The Corner

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Re: Fukuyama


Jonah, I largely agree with you about Fukuyama’s problems.  In Our Posthuman Future, by the way, Fukuyama definitely does forthrightly acknowledge the challenge that biotech offers to his “end of history” thesis.  Less often noted is his discussion of demography in The Great Disruption.  There Fukuyama has some very smart things to say, yet he also misses the potential for demographic change to shift the course of “history,” in his strong sense of that term.  (I take up that theme in “Demographics and the Culture War.”) Still, I think The End of History is very much worth a read, if only to understand our current debates  And the book still has important things to say about the passing of communism, and the “last man” troubles of modernity itself.

I agree that Fukuyama has backtracked some.  His thesis allows for considerable wiggle room.  Yet I do see some real continuity between his “end of history” idea and his turn away from the war.  In a way, Fukuyama’s overall thesis, his immediate response to 9/11, and his current anti-war posture are all connected by the claim that big historical questions have been settled and that the remaining threats to democracy are superficial.