The End of History and the Clash of Civilization
written by Jasmine Liu
"The End of History" is an essay written by Francis Fukuyama in 1989 and published in the international affairs journal The National Interest. In the essay, Fukuyama argued that the advent of Western liberal democracy may signal the endpoint of humanity's sociocultural evolution and the final form of human government. The highlights of the essay are listed as follows. Firstly, Fukuyama held the view that history should be viewed as an evolutionary process. Secondly, events still occur at the end of history. The most basic and prevalent error in discussing Fukuyama's work is to confuse "history" with "events". Fukuyama claimed not that events will stop occurring in the future, but rather that all that will happen in the future is that democracy will become more and more prevalent in the long term, although it may suffer "temporary" setbacks. Thirdly, pessimism about humanity's future is warranted because of humanity's inability to control technology. The last but the most important one is that “the end of history” means liberal democracy is the final form of government for all nations. There can be no progression from liberal democracy to an alternative system.
Various Western commentators have described the thesis of “The End of History” as flawed because it does not sufficiently take into account the power of ethnic loyalties and religious fundamentalism as a counter-force to the spread of liberal democracy, with the specific example of Islamic fundamentalism, or radical Islam, as the most powerful of these. The most famous one is Samuel P. Huntington’s 1993 essay "The Clash of Civilizations", in direct response to The End of History. In the essay, Huntington argued that the temporary conflict between ideologies is being replaced by the conflict between different cultures. Conflict between civilizations will be the latest phase in the evolution of conflict in the modern world....
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