either celebrate or revolt against the current political status of their own nation, in their case Germany. To be sure, Hegel was somewhat more elevated than Marx in supposing the course of history to be the varying manifestations of a developing Weltgeist, or world-spirit, whereas Marx’s historiography was ruled by mere economic alterations. Nevertheless, the falsehood of even Hegel’s philosophy of history is made clear to anyone who considers the history of the country which is actually promoting liberal democracy now as a universal norm, America.
In America there has been, from its inception as an independent nation, hardly any deviation from liberal democratic goals, and Communism and Fascism have not only been absent there in their European forms but are, if ever they emerge, quickly absorbed into the unchanging liberal democratic framework of the nation. Actually what American society represents is a sort of ahistoric, shadow-communist utopia, where private individuals strive ever more strenuously to possess the means of production and to resist the interference of the state in public affairs. There is little also to distinguish the Communist ideal of equality from the Liberal. When Fukuyama suggests that we have come to the “end of history”, therefore, what he means is that the world that has undergone genuine historical changes has now been conquered by a country that began and continues as a utopia that is as little capable of historical change as of real progress, that is, progress understood not in the technological but in the traditional sense of the development of the spiritual, intellectual and social attitudes of a people.
The “end of history” is indeed a phenomenon that is peculiar to America as a British colony that has had tenuous connections with the naturally developing history of the Old World. While most countries founded by colonial settlement manage to maintain and develop the culture of their mother nation to a certain extent – as Australia, for example, has done – America began and developed at a time of Protestant and Puritan revolt against the ancient Catholic monarchical traditions of Britain.
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