DEAN BARNETT REREADS FUKUYAMA and finds more there than he remembered:
In truth, I went back to â€œThe End of Historyâ€ this weekend after a 12 year absence to see how poorly it had aged.
I was shocked to see that â€œThe End of Historyâ€ not only has aged well, it has matured magnificently. The triumphalism that critics larded upon the book is oddly absent. Fukayamaâ€™s writing was far more cautious than his fansâ€™ (including this oneâ€™s) reactions. Fukayama wasnâ€™t saying that we had reached the ending of historyâ€™s story and that all had turned out well. All he was saying that the search for â€œthe bestâ€ system of government had been resolved; that didnâ€™t mean the story was over or that even the most interesting parts had been written.
In two particular areas, Fukayama was almost eerily prescient. The first was his treatment of Islam. Fukayama mentions Islam on the grand total of three pages in his master-work. But each time he mentions it, he does so to acknowledge that in terms of developing political systems, the Islamic world has been largely off the grid for the best millennium. He also acknowledges the threat that Islam poses to the â€œvictor,â€ liberal democracy . . . .
THE OTHER AREA WHERE FUKAYAMA was extraordinarily prescient was in describing what kind of people might emerge from the comfort that liberal democracies produce. He makes repeated mention of the C.S. Lewis phrase â€œmen without chestsâ€ to characterize the kind of loathsome creatures that might emerge from our splendid modern societies. Fukayama was writing 15 years ago; I bet heâ€™s surprised at how rapidly chestless weâ€™ve all become.
Read the whole thing. And I may have to give The End of History a second read myself.
Meanwhile Stanley Kurtz says that Fukuyama hasn’t lived up to his stances in the book, post 9/11.