Divided We Stand: Identity Politics and the Threat to Democracy

Divided We Stand: Identity Politics and the Threat to Democracy
AP Photo/Jim Urquhart

Francis Fukuyama's sense of grievance, expressed in the preface to his new book, is patent. Ever since he published his essay “The End of History” in 1989, he writes, he has been asked whether this or that event didn't invalidate his thesis. The event could be “be a coup in Peru, war in the Balkans, the September 11 attacks, the global financial crisis, or, most recently, Donald Trump's election and the wave of populist nationalism”:

Most of these criticisms were based on a simple misunderstanding. I was using the word history in the Hegelian-Marxist sense – that is, the long-term evolutionary story of human institutions that could alternatively be labelled development or modernization. The word end was meant not in the sense of termination, but “target” or “objective”. Karl Marx had suggested that the end of history would be a communist utopia, and I was simply suggesting that Hegel's version, where development resulted in a liberal state linked to a market economy, was the more plausible outcome.

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