May 26, 2011

Francis Fukuyama’s History of the World: Part I

My long review of Francis Fukuyama's The Origins of Political Order is now in the July 2011 print edition of The American Conservative. Subscribers can read it online. (You can subscribe here.) Here's the opening:
Whenever prominent national security intellectual Francis “The End of History” Fukuyama publishes another book (which is often), it’s always amusing to wisecrack about how current events show that history has not, indeed, ended. For example, the first half of what Fukuyama intends to be his magnum opus, The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution, landed with a thump on my doorstep the week America plunged into war with Libya. As I write, Americans are astounded by Osama bin Laden being found in the heart of Pakistan’s deep state. 
It’s hard to resist making jokes at Fukuyama’s expense, even ones as tired as the non-end of history, because of his self-promoting egotism. For example, this doorstop book is, we are informed: first, an extension both forward and backward in time of his late mentor Samuel P. Huntington’s 1968 landmark, Political Order in Changing Societies; second, Fukuyama’s version of Jared Diamond’s 1997 bestselling History and Theory of Everything, Guns, Germs, and Steel; and, third, a revolutionary work that introduces to political science the cutting edge Darwinian insights of 1960s-1970s sociobiologists. (While Mel Brooks’s History of the World: Part I began with cavemen, Fukuyama’s starts with chimpanzees.)  
This is not to imply that The Origins of Political Order is a bad book. It’s a very good one, just not as boggling as Fukuyama imagines. Instead, Origins is quite sensible: it traces the historic evolution of what he defines as a good state: one that is strong, accountable, and under the rule of law. Unfortunately, it’s also shallow.  
A clue to Fukuyama’s astonishing productivity—Who can type that fast?—might be found in his Wikipedia photograph, which shows him wearing a headset microphone. The less-than-magisterial prose style of Origins sometimes sounds as if Fukuyama had dictated it at some haste into Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition software. For instance, p. 10 of Origins reads like Jane Austen on crack:
"It concerns the difficulties of creating and maintaining effective political institutions, governments that are simultaneously powerful, rule bound, and accountable. This might seem like an obvious point that any fourth grader would acknowledge, and yet on further reflection it is a truth that many intelligent people fail to understand." 


39 comments:

Florida resident said...

I have just finished reading the book "Understanding Human History" by Dr. Michael Hart (Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Princeton, he is 79 year old now.)
History from 100,000 years ago to present days, with acount of
1) evolution,
2) genes,
3) IQ,
4) Sun people vs. Ice people,
etc.

Very informative. He takes no prisoners.
Respectfully, F. r.

WLWheeler said...

The one greivious error I found in the beginning of the book is the purposeful non-mention of volkenhass. Fukuyama mentions the "sense of belonging" but, I think, consciously also leaves out the next part of the puzzle of group dynamics and that of racial prejudice.

Johann Herder delineated two distinct paradigms that operate in group dynamics of related creatures: "sense of belonging" and volkenhass or racial prejudice. He totally leave that out!

Of course, his prescription, his view is totally politically correct. He dare not include racial prejudice or group prejudice (found in all the herd animals and social insects and especially in chimpanzees and great apes) for he would legitimaze those feelings. His take is very much Marxist.

TGGP said...

I believe the picture is from a videorecorded phone call he did for Bloggingheads.tv. It probably has nothing to do with his method of composition.

Actually, the first time I saw Fukuyama on bhtv he was using an older phone with a cord, like in the old rotary days. And he commented on his son's perception of him as an old guy who hasn't kept up with the times. So perhaps he's not that different from you, Steve.

Yan Shen said...

Steve, did you even understand the argument Fukuyama was making in The End of History? He meant that History with a capital H, in the sense of a coherent, directional sociocultural evolution had arrived upon liberal democracy as its highest ideal, one that could no longer be improved upon.

He makes it clear that he doesn't mean that important historical events would come to an end or even that the world wouldn't backslide away from liberal democracy in the short-term and encounter tumultuous circumstances. In fact, he complains in the book that people frequently misinterpret his thesis in much the same way that you seem to be doing now.

You mention the events in Libya, but don't seem to grasp that the recent Arab uprisings are actually perfectly consistent with Fukuyama's assertion that the ideal of liberal democracy represents the pinnacle of mankind's sociocultural evolution and that eventually it would begin to spread to other parts of the world.

In fact, the biggest criticisms to Fukuyama's original thesis addressed the idea that Islamic fundamentalism and East Asian authoritarianism represented distinct sociopolitical alternatives to Western style liberal democracy and that in effect different parts of the world would retain their own unique forms of governance. Your mentioning the events in Libya makes it pretty clear that you fail to grasp the fact that Libya is actually a tremendous boon to the original Fukuyama thesis. Indeed, Fukuyama has come out looking far more prescient in the aftermath of the recent Arab uprisings.

That being said, it still remains uncertain the extent to which liberal democracies can take hold in Islamic strongholds. The more pressing issue in my opinion is the argument that East Asian governance represents a clear-cut alternative to Western style liberal democracy, and hence serves as a refutation of the Fukuyama thesis. Bringing up East Asia, as opposed to Libya, would've been a much better critique of The End of History.

Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately, it’s also shallow."

If you dig for real depth, you might hit PC powerlines and get electrocuted.

Anonymous said...

Fukuyama writes a lot of bull.
I always found his 'end of history' thesis ridiculous, although it is interesting dinner party talk and a nice bit of sophistry masquerading as depth, the fact is that recorded human history is but the tiniest fraction of the species' life on this planet.When taken in that context - an if we consider the real historical challenges, breakthroughs and bottlenecks homo sapiens faced eg developing flint tools, discovery of metals, agriculture, writing etc etc than bourgeoius 'liberal democracy' can be seen in its real context - nothing but a transitory puff of flatulence of a fattened and sedentary epoch.Something of no real importance, no real historic antecedent or of lasting endurance, a self-congratulatory fad no less.
As compared to the coming African Malthusian apocalypse and African takeover of a de-peopled Europe, it is but a mere guff of stinky wind compared to a hurricane.

"Ho, ho , ho - fart jokes".

Bill said...

That is an excellent piece of prose. You rip the poor guy a new orifice without once faltering from your bright, cheery, informative style. Wish I could do that.

Anonymous said...

you seem to be one of the few book reviewers who actually read books - most flip through/skim, and churn out whatever idealogy dictates like Victor David Hanson's embarrassing review of Pat Buchanan,s WWII book.

Anonymous said...

"Steve, did you even understand the argument Fukuyama was making in The End of History? He meant that History with a capital H, in the sense of a coherent, directional sociocultural evolution had arrived upon liberal democracy as its highest ideal, one that could no longer be improved upon.
He makes it clear that he doesn't mean that important historical events would come to an end or even that the world wouldn't backslide away from liberal democracy in the short-term and encounter tumultuous circumstances. In fact, he complains in the book that people frequently misinterpret his thesis in much the same way that you seem to be doing now."

What you say is correct, but Fuku might have been wrong just the same cuz the West is now moving toward ILLIBERAL democracy of cultural-spiritual Marxist school that ironically happens to be allied with global capitalism.

Also, the reality of strong, independent, and free nation-states is giving way to
a NWO controlled by the cabal and its puppets.
Fuku understood the need for interdependence among free nations, but what we are seeing today is the Sorosization of the world. Who's really in control? Who are the real leaders, and who are they accountable to? Bush II and Obama, can they really be said to be American presidents or dupes? I think Fuku was surprised and troubled by this, which is one reason why neocons exiled him.

I would argue that the struggle for dominance of capital H history isn't over. In the 20th century, there were a bunch:

Civilization(liberal West) vs Kultur(blood and soil Germany).

Capitalism vs communism.

Fascism vs communism vs liberal democracy.

Third Worldism vs 'Neo-imperialist' West.

Japanese national corporatism vs Pax America.

Of course, the biggest war of ideas by far in the second half of the 20th century was the American way vs Soviet way, which wasn't necessarily capitalism vs communism.
But, it's also true that the real struggle between the right and left--at least intellectually--wasn't between US and USSR but between Western conservatives and Western liberals/leftists. Though many on the Right wanna see the fall of USSR as defeat of the Left by the Right, it was more the defeat of the National Left(Soviet Union) by the LIBERAL West.

Anonymous said...

Since the end of the Cold War the great struggle has been between Euro-centrists and Multiculturalists. But Multi-culturalism is a misnomer since the only musical culture that really matters is black and the only intellectual culture that leads/matters is Jewish. So, kids of various cultures sing rap and read books by leftist Jewish authors. It's more like multi-concentrationism.

Eurocentrists have been losing this battle.
There has also been a key struggle between Jews and Wasps/white Christians, but it seems Jews won that war.
Let us say that the Jews won History in the West. What are the results of this?: Greater diversity, whites becoming minorities in US and Europe, more interracism, and the West essentially being ruled by an 'alien elite'. Since people normally don't wanna be ruled by an 'alien elite', Jews have been working to adapt the white goy mind to the notion of abnormal-is-the-new-normal, which explains why Jews are eager to make the gay agenda as normal or even more normal than straight stuff. Today, a gay joke gets you fired while you can trash traditional marriage all you want.

So, if the Western H-historical ideal/goal/mission/template is to form into a diverse civilization ruled by an alien elite, which civilization stands as an opposite model? East Asia, especially China. The vision of China is nation-ruled-and-owned-by-people-of-the-nation. Despite their demographic problems, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan also serve as templates for mono-racial power and success. And Vietnam is on the rise. Though it has a sizable non-Vietnamese population, it is very much a case of Vietnam-ruled-by-Vietnamese.
This will be the big challenge to Jewish power and narrative in the battle for History.

The world is now divided into nations ruled by their own people and nations ruled by alien elites. Most of Latin America are ruled by alien minority elites--descendents of whites. But there has also been a movement by native majorities to overthrow or at least pressure those elites. The diveristy of Latin America if often celebrated, but it's the product of centuries of slavery and oppression and infested with many problems.
India is a special case because, on the one hand, it is a nation ruled by its own people; after all, it's no longer ruled by Muslim Moghuls or the British. But the elites of India don't have much in common with the masses of Indians either.

As for the Middle East, it's too early to tell if the struggle is for liberalism or neo-tribalism.

Anyway, that's the way I see it. The new battle for H-history is between East Asian mono-racial ideal and Western alien-elite-diversity ideal. Both sides will have advantages and disadvantages.

Anonymous said...

Another great H-historical struggle could be cultural than intellectual: Afro-centrism vs Eurocentrism. Given that so much of our culture is based on immediate gratification and titillation, black success in sports,music, and entertainment seems to having a fundamental impact on all facets of modern attitude, behavior, values, and expectations. When Eminem has become the #1 role model among so many white kids, it's not just about pop entertainment. It is about a war for the soul of the West. Should the Western male ideal be someone like John Wayne or a punk like Eminem? And this will have an impact also on the meaning of the female. If white women are to see rappers as the main archetypes of maledom, something fundamental to Western ideals, values, and thought will be lost and violated. It will determine the content of Western blood. To the extent that races does matter, this will matter. To the extent that some ideas arose and/or developed in certain ways due to the racial make-up of a people, change of cultural attitudes may lead to change of racial make-up--via interracism--and that may fundamentally change the culture of the West. Look at all those white college kids who are into reggae and rap but care NOTHING for Beethoven or Mozart.

So, worldwide, it may come down to East Asia vs West.
But within the West, the three competing forces for the Western soul will be Jewish critique, Black funk, and white right. White right is getting beaten up real bad.

Whiskey said...

Contra Yan Shen, the "end of History" has been proven false by the return of the ethno-state, and race/ethnicity as the main operating principle for division of spoils. Examples: the Central African War(s), China's rise, South Korea's rise, disintegration of Pakistan in slow motion, bin Laden's AQ-style Jihad in Arab/Muslim lands, and the "Arab Spring" aka Muslim Brotherhood Islamic-Nationalist "reformers" (in the sense of say, Adolf Hitler's reforms, or Josef Stalin's).

All of these center along the idea of a nation, comprised of a religious/ethnic group, designed to maximize power therein. Or conversely, the failure of trans-ethnic/religious "states" to function across religious and ethnic lines.

Anonymous said...

"Victor David Hanson's embarrassing review of Pat Buchanan,s WWII book."

Pat's WWII book was a total disgrace.
I don't know about Hanson's review, but John Lukacs was right to trash it in the American Conservative.

johnsal said...

Excuse me if the following admittedly partisan observation offends anyone, but the "End of History," or the ascension to the liberal democratic nirvana, has brought us... Barack Hussein Obama!? The late cultural historian Jacques Barzun wrote an important book as the new millenium approached entitled "From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to the Present." The title speaks for itself. It wouldn't surprise - if I'm around to see it - that by 2030 Fukuyama's end of history thesis might prove to be literally accurate as we begin the slide down the long wave of a reversion to the [historical] mean.

Anonymous said...

"Contra Yan Shen, the 'end of History' has been proven false by the return of the ethno-state, and race/ethnicity as the main operating principle for division of spoils."

Fuku never said end of H would mean the end of ethno-states or nationalism. He said nationalism would not be the central ideology guiding the world, and he was right. Nationalism today tends to be implicit than explicit. Nationalism was an explicit ideology for the West in the first half of the 20th century and then for the Third World in the second half--since national liberation meant third world nationalisms.

But nationalism, though still powerful, is implicit and not really an overt ideology in most of the world. Vietnamese are nationalistic but don't make a big deal about fighting Americans or Chinese. Their main concern is money, money, money.
And even though the white nations of the West are fading into dustbin of history, there seems to be little resistance on the part of whites. Even Russia, darling of the white right, is allowing in massive immigration from the South.
So yes, tensions will exist but nationalism isn't an explicit ideology.
But it will continue to be important implicitly in many parts of the world.

icr said...

Pat's WWII book was a total disgrace.
I don't know about Hanson's review, but John Lukacs was right to trash it in the American Conservative.


Lukacs is not an honest man:
http://mises.org/misesreview_detail.aspx?control=279

Anonymous said...

I don't have a subscription to the American Conservative, so I only read the part of Steve's review that he posted here. In an earlier post Steve quoted the NYT about Fukuyama's book. Those snippets contained many embarrassing errors. For example, apparently Fukuyama thinks that the rule of law developed for the first time in 11th century Europe.

In fact, ancient Greek cities posted their laws in public places for all citizens to see. Same for the Roman Republic. No one was supposed to be above the law there.

How shameless does one have to be to write a book about world history, while not knowing anything about it? Also, if he's that ignorant about history, then he doesn't like history. He can't possibly be fascinated by it if he knows so little about it. The rule of law is just one example. That whole NYT write-up was full of howlers. If he doesn't like history, why the hell is he trying to teach others about it?

Perhaps the coming death of the publishing industry will not be such a bad thing after all. No money - no hacks. Or at least less money - fewer hacks.

lesley said...

Yan shen ... "Steve, did you even understand the argument Fukuyama was making in The End of History? He meant that History with a capital H, in the sense of a coherent, directional sociocultural evolution had arrived upon liberal democracy as its highest ideal, one that could no longer be improved upon."

I think we all got the gist, genius. Every adolescent generation thinks this way. We just don't agree with him. He takes a word that has a very steady and easily understood meaning for almost everyone, even the dumbest, and then declares it no longer exists. Gasp! Let's buy the book and see why there will be no more history? 2000K perhaps?
He felt assured of fame and a place in -- history -- for his clever prediction and bold annihilation of a common concept.
I thought he was just a gimmick when he wrote it, and now that he's still at it, he's more tiresome than ever.
History, it seems, has passed him by.

Anonymous said...

"Lukacs is not an honest man:
http://mises.org/misesreview_detail.aspx?control=279"

I think he's more honest than most, but he too often goes off on funny tangents and relies on macro-formulations.

Anonymous said...

Fuku really should have named his book END OF RADICAL IDEOLOGY(or MACRO-IDEOLOGY). His idea was that the era of MONO-IDEOLOGY claiming to answer all questions and provide all the solutions had come to an end.
Marxism was the first and last great threat/challenge to the ideal of a society defined by moderation, pluralism, property rights, and individual liberties.
The modern moderate-pluralistic societies had room for different voices, interests, factions, ideologies, enterprises, institutions, sectors, customs and cultures, faiths, properties, etc. It didn't claim to own the one-and-only TRUTH or promise utopia for all men.

Marxism, in contrast, posited a supposedly perfect and flawless theory that would unify economics, philosophy, politics, spirituality, education, media, art and culture, science and research, and everything else into a perfect formula, the historical equivalent of E = MC2.
No longer would mankind rely on false notions such as 'private property'(bourgeois oppression), 'individual freedom'(opportunity to exploit fellow man or be left alone to starve),'religious freedom'(opiate of the masses), or entertainment(diversion for the masses from their sorry lot).

In the communist order, all people would be collectively emancipated and equal and living with truth and justice 24/7. People would be free as one united mass than 'free' as 'individuals' to cheat fellow man or be left to rot in the gutter. And there would be no need for religion since social truth itself woudl be holy and sacred.

But communism failed while the West prospered and progressed after WWII. The West also let go of its former colonies and brought forth great social reforms. Marxists had contended that: (1) Western capitalism depended on imperialism to succeed, but in fact, West did better after shedding imperialism (2) non-western nations, due to imperialism or neo-imperialism would never be allowed to succeed in the capitalist world order, but East Asia disproved this.

So, the fall of communism really did seem like the End of Macro- or Mono-Ideology.

But Fuku didn't pay enough attention to the fact that not only do ideas shape peoples but peoples(in this case, demography)shape history.
Even if the increasing masses of non-whites in the West fail to mount an ideological or intellectual challenge to Western society/culture, their very presence will change the core reality and meaning of the West.

After all, Germanic Barbarians didn't change the course of history because they came up with an ideology or philosophy to challenge that of the Romans. No, they changed history because there were just too many of them and they had huge axes and wild passions. Because Fuku is an intellectual, he tends to focus more on culture and ideas than on sheer power of numbers and raw passions. Detroit's fall had nothing to do with ideas. It was just the sheer force of riots, lootings, and burning cars.

There is the power of the mob, of the fist. Or Fistory. End of history doesn't mean the end of Fistory, especially when so many of those fists belong to angry mobs of another tribe.
Fistory begins now.

Yan Shen said...

@Lesley

It's obvious that Steve didn't really get the gist of the Fukuyama thesis, because he's clearly interpreted the end of history in the sense of there being no more major historical events or tumultuous disturbances. In actuality, Fukuyama's end of history should be interpreted in the sense that liberal democracy has essentially won the war of ideas and that no other sociopolitical form of governance has the same claim to universal validity or is free from internal contradictions. Citing the example of the recent unrest in Libya as a critique of Fukuyama's assertions makes little sense, since the Arab uprisings clearly bolster Fukuyama's argument. As I stated before, Fukuyama has come out looking more prescient in the aftermath of the recent Arab revolts, because many people assumed that liberalism and the desire for freedom had little chance of taking root in traditionally Islamic societies.

It's also obvious from your rambling, incoherent post that you have no idea what the hell you're talking about.

Anonymous said...

"In actuality, Fukuyama's end of history should be interpreted in the sense that liberal democracy has essentially won the war of ideas and that no other sociopolitical form of governance has the same claim to universal validity or is free from internal contradictions."

You make a valid point, but what if ideas are only as good as the people who use them? And did fascism really lose the battle of ideas or did it lose the battle of battle? Since the West won the Cold War, it could be said capitalist-democracy won the battle of ideas over communism. But fascism lost militarily in a massive war. Well, I suppose one could argue that the foolish/reckless decisions of fascist nations reflected the flaws of their ideology: when so much power is concentrated in a single figure, things careen out of control. Also, it's true enough that modern rightist or quasi-fascist nations like Chile, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, South Korea, and Taiwan all turned to democracy in the long run.

But this still raises certain questions. Didn't the eventual success of democracy in those nations rely on economic growth made possible by 'fascist' regimes? Huntington seemed to concur with this to some extent. In that case, one could argue that democracy was as much the product (via quasi-fascism)as well as the reason for success.
What if it's true that while China is(and should be) gradually moving toward democracy, democracy would be bad for China at this moment.(Similar argument has been made for Russia.) In that case, democracy, while the goal of history, may not always be the idea that directs history in the right direction. After all, maybe rightwing military rule would have been better for Germany in the 20s than democracy, which proved to be too weak and opened the way for radicals like communists and Nazis.
The West didn't win the Cold War alone. It won partly with the success of parts of the developing world such as Chile, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore. Yet, the success of those nations depended on quasi-fascism than on democracy. All, except Singapore, eventually moved to full democracy, but their success cannot be laid purely on democracy. They had iron-fisted leaders who enforced certain economic policies. What if quasi-fascism laid the groundwork for democracy? Doesn't it deserve some credit too?
Also, prior to success of democracy in the West, the European character had been developed through centuries of Christian discipline and repressive social order. This may have been 'tyrannical' and 'dogmatic', but couldn't one argue that it hardened the Western character to achieve greater things later? After all, German character is more capable and hardy than Polish or Russian character. What built the character of the white man in the America? The tough/rough job of settling wild lands into farms or taking it easy on California beaches with surf boards?
And it seems to me that the core of black character was built prior to their liberation in the 60s, from whence it's been going to pot. White racial oppression of blacks may have been unjust but it did make blacks want to prove that they could be men of equal worth.
Though none of us like oppression--and though most forms of oppression are indeed useless--, certain forms did produce character in a people, like the military can turn a bunch of wild boys into hardy men. Given that the best democracies were created and/or practiced by peoples who'd been hardened for longer periods under creative-repressive systems, might one not argue that all democracies have a 'facist' basis? Freedom is given shape by form, and form is hammered into the souls of people as character. Oftentimes, it has to be done by force, which is why children should not given too much freedom. Amy Chua goes too far, but her brand of 'fascist parenting' has its advantages.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, Fuku himself, as a student of Huntington, has paid much attention to the role of culture/history in the success/wealth of nations. Democracy may be the best and most advanced political idea and capitalism may be the best and most used economic idea, but if so, how come they don't work for all peoples and all nations? For people to properly utilize democracy and capitalism, they need to have certain values, character, habits, manners, traits. Those are the foundations upon which ideas can take root and succeed. And though certain values make the success of democracy possible, those values/characters are not created by democracy but through a creative-repressive process. Brits, the pioneers of modern democracy, were also inheritors of a culture of 'extreme' discipline, form, manners, propriety. British masses of the past didn't act like they're doing today but sought respectability and called higher-ups 'guvner'. If British masses had acted the way they're acting today prior to magna carta , I doubt if Britain would have moved toward democracy. The elites would have been too busy maintaining social order among the loutish masses to be working toward greater political freedom. In othe words, there would have been no Magna Carta.
Today, UK is a strange place. Pop culture and political ideology encourage more rappism, more anarchism, more riotism, more insane and inane youth culture. This destabilizes social order, which undermines democracy, which means the government has to use more Orwellian means to control society. UK barbarizes the soul while repressing the mind. It encourages more boorish rap music for everyone, which makes society more crazy. But since 'Victorianism' is bad and Afro-ism is good, it'd be politically incorrect to denounce wild emotions. Instead, the mind must be made 'correct' via indoctrination. Barbarize the soul and dogmatize the mind. I don't know how long this is gonna work.

Anonymous said...

Though Germany and Japan took a wrong turn in the 1930s and 40s, they were able to turn into top-notch capitalist democracies because of their values and national character. So, ideas are not enough. Ideas are seeds that can grow only when planted on soil with right nutrients. This is prolly why Samuel Huntington has serious doubts about massive immigration from Mexico. He was skepitcal about Mexican-Americans utilizing ideas such as capitalism and democracy as other peoples such as Anglos and Germans. Ideas aren't much good if people can't use them right. The future of South Africa will demonstrate this very well.

It's kinda like a math argument. Suppose some guy comes up with the greatest math equation that beats all others. So, it is declared as the End of Math. Well, maybe.. but what if most of the people can't even add or substract? What does the great math equation mean to them? It means nothing. Similarly, while democracy and capitalism may be the greatest political and economic ideas created by man after 1000s of yrs, what if most people in a given society cannot understand or use them properly?
What good is an automobile to a pack of dogs or a calculator to a bunch of baboons?
So, no matter how great an idea, its value will be judged by people who use it or can't use it.
Given the demographic future of the West, will democracy and capitalism amount to much? Was Hellenic knowledge of much use to illiterate Germanic barbarians?
Ideas are nothing without moral values and character of a people, and such values and character are, to some degree, rooted in human biology which vary from race to race.

So, End of History or Ideas is meaningless if the West drastically changes demographically and fills up with people for whom these ideas mean little. Of course, there will always be ideas. Rappers have ideas too, and they talk the talk of democracy. But their meaning of democracy is not 'with freedom comes opportunity and responsibility' but 'freedom means the white man owes me stuff cuz they stole from us and we been victimized forever'.

While this nation was founded on the notion of political rights--called 'negative rights'--, people like Obama wanna change the notion to include economic rights, or 'positive rights', which means take from whitey and give to blacks. How long could such 'democracy' last if blacks and their kind were to become the majority?
So, there is no single form or meaning of democracy. And there are also ideas a formula for future action and ideas as an afterthought. What if the West is eventually destroyed, and people look for reasons why. As an afterthought, will a new Gibbon credit the fall of the West on capitalism and democracy?
After all, suppose Fascism and Communism had prevailed in the West since the 40s. Suppose Germany did not invade Poland. Suppose most of Western Europe turned fascist while Russia and few others turned communist. Now, it might have been less pleasant for many to live under such systems. But, the future of the West would have been secured--as neither fascist nor communist European nations would have indulged in the craziness they're indulging today: multiculturalism.
If the West falls, the only idea will be the idea as afterthought. Not democracy and capitalism as the end of history but enders of history.

Florida resident said...

My apologies: incomparable Steve Sailer has already written (in 2007) a review of M. Hart’s book “Understanding human history: An analysis including the effects of geography and differential evolution.”

http://www.vdare.com/sailer/070812_hart.htm

Moreover, I am almost sure, that I bought that book after reading that review.
Somehow I did not have the energy to read the book at the time.

Long life Steve Sailer !!! ( And happy one, I would add.)

Respectfully, F. r.

Wandrin said...

"He meant that History with a capital H, in the sense of a coherent, directional sociocultural evolution had arrived upon liberal democracy as its highest ideal, one that could no longer be improved upon."


"Fuku never said end of H would mean the end of ethno-states or nationalism. He said nationalism would not be the central ideology guiding the world, and he was right."


He's at least half-wrong as liberal democracies can only be maintained by ethno-states. There has to be a (mostly) homogenous demos or it will break down.

I would also say liberal democracies can only survive if the homogenous population are either individual-based at an instinctive level or clannish at the instinctive level but with that clannishness outweighed by conscientousness.

Anywhere else will have a variably sized minority that might want a liberal democracy but they won't be numerous enough to attain or maintain it.

The natural end state for tropical people is tribalism.

The natural end state for clannish latitudes is gangsterism.

The natural end state for white countries might be liberal democracy but they can't survive unless they are also ethno-nationalist.

The natural end state for N/Asians may be something similar to white but probably not completely identical.

.

Anonymous said...

I think I found the flaw in 'Liberal Democracy as the End of History'. Liberal democracy is like yin-yin or yang-yang instead of yin-yang. Liberalism is inherent in the idea of democracy, so 'liberal democracy' as an ideal is bound to be too much of a good thing, which is a bad thing. Too much freedom and tolerance is bound to cause problems(which is why PC thugs are trying ever harder to control the chaos they've unleashed.)

Similarly, what was the problem with 'fascist dicatatorship' or 'fascist authoritarianism'? Too much order is bound to cause problems.

Then the ideal should be something like a fascist-democracy. Such an order would guarantee basic political rights to all its citizens, but its foundations wouldn't simply be universalist and legalistic but rooted in culture, blood, soil, sense of history and heritage. Israel is a sturdy little country because it is a fascist-democracy. Politically, it is democratic like other democracies. But there is a strong sense of Jewish heritage, identity, and destiny at the core concept of the nation.
A fascist democracy can be reasonably tolerant but it will clamp down when the the core concept of the nation is threatened. If US were a fascist-democracy, we would, at this point in history, close all borders, deport illegals, and work hard to assimilate non-whites into American-Western culture. It's like the windows need to be closed during a rainstorm. But since US is a liberal democracy, the majority of Americans are not allowed to define what America is except in vague legalistic terms, which will surely lead to its demise. (One could argue US was indeed something of a fascist-democracy prior to the 60s. Founding Fathers were not fans of excessive freedom. Andrew Jackson was a fierce nationalist. Teddy Roosevelt had a strong sense of what America should be.)

So, 'liberal democracy' is a redundancy. It's like sugar with honey. It's like day and day instead of night and day. And due to lack of any unifying mythic 'fascist' vision at the core, everything--'gay marriage', illegals living as legals, affirmative action demeritocracy, idiot radical feminims, apes gaining recognition as humans, etc--have all become possible.

Anonymous said...

In contrast, Japan, though democratic, will remain Japan because it's a fascist-democracy. Like Israeli Jews, Japanese have a strong sense of what Japanese is and isn't. It might do them some good to liberalize a little more, but Japanese democracy is not founded on the notion that every facet of society must be liberalized, tolerance-ized, and diversity-ized. The leaders and people of Japan work together to ensure that Japan remains Japan, and Japan-ness is one of the defining identities and meanings of Japan.
In contrast, Germany is beholden to the liberal democratic model and abolishing itself, not so much due to low birthrates--which can be reversed with higher birthrates--but influx of non-Germans. Germans today say, "Islam is as much of part of German heritage as Christianity." How long can any nation last with such 'liberal democracy'?
Similarly, given that the nature/logic of capitalism is inherently globalist, it seems the sensible thing is to counterbalance it with some sense of national economism. So, the policy of nationalist-capitalism is saner than
globalist-capitalism. The latter is like whiskey and scotch. If you're gonna consume alcohol, you don't need MORE alcohol but need to eat something to counterbalance the effect of drink. Better to go with whiskey and buffalo wings.

So, if a nation is gonna be a democracy, it needs to be a fascist-democracy.
Or, if a nation is gonna be a dictatorship, it needs to be a liberal-autocracy. (Better Singapore under Lee than Germany under Hitler.)

Everything needs to be balanced or counter-balanced. After all, the advance of the West owed to Hellenism but the stability owed to Christianity(with spiritual roots in Judaism).
And East Asia was able to weather the violent transformation toward modernity because it Confucian values/order to lean on.

Anonymous said...

"The natural end state for white countries might be liberal democracy but they can't survive unless they are also ethno-nationalist."

We agree on this.

Rohan Swee said...

YS: In actuality, Fukuyama's end of history should be interpreted in the sense that liberal democracy has essentially won the war of ideas and that no other sociopolitical form of governance has the same claim to universal validity or is free from internal contradictions.

Perhaps you're "interpreting" Steve's throwaway wisecrack a tad too literally, son. It's hardly plausible that Fukuyama's thesis, which ain't exactly arcane, eluded him. Maybe the fact that you don't seem to consider Fukuyma's thesis wisecrack-worthy is what threw you.

Citing the example of the recent unrest in Libya as a critique of Fukuyama's assertions makes little sense, since the Arab uprisings clearly bolster Fukuyama's argument.

Uh, I don't think Steve was adducing the Arab Spring as a refutation of Fukuyama's thesis on the basis of the the Arab Spring's being a bunch of historical events.

Anonymous said...

Fukuyama's time management -- he attacks Hayek without evidently taking time to read him ...

RAH said...

Yan Shen's explanation is absolutely correct. "The End of History" theory looks better than ever.

On a global level there has never been so little violence. Steve pointing to Libya as a refutation of Fukayama's theory shows a complete misunderstanding of it.

Anonymous said...

Of course Lukas trashed Pat's books - Luckas has always been a joke and a Liberal lap dog. Liberals love him because he was always minimizing the communist role in the USSR from 1920-1990 and emphasizing "Russian Nationalism" - a bizarre concept.

In Lukas' WW II books he even called Stalin - a Georgian - a "Russian nationalist". So of course, he called Pat a Nazi to keep in good with his Liberal buddies.

Anonymous said...

"In Lukas' WW II books he even called Stalin - a Georgian - a "Russian nationalist"."

If you don't think Stalin was a Russian nationalist, then you don't know anything about Russia. His role was similar to Napoleon's - stopping the revolution, replacing it with its exact opposite (nationalism, authority, conservatism). He made a 180 degree turn. And so what if he wasn't physically Russian. Napoleon wasn't French either. French nationalists don't seem to mind.

Anonymous said...

"Of course Lukas trashed Pat's books - Luckas has always been a joke and a Liberal lap dog."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArSLNJNUEIM&feature=related

David said...

Yan Shen said

>East Asian governance represents a clear-cut alternative to Western style liberal democracy, and hence serves as a refutation of the Fukuyama thesis.<

What is the compelling formula of governance possessed by the East Asians? Or, is the magic simply in the fact that they are East Asians?

I mean, I like Japanese people just as well as anyone, but their ideal of governance may not be exportable.

jb or mz's black hoodie said...

"I mean, I like Japanese people just as well as anyone, but their ideal of governance may not be exportable."

Exactly. I believe we're even seeing that in America, that the interaction between the culture and the government often determines the outcome. Change the culture of the people and the government may not function as well as it once did, if at all.

As Sailer has mentioned, I think the idea that much of governance includes people volunteering to follow the rules even when there isn't enough of any type of law enforcement to make them all do so is important here.

icr said...

I think Lukacs' opinions may reflect the fact that he got out of Hungary just before the Communist crackdown.

Lukacs always portrays Communism as something ephemeral and flimsy and nationalism-especially Hitlerism-as strong, powerful and attractive. This is why-Lukacs says-it was a priority for Hitler to be defeated and the Red threat had to be ignored until that was accomplished.

Yet he admits that Hitler lost his widespread appeal to non-Germans after 1940. And Stalin is somehow simultaneously a weak Communist and a strong nationalist.

TGGP said...

Well written review, Sailer. Too bad it's behind a subscription wall.