Culturewesternliberaldemocracyfrancisfukuyamatheendofhistory

Mon Sep 1, 2014, 10:53 AM

It's Still Not the End of History

Last edited Mon Sep 1, 2014, 12:11 PM - Edit history (1)

Twenty-five years after Francis Fukuyama's landmark essay, liberal democracy is increasingly beset. Its defenders need to go back to the basics.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/09/its-still-not-the-end-of-history-francis-fukuyama/379394

Fukuyama was wrong on the time-line.

ISIS: Some part of the world is still in the Medieval Crusader period.

Russia Putin: Some "democracy" of the world still operates on Hitler/Mussolini-MO demagoguery.

China: an unlit powder keg and a people that may take revenge for the centuries of humiliation (by the West & Japan) by waging war and subjugating all their neighbors.

So much for the End of History.

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Response to Hypothesis (Original post)

Mon Sep 1, 2014, 11:38 AM

1. It's like Manifest Destiny for the 21st century applied to capitalism and liberal democracy.

There's the belief that the special virtues of these institutions ensure their spread.

Meanwhile, anyone who's read some history knows that there is no special virtue inherent in capitalism and democracy is just as susceptible to corruption as any other system. We just haven't come up with anything better yet.

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Response to JacoBukowski (Reply #1)

Mon Sep 1, 2014, 12:04 PM

3. Hard to imagine how to fix corruption in democracy. A tough problem.

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Response to Hypothesis (Reply #3)

Mon Sep 1, 2014, 12:18 PM

5. The Northern European countries have a pretty good handle on it.

But, I'd guess it's a result of their cultural attitudes in general more than specific laws.

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Response to JacoBukowski (Reply #5)

Mon Sep 1, 2014, 12:34 PM

8. Did the Romans become mentally retarded because of lead poisoning? (not proven)

But would a democracy work if a majority of people suffer a virus that turns them into sociopath?

We thought the law and constitution is everything. Not really, it is something that governs our everyday behavior.

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Response to Hypothesis (Original post)

Mon Sep 1, 2014, 12:01 PM

2. "History"

is always ongoing. The only "end" to human history will be the end of humans as a species.

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Response to unbridled (Reply #2)

Mon Sep 1, 2014, 12:05 PM

4. semantic :) it is history vs "history"

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Response to Hypothesis (Reply #4)

Mon Sep 1, 2014, 12:29 PM

7. All history is "history."

Because history is told by the winners, and there is never one single story to be told, but the stories of all the stakeholders of the time...all who would tell it a little differently.

Pre-history, on the other hand, is not about records of what people said, but what physical evidence has been found. That evidence still has to be interpreted, though, leaving it wide open.

And today's current events are tomorrow's history, semantics or not. Human history doesn't end until people do.

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Response to Hypothesis (Original post)

Mon Sep 1, 2014, 12:24 PM

6. Unfortunately, the end of history met the beginning of the Internet

And the author of the critique of Fukuyama doesn't get it either. He says "If the liberty of each person is to be maintained and maximized, the principles of equity and the common good must be embedded in the structure of society. And since society is structured above all by law, the law must reflect these precepts."

Liberal democracy depends critically on the ability of societies leaders to mold public opinion into accepting a choice between very few (in our case two) rather similar programs of government. The public then goes to the polls, makes their choice, and agrees to live with it for two more years.

The means for molding public opinion are such things as the political party organizations, the mass media, institutions of higher learning, foundations and think tanks, etc. However, at the core of molding public opinion on the fundamental values of society in the US was religion as exemplified by mainline Protestants, defanged Catholics, and Reformed Jews. These three branches of religion agreed on most moral and cultural values, provided that they set aside the wackier ideas of such as the fundamentalists, Opus Dei, and Hasidics. Furthermore, post-Christian secular humanists also agreed with essentially all of the non-theological elements of their moral philosophy.

Religions involve a lot of communication. They erect lecture hall in which speeches are given to large groups. They distribute printed matter to their adherent and prospective converts. Recently they adopted mass media radio and TV broadcasting to reach even more people.

Religions also enforce orthodoxy, usually by having some hierarchical organization which can discipline or expel a member who strays and attempts to cause a schism. Note that the other opinion modifiers listed above, political parties, mass media, and so forth, also have similar organizational structure, whether it involves removal of political support, editorial control, academic ostracism, or loss of position.

All of this worked rather nicely. It worked very well in the US and Western Europe. It worked somewhat less well under the Liberal Democratic party in Japan, and the post-Stalinst USSR and the post-Mao China made use of similar mechanisms for molding support of their regimes.

However, just as Fukuyama completed The End of History, there was the beginning of the Internet.

The Internet is a ready-made "Build-a-Cult" kit. It enables anyone with an opinion, no matter how unorthodox, to broadcast it to the whole world.

The result is that public opinion is becoming fragmented. Groups are forming to advance all sorts of religious, political, economic, social, and pseudo-scientific theories - theories which previously would have never made it out of neighborhood bars or into discussions by polite company. These outlier groups are gaining mass and aslo diverging from the mainstream and from each other. As a result political consensus is becoming harder to manufacture, and liberal democratic government becoming less effective. Ultimately, the outlier groups will become incompatible with each other and civil strife will ensue. At that point government will either collapse or implement authoritarian measures to liquidate groups incompatible with peace and order.

Either way, liberal democracy is at an end, terminated by the Internet.

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Response to Troll2 (Reply #6)

Mon Sep 1, 2014, 12:41 PM

9. You can make it short by saying: Exhibit A: Discussionist.

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Response to Hypothesis (Reply #9)

Mon Sep 1, 2014, 12:48 PM

10. Pretty much -- I wonder what Fukuyama's new book will say.

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Culturewesternliberaldemocracyfrancisfukuyamatheendofhistory