Wednesday, June 30, 2010


MAY 1990

Notes on assigned essay reading: author, Francis Fukuyama, journal, The National Interest, Summer 1989, Fukuyama’s essay title, “The End of History?” 

Lurene's email in 2014:
This essay was thrilling for me as assigned reading in Jerusalem. The Berlin Wall was suddenly history, and college students everywhere looked in amazement at the new Europe. In 2010, people often consider this essay by Fukuyama as wrong, over-idealistic or smug. I differ. I think, yes, he might have been optimistic, but he was correct in several respects. That is, I honestly believe forms of government which ignore a population's need for freedom of thought and open speech are doomed. Liberal democracy is essential. Over and over through history, we've seen that authoritarian regimes can't encourage such freedoms.

Q: What is the main thrust of the article concerning political ideologies? Why does he claim that ideas have reached a point of culmination?

• The Century is moving to an unabashed victory of economic and political liberalism.

• The triumph of the Western idea is evident in the total exhaustion of viable systematic alternatives.

• What we may be witnessing is the end point of ideological evolution – liberal democracy as the final form of human govt.

• Still incomplete in the real or material world, but the victory of ideas has occurred in the REALM OF IDEAS and consciousness.

• The concept of history as a dialectical process with a beginning, middle, end borrowed by Marx from Hegel.

• Hegel said mankind a product of concrete historical, social environment. Man not a collection of fixed “natural” attributes.

• Hegel’s ideas were used by Marx. Kojeve’s work.

• Two world wars and related upheavals had the effect of extending these principals spatially.

• What remains is primarily economic activity, Kojeve’s theories said.

• The contradictions that drive history to exist are:

 in the realm of human ideas.
 can include religion, culture and the complex of moral values.
 Rooted in a prior state of consciousness, which creates the material world in its own image

• Not a single respectable contemporary theory of economic development addresses consciousness and culture as the matrix within which economic behavior is formed.

• Failure to understand that roots of economic behavior lie in realm of consciousness and culture lead to the common mistake of attributing material causes to phenomena that are ideal in nature.

• The material world can clearly affect in return the viability of a particular state of consciousness.

• The Central issue is the fact that the people’s republic of China…not a beacon for illiberal forces.

• At the end of history it’s not necessary that all societies become successful liberal societies, merely that they quit pretensions of representing higher forms of human society.

• Two challenges to liberalism-left: Religion and nationalism.

• Organized religious impulses, other than Islam, can be satisfied in a liberal-democratic context.


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