By Javad Heirannia

Fukuyama was monumentally wrong on “end of history”: Thomas Weiss

January 3, 2018

Professor Thomas G. Weiss, former director of the United Nations Intellectual History Project says “Fukuyama was monumentally wrong in his celebrated “end of history.” 

Director Emeritus of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies also adds “Clearly history was not over in the early 1990S anymore than it is over now or in the future.”
Following is the full text of the interview:

Q: Francis Fukuyama the contemporary political theorist used to be an ardent supporter of liberal capitalism. But in 2014, he wrote “Political Order and Political Decay” to modify his earlier position. In regard with the US's presidential elections and the rise of Clinton and Bush families in the political scene of the country, Fukuyama believes that the US is experiencing the decay of a political system which made people feel so disappointed in American democracy. What’s your opinion about this?

A: You should remember that Fukuyama was monumentally wrong in his celebrated “end of history.” Clearly history was not over in the early 1990S anymore than it is over now or in the future. The evidence of “decay” is not families in politics—we had those with the Adams a long time ago. The evidence of decay is in the role of money in backing both people and issues.

Q: The Competition between the Northeastern elites and the Sothern populists led into the rise of Trump indicating that establishment slogans from both democratic and republican parties don’t sell anymore. In regard with Fukuyama's argument, shall we think of such developments as a sign of the US political decay?

A: I’m not sure that “elites” are only located in the northeast. They are everywhere. But the southern populists include trump who is certainly part of the northeast monied elite. I’m not fond of populists—many of whom merit the labels “proto-fascist” and “racist.” But it is money that is the problem, especially when exacerbated by a long-standing lack of concern with the commons or the common good.

Q: Is ‘not the rise of far-right parties in countries such as Austria, Germany and France a warning hint that Europe shouldn’t raise false hopes in the current popularity of liberal democracy?

A: The right is on the rise everywhere—think Duterte, Erdogan, Maduro, Putin, xi, and the list goes on. The triumph of good over evil is never guaranteed, but I still believe that Churchill was correct that democracy is the worst of all systems except for all the others.

Q: For the time being and even in the future, which school of thought is the main rival of liberal democracy?

A: I don’t see a leading candidate except for “Me first.”

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