archive: using Fukuyama’s argument against liberal democracy itself: history can’t end with liberalism…
May 9th, 2017 •
We discussed Fukuyama’s argument yesterday and here is the core of the fallacious argument. He has missed the point of Hegel but even if we accepted his Hegelian metaphysics it would not necessarily follow that liberal democracy represents any endpoint.
The whole idea originally was surely pace Kojeve at al, indeed Marx, that very simply liberal democracy was too imperfect to be this ‘end of history’ and that a form of communism could achieve the correction to produce real democracy. Here the Bolshevik example totally confused the issue, it must be admitted.
Our discussion of ‘Kant’s challenge’ and the idea of progress toward a perfect civil constitution is a better formulation: we can see that beyond liberal democracy lie any number of systems that could improve on the confusion created by so-called liberal democracy as a cover for capitalism.
Why use Hegel at all? It is a mystification of metaphysics where our eonic model shows clearly the directionality of a freedom effect in world history.
Fukuyama jettisoned Hegel’s implausible metaphysics, as well as Marx’s idea of ‘dialectical materialism’, as the proposed motor of historical synthesis. In their place, he suggested that the modern scientific method coupled with technological advancement, alongside market capitalism as a form of mass information-processing for the allocation of resources, could explain how humanity had successfully managed to develop – haltingly, but definitely – on an upward course of civilizational progress. The catch, however, was that we had now gone as far as it was possible to go. Liberal democratic capitalism was the final stage of Historical synthesis: no less inherently contradictory form of society was possible. So, while liberal democracy was by no means perfect, it was the best we were going to get. Big-H history was over, and we were now living in post-History. That was what Fukuyama meant by his infamous
claim that History had ‘ended’. To be sure, many critics see Fukuyama’s theory as no more plausible than Hegel’s metaphysics or Marx’s materialism. And his claim that Western liberal democratic capitalism represented the necessary end point of the grand Historical working-out of human existence
– such that no society more desirable than the US of the 1990s was possible – strikes many as no more
likely than Hegel’s notorious claim that the end of History was the 19th-century Prussian state (which just happened to pay his salary).
Source: Was Francis Fukuyama the first man to see Trump coming? | Aeon Essays