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Monday, October 03, 2016

Kim Kardashian robbed in Paris!

Yeah, right.

To return to matters of actual interest to me, it's interesting to see how, despite authoring two volumes of a significant new book, Francis Fukuyama's public relations efforts appears to have been sidelined into an ongoing defense of the indefensible, which are his collective attempts to defend and retroactively redefine his increasingly ludicrous End of History thesis:
In the summer of 1989, the American magazine the National Interest published an essay with the strikingly bold title "The End of History?". Its author, the political scientist Francis Fukuyama, announced that the great ideological battles between east and west were over, and that western liberal democracy had triumphed. With anti-communist protests sweeping across the former Soviet Union, the essay seemed right on the money. Fukuyama became an unlikely star of political science, dubbed the "court philosopher of global capitalism" by John Gray. When his book The End of History and the Last Man appeared three years later, the qualifying question mark was gone.

The "end of history" thesis has been repeated enough to acquire the ring of truth – though it has also, of course, been challenged. Some critics have cited 9/11 as a major counterexample. Others have pointed to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and the Arab spring as proof that ideological contests remain.

But Fukuyama was careful to stress that he was not saying that nothing significant would happen any more, or that there would be no countries left in the world that did not conform to the liberal democratic model. "At the end of history," he wrote, "it is not necessary that all societies become successful liberal societies, merely that they end their ideological pretensions of representing different and higher forms of human society."

Fukuyama was talking about ideas rather than events. He believed that western liberal democracy, with its elegant balance of liberty and equality, could not be bettered; that its attainment would lead to a general calming in world affairs; and that in the long run it would be the only credible game in town. "What we are witnessing," he wrote, "is not just the end of the cold war, or a passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalisation of western liberal democracy as the final form of human government."

Fukuyama drew on the philosophy of Hegel, who defined history as a linear procession of epochs. Technological progress and the cumulative resolution of conflict allowed humans to advance from tribal to feudal to industrial society. For Marx, the journey ended with communism; Fukuyama was announcing a new destination.

For a long time his argument proved oddly resilient to challenges from the left. Neoliberalism has been pretty hegemonic. Over the last three years, however, in a belated reaction to the 2008 bank bailouts, cracks have started to appear. Global Occupy protests and demonstrations against austerity have led many commentators on the left – including the French philosopher Alain Badiou in The Rebirth of History and Seumas Milne in his collection of essays The Revenge of History – to wonder whether history is on the march once again. "What is going on?" asks Badiou. "The continuation, at all costs, of a weary world? A salutary crisis of that world, racked by its victorious expansion? The end of that world? The advent of a different world?" He tentatively regards the uprisings of 2011 as game-changing, with the potential to usher in a new political order. For Milne, likewise, developments such as the failure of the US to "democratise" Iraq and Afghanistan, the financial crash and the flowering of socialism in Latin America demonstrate the "passing of the unipolar moment".

What remains an open question is whether these developments – dramatic as they are – will actually result in anything.
Frankly, the whole thing is somewhat of a disappointment to me. To discover that Jesus Jones's conception of "watching the world wake up from History" is both more sophisticated and accurate than Fukuyama's is devastating to anyone who would fancy himself an intellectual.

Fukuyama's mistake was to apply History's end to liberal democracy rather than to Marxism, where it belonged.

Anyhow, both Fukuyama and Marx were wrong. They went full-Hegel. Never go full-Hegel. And you can't bring back ideology in multicultural societies where identity politics are destined to rule until they are homogenous again.

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44 Comments:

Anonymous Joe S. Walker October 03, 2016 8:11 AM  

"The end of history" was smug nonsense from the off.

Anonymous MendoScot October 03, 2016 8:16 AM  

It played to progressives delusions regarding the perfectibility of human nature.

So, yeah.

Blogger Cataline Sergius October 03, 2016 8:22 AM  

Tease

Anonymous antipater_1 October 03, 2016 8:25 AM  

Vox, this comment is OT but....
Does it appear to you or other commenters here that Obama has lost control over his national security and military establishments? It sure seems so to me.

Whether that is due to incompetence or indifference I can't say.

Blogger Krul October 03, 2016 8:30 AM  

TFW your political prediction was less realistic than the "Thousand Year Reich".

Blogger Amy October 03, 2016 8:35 AM  

Loved Jesus Jones. Pardon while I run off to buy the digital catalog, my collection is on cassette and no longer plays.

Smug is the right word. "End of history" sounds like something people attempting to project intelligence will say to shut down debate, and be able to credit their passing familiarity with the concept by invoking Fukuyama! like some magic talisman.

A lesser understanding of human nature, and the rhyming nature of history, could not be.

Blogger dc.sunsets October 03, 2016 8:40 AM  

If a trend is long enough, people obviously call it permanent. Often they do so most insistently as it ends and a new, very different trend emerges.

Blogger CarpeOro October 03, 2016 8:47 AM  

Eh. I'll stick with the cyclical view of history versus a linear one provided by ideologues of any stripe. Until we are in God's realm we are in the other one, and if nothing else man is flawed. Everyone has a misstep, if not in their life in what they pass on. Hence the reason we will be fighting the good fight until His return.

Blogger Jack Ward October 03, 2016 8:55 AM  

How can history end while there is even one human left alive?

Anonymous Rodger Dodger October 03, 2016 9:12 AM  

"political scientist"

That is to say, an alchemist or sorcerer.

Blogger Ingot9455 October 03, 2016 9:13 AM  

@4 To bring you back somewhat on topic; this is what happens when your job as President is to hire like-minded Communists. You can't necessarily give them orders any more because their loyalty is to Communism, not you. You become, at best, one of the Communism thought-leaders who sway them to and fro with the distraction of the day. But the problem is that there are many other such thought leaders all with their own personal agendas.

Anonymous Faceless October 03, 2016 9:14 AM  

I remember when that Jesus Jones song came out; I think it was the summer I played a lot of Punisher on a PS/1.

I remember thinking that this - this is the end of gaming consoles - this is as good as it's going to get, and, even though they might still make gaming consoles, nobody will ever claim them to be superior to PC gaming.

Anonymous SciVo October 03, 2016 9:15 AM  

antipater_1 wrote:Vox, this comment is OT but....

Does it appear to you or other commenters here that Obama has lost control over his national security and military establishments? It sure seems so to me.

Whether that is due to incompetence or indifference I can't say.


Obama is smug and indifferent. That entirely explains the future.

Blogger Student in Blue October 03, 2016 9:23 AM  

Vox is... turning to clickbait titles? Say it ain't so!

Blogger CarpeOro October 03, 2016 9:26 AM  

@4

It is the nature of trying to run things through a very flawed puppet and remain in the shadows. Presidente Zero's masters are finding that eventually the strings start to get tangled up. Hillary as a more (temporarily) active puppet is their answer.

Blogger James Dixon October 03, 2016 9:47 AM  

> Yeah, right.

What, no analysis of the societal impact on the leftist psychology in the US and it's effect on the presidential campaigns? I'm devastated. :)

But yeah, The End of History was complete nonsense from the start.

Blogger Patrick October 03, 2016 9:49 AM  

To be honest I've not thought a bit about Fukuyama and his nonsense in years. And the brainless slogan I see tossed about most of late is not "the end of history," but rather "late stage capitalism," another hairball that sounds good but upon two seconds of reflection makes even less sense.

Blogger Patrick October 03, 2016 9:52 AM  

To be honest I've not thought a bit about Fukuyama and his nonsense in years. And the brainless slogan I see tossed about most of late is not "the end of history," but rather "late stage capitalism," another hairball that sounds good but upon two seconds of reflection makes even less sense.

Blogger Some Guy October 03, 2016 9:54 AM  

So if I talk about Kim Kardashian, I'm not technically going off topic am I?

Anonymous VFM #6306 October 03, 2016 9:57 AM  

I remember seeing that book at the front table of the bookstore when I was in college. I was shocked that it didn't rise to the level of the crappy revisionist history courses I'd taken. Honestly, I don't remember much of it, as I still think of it as "The Prayer of Jabez" for seculars.

I believed a lot of idiocy (and do remember the pure joy of "right here right now") then...
Maybe I still do, but global warming and the End of History were never on the list. Fukuyama mangles Neitsche beyond recognition...exactly as Neitsche anticipated he would.

Blogger Johnny October 03, 2016 10:00 AM  

antipater_1 wrote:Vox, this comment is OT but....

Does it appear to you or other commenters here that Obama has lost control over his national security and military establishments? It sure seems so to me.

Whether that is due to incompetence or indifference I can't say.


Obama has appointed fairly radical people to a lot of positions and they are acting out, or so it would seem. Although he may or may not like everything that is happening it is not the same as losing control. He is a hands off sort of guy and collectively it is his agenda.

Blogger VD October 03, 2016 10:01 AM  

Vox is... turning to clickbait titles? Say it ain't so!

It was more an expression of contempt.

Anonymous mature craig October 03, 2016 10:07 AM  

Hope she and her family are ok seem like nice kind people

Anonymous Hammerman October 03, 2016 10:08 AM  

But alchemy actually led somewhere productive....

Anonymous mature craig October 03, 2016 10:12 AM  

Re identity politics. I think it makes lo positive change difficult...perhaps in the future America will mature in such a way that identity politics will have less power

Blogger allyn71 October 03, 2016 10:23 AM  

Obama has appointed fairly radical people to a lot of positions and they are acting out, or so it would seem. Although he may or may not like everything that is happening it is not the same as losing control. He is a hands off sort of guy and collectively it is his agenda.

As long as he gets his quality time with Reggie all is good.

Do think that the different arms of the apparatus have seperate agenda's. State, CIA, and Pentagon are not in alignment over Syria in part due to Obama's indifference. The attack on Deir al-Zor was an intentional sabotage of the Kerry brokered peace deal by the hawks.

Anonymous Bukulu October 03, 2016 10:27 AM  

"Kim Kardashian robbed in Paris!"

It's about time.

Blogger allyn71 October 03, 2016 10:27 AM  

Back to topic, how do those proclaiming the "End of History" and the supremacy of the western liberal worldview reconcile the fact that their secular humanism undermines everything that created western liberalism.

It has never made sense.

Anonymous End of Herstory October 03, 2016 10:43 AM  

@19
So if I talk about Kim Kardashian, I'm not technically going off topic am I?

Does she own a Glock?

Anonymous Jordi October 03, 2016 10:44 AM  

As a frenchman, I am annoyed by the Kardashian stuff

France is highly dependant on tourism, and the safety level in Paris is getting gradually lower, due to some vibrant communities and a culturally marxist judicial system

This issue will cost at least 1B€ of GDP and a few thousnad jobs.

Sorry if my post seems off-topic, but at least it adresses the title of the article.

Anonymous A Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents October 03, 2016 10:49 AM  

Fukuyama's thesis is a kind of "triumph of ideology". The idea of liberal democracy triumphed over all other alternatives. Alternatives might continue to exist, like some exotic, rare, animal in a special ecological niche, but liberal democracy would dominate the world of political ideas.

Because ideas always win, "history" has been telling us that since the 19th century so it must be true.

Maybe Fukuyama's article and later book were signs that Peak Ideology was approaching.

Blogger Karl October 03, 2016 11:01 AM  

For all the bashing of Fukuyama, I would still recommend his book "The Origins of Political Order" which is a civilizational survey across China, India, Ottomans, Byzantine, Mamluks etc.

I would describe it as alt-light, under your taxonomy. He goes from human proto-history (apes) to initial social development to how these societies tried to combat nepotism for example.

It's not that Fukuyama doesn't deserve pillorying for The End of History; but this book (I haven't read the industrial civ follow up book) is a relatively readable survey, especially if you don't want to slog through 20 volumes of Will & Ariel Durant.

Blogger Timmy3 October 03, 2016 11:13 AM  

Seems like the present is liberal authoritarianism with a faux democracy. Trump is losing it so we are back to where we were after the RNC.

Blogger Gapeseed October 03, 2016 11:24 AM  

Never go full Hegel when the Preaching of Ecclesiastes has proven to be much more anti-fragile.

Anonymous BGKB October 03, 2016 11:35 AM  

Does it appear to you or other commenters here that Obama has lost control over his national security and military establishments?

Men have had to wear pregnancy bellies to "feel" how things are for women that use pregnancy to avoid deployment. By 2017 all sailors will have to take tranny classes. So it sure appears that he is in control, but you probably were asking if they would take guns from white people.

How can history end while there is even one human left alive? Its written in cursive.

So if I talk about Kim Kardashian, I'm not technically going off topic am I?

She was robbed, she paid a lot of money to a beautician with no positive results.

Anonymous Jack Amok October 03, 2016 11:35 AM  

He believed that western liberal democracy, with its elegant balance of liberty and equality, could not be bettered

It's the same old story - underestimating the effort needed to maintain civilization. He wrote his article in 1989. If only things in the US had just stayed as they were in 1989. It was pretty good around here back then, the rot of progressivism hadn't eaten away all of our civilizational capital, we still had enough to be prosperous and happy.

But things couldn't stay that way because the prog policies meant we couldn't replenish societies coffers as fast as the progs were draining them. Our civilizational rocket lost it's engine in the 70's. We reached the crossover point in the mid 90's, where inertia no longer masked the lack of propulsion. Now gravity is taking it's course.

clickbait titles?

Francis Fukuyama has this one weird trick to international fame...

Anonymous Credo in Unum Deum October 03, 2016 11:44 AM  

Kim Kardashian robbed in Paris!

Looks like the migrant crisis in Europe has a silver-lining...

Too bad they didn't kill her. No jury anywhere on Earth would convict.

On to the topic at hand:

I don't care about Fukuyama...

He has some interesting ideas, but never really captured my attention. If he thinks that Liberal Democracy is the end of history, he should talk to all those muslims flooding into Europe who think that system is a man-made innovation, and want it replaced with shariah.

Blogger Ingot9455 October 03, 2016 11:56 AM  

@27 In the one episode of the Kardashian show that happened to be on when I was watching, the Kardashians go to a women's self defense course and learn some techniques.

Later, they are with one of their metrosexual paramours and he offers to test them to see if their techniques work - they don't. He casually manhandles them and they are powerless to do anything they supposedly learned.

The rest of the episode is them going to a firearms range and learning how to shoot.


Google is not telling me whether they use Glocks or not, but they are shooting 9mm, so...

Blogger Snidely Whiplash October 03, 2016 12:03 PM  

antipater_1 wrote:Vox, this comment is OT but....

Does it appear to you or other commenters here that Obama has lost control over his national security and military establishments? It sure seems so to me.

Whether that is due to incompetence or indifference I can't say.

No-one was publicly disgraced and dismissed for firing on the Syrian Army after the US brokered a cease-fire. Kerry was humiliated.
That's the very definition of out of control.

Blogger Aeoli Pera October 03, 2016 1:03 PM  

Rodger Dodger wrote:"political scientist"

That is to say, an alchemist or sorcerer.


Oh dear!

Anonymous A Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents October 03, 2016 1:22 PM  

@34
It's the same old story - underestimating the effort needed to maintain civilization. He wrote his article in 1989. If only things in the US had just stayed as they were in 1989. I

That was 2 or 3 years after the Reagan amnesty. Amnesty because "impossible to deport ONE MILLION illegals".

So the changes were baking in the cake right at that Current Year, and Fukuyama was too myopic to see them.

Mexican politics tends pretty strongly towards cronyism. There used to be one party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, the party of everything. Now there's three.

The PRD, or Democratic Revolutionary Party - socialist gimmidats strongest in the very poor and illiterate southern part of Mexico, where a lot of illegals come from.

The PRI, not as strong as it used to be but still dominant in the central part of the country for sure, other parts not so much.

The PAN or National Action Party, something kinda sorta more like an American middle-class party, strongest in the northern states.

Fukuyama probably would look at this as a victory for his thesis. That's only for the broadest possible definition of "liberal democracy", that is the Mexicans fight via ballot box and various corrupt practices rather than shooting each other. Except in the areas controlled by the narco cartels, those are more like fiefdoms or Cauldillo zones.

Mexican colonists tend to bring their culture and politics with them, duh - don't tell John C. Wright, though. So Mexicans tend to "Mexify" politics where they wind up. See California for a prime example.

A counterexample to the "end of history" just south of the Rio Grande and Fukuyama didn't notice.

Blogger Aeoli Pera October 03, 2016 1:34 PM  

I had an allergic reaction to the title and never gave the book a second thought until now.

Anonymous Helton Strom October 03, 2016 2:06 PM  

An SJW pushing a failing SJW thesis is doubling down? Perish the thought!

Blogger Thucydides October 03, 2016 4:11 PM  

"The Clash of Civilizations" and "Who are we?" were far closer to the mark, but Samuel Huntington apparently didn't other to get a good press agent and publicity team, which seems to be needed these days.

Other overlooked works which are relevant to these times include "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin, "The War the ended Peace" by Margaret MacMillan and "The Forgotten Man" by Amity Shlaes .

Fans of Lind and Martin Van Crevald might also enjoy "The Sling and the Stone", by Colonel Thomas X. Hammes USMC

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