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Fukuyama’s End of History

July 24, 2012

I’m going through this book for the second time. I’ve really got to comment on this quote on page 276, chapter, “Toward a Pacific Union.”

For the foreseeable future, the world will be divided between a post-historical part, and a part that is still  stuck in history. Within the post-historical world, the chief axis of interaction between states would be economic, and the old rules of power politics would have decreasing relevance.

This is typical Straussian tunnel vision. Fukuyama finds an end of history because he defines history in terms of war. History is not made through economics or science, according to him. The near economic collapse we suffered in 2008 — you’ll be glad to know that was not history.  The “god particle” they might have found in post-historical Geneva Switzerland — that was not history either. Apollo 11? Not history. According to the “last man” thesis we are becoming “men without chests.” Such men can’t achieve the “greatness” of a Napoleon. So says a Straussian and we all should know how much we should value their value judgments.

This is what bothers me most about Straussians. Adolescent boys dream of proving themselves in glorious battles. That’s the kind of history that appeals to them. But to call that fantasy the end of history, or of its end, the end of man? Let’s see the Straussians climb out of their think tanks and live the dream. Let them talk of their own glory on the battlefield. Why aren’t they in any hurry to prove themselves in the ultimate test? Why do they send other men to do it for them? Is this courage? Or could it be that it’s all propaganda?  Could it be they don’t truly believe any of this?

This fascination is fine for immature boys. It’s fine when we’re watching the Super Bowl. But when grown men can’t shake their boyhood it’s pathetic, if not dangerous.

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