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The End of History and the Last Man ()

Orrin's All-Time Top Ten List - Non-Fiction / Conservative Thought

    What we are witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or a passing of a particular period of
    postwar history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological
    evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human
        -"X" (Francis Fukuyama), The End of History? (The National Interest)

One assumes that only George F. Kennan's "Containment" memo, likewise published under the pseudonym "X", can rival Francis Fukuyama's essay "The End of History"--first published in 1989, in The National Interest--in terms of impact on the public consciousness of a foreign policy brief.  Fukuyama's essential argument was not that history, in terms of events and conflicts and the like, had actually come to and end, rather that liberal capitalist democracy represented the final step in Man's political evolution.  With its overtones of Cold War triumphalism, the piece set off a huge kerfuffle and turned a State Department cypher into a significant political philosopher almost overnight.

In this book, Fukuyama expands on the ideas in his original essay and introduces several new ones, the most important of which, embodied by the idea of "thymos", is that the greatest threat to the End of History is the fact that people demand recognition.  By recognition, he means something fairly broad, but which we all intuitively recognize :

    ...that part of man which feels the need to place value on things--himself in the first instance, but
    on the people, actions, or things around him as well.  It is the part of the personality which is the
    fundamental source of the emotions of pride, anger, and shame, and is not reducible to desire, on
    the one hand, or reason on the other.  The desire for recognition is the most specifically political
    part of the human personality because it is what drives men to want to assert themselves over other
    men... .

Liberal democracy succeeds brilliantly at fulfilling Man's basic desires--food, clothing, shelter--but it raises several questions.  Will Man, once satiated, still have the kind of thymos which has driven the species to achieve technologically and culturally ?  Will the most able in society be content to be treated equally with those they consider their inferiors, or will they demand a level of political recognition commensurate with their contributions to society ?  Will those at the bottom of the social scale--and liberal democracy does, undeniably, produce a hierarchy from poor to rich--be content to have less than those at the top of the scale, or will they demand that the high be brought low ?  Fukuyama seeks to provide answers to these questions, drawing upon thinkers like Plato, Tocqueville, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Alexandre Kojeve, and upon the experiences of modern times.

The book is always fascinating, sometimes wrongheaded and frequently brilliant.  In the end, the question that animates the discussion is the same that mankind always faces ; which will ultimately triumph, the desire for security or the urge to freedom.  There is no more important issue in human history and the ways in which we answer it will, as always, determine our future.  Even if he does not arrive at any final answers, Fukuyama adds immeasurably to our understanding of the question and its importance.


Grade: (A+)


Francis Fukuyama Links:

    -WIKIPEDIA: Francis Fukuyama
    -PODCAST: Democracy IRL (Francis Fukuyama)
-PODCAST: Francis Fukuyama on Global Chaos (and Why You Don't Need to Despair About It): Yascha Mounk and Francis Fukuyama discuss the state of democracy around the world. (YASCHA MOUNK, JUL 06, 2024, Persuasion)
    -PODCAST: Francis Fukuyama on the War in Ukraine, Authoritarianism, and Liberal Democracy (Conversations with Bill Kristol, 1/26/23)
-ESSAY: What’s the Real Threat to Campus Free Speech?: It isn’t "woke" faculty or students—it’s the administrative state's expansion of Title IX (FRANCIS FUKUYAMA, APR 12, 2024, The UnPopulist)
    -ESSAY: The New Right Loves the State: American conservatives are flirting with the authoritarian-adjacent European conservatism of old. (FRANCIS FUKUYAMA, MAY 10, 2023, Persuasion)
    -ESSAY: More Proof That This Really Is the End of History (Francis Fukuyama, Oct. 17th, 2022, The Atlantic)
    -ESSAY: The Triple Justification for Liberalism: It advances peace, prosperity, and human dignity (Francis Fukuyama, 7/25/22, The UnPopulist)
    -ESSAY: Why Ukraine Will Win: The country's military is advancing on the battlefield. If Ukraine defeats Russia's massive army, the ripple effects will be felt across the globe. (Francis Fukuyama, September 2022, Journal of Democracy)
-ESSAY: Where Political Science Can Help Us Deal with Climate Change: Political science has been slow to grapple with climate change, but it can play a critical role in addressing obstacles to nation-wide action. Frank Fukuyama's latest. (Francis Fukuyama, 30 Jan 2023, American Purpose)
    -ESSAY: Paths to Depolarization: Grassroots activism and electoral reform are important. But only a political realignment can save America. (Francis Fukuyama, Aug 3, 2022, Persuasion)
    -ESSAY: What Is Liberalism? (Francis Fukuyama, 10 May 2022, American Purpose)
    -ESSAY: The Long Arc of Historical Progress: A democratic world order is not the inexorable outcome of historical forces, but even amid setbacks, societies are clearly evolving toward equality and individual freedom. (Francis Fukuyama, April 29, 2022, WSJ)
    -ESSAY: Shattered illusions (Francis Fukuyama, 29jun04, The Australian)
    -ESSAY: Nation-Building 101: The chief threats to us and to world order come from weak, collapsed, or failed states. Learning how to fix such states-and building necessary political support at home-will be a defining issue for America in the century ahead (Francis Fukuyama, January/February 2004 , Atlantic Monthly)
   -ESSAY: Our Foreign Legions: Lessons and cautions from Europe on assimilating immigrants. (FRANCIS FUKUYAMA, January 31, 2004, Wall Street Journal)
   -ESSAY: Beyond Our Shores: Today's "conservative" foreign policy has an idealist agenda (FRANCIS FUKUYAMA, December 24, 2002, Wall Street Journal)
    -ESSAY: Housekeeping, Post-Saddam: It's time to get U.S. troops out of Saudi Arabia. (FRANCIS FUKUYUYAMA, 4/20/03, Wall Street Journal)
    -INTERVIEW: This war can save liberalism : Putin has shown us what the alternative looks like (Freddie Sayers spoke to Dr Fukuyama, 3/24/22, UnHerd)
    -ESSAY: Fukuyama’s Victory: Liberal democracy has again proved itself capable of overcoming its internal challenges and contradictions. (Matt Johnson, 7 Dec 2022, Quillette)
    -ESSAY: Francis Fukuyama as Teacher of Evil (Peter Augustine Lawler, Winter 2000, Modern Age)
    -ESSAY: Chaos at the End of History (Matt Johnson, 12 Feb 2024, Quillette)
    -ESSAY: The End of History and The Last Man and Liberalism and Its Discontents (Pierre Lemieux, Fall 2022, Cato)
    -ESSAY: The Secret Postmodern Radicalism of Francis Fukuyama: He cheerleads for liberal democracy in public—but quietly admits he’s unsure of its true strength. (Blake Smith, DECEMBER 18, 2022, Foreign Policy)
    -ESSAY: Fukuyama’s Victory: Liberal democracy has again proved itself capable of overcoming its internal challenges and contradictions. (Matt Johnson, 7 Dec 2022, Quillette)
   -REVIEW: The modern Prince : Philip Bobbitt seems too keen to smooth over Machiavelli’s hard edges : a review of The Garments of Court and Palace: Machiavelli and the World that He Made, by Philip Bobbitt (Francis Fukuyama, Financial Times)
-INTERVIEW: Marxism, soccer and Trump’s demise: Tom Holland and Francis Fukuyama in conversation: ‘I do think that with the rise of this really crazy right, you have to turn to social psychology for an explanation’ (Tom Holland, July 8, 2021, The Spectator)
    -ESSAY: As the World Gets Messier and Messier: Francis Fukuyama made the philosophy of history relevant again. Thirty years on, how does his most famous book hold up? (Graham Mcaleer, Law & Liberty)
    -ESSAY: Finding God at the End of History: It is time to stop reading The End of History as futurology, pseudo-science, or the political science equivalent of astrology. (Paul D. Miller, 5/11/22, Law & Liberty)
    -REVIEW: of The Great Disruption (David Gordon, Mises Review)
    -REVIEW: of Our Posthuman Future by Francis Fukuyama (AC Grayling, Literary Review)
    -REVIEW: Of Liberalism and Its Discontents by Francis Fukuyama (Krithika Varagur, The New Yorker)
    -REVIEW: of Liberalism and Its Discontents (david d. corey, Law & Liberty)
    REVIEW: of - Liberalism and its Discontents (Steven Smith, Public Discourse)
    -REVIEW: of The End of History and The Last Man and Liberalism and Its Discontents (Pierre Lemieux, Regulation)
    -REVIEW: of Liberalism and Its Discontents (Nicholas Misukanis, Commonweal)
    -REVIEW: of Liberalism and Its Discontents (Daniel Bessner, The Nation)
    -REVIEW: of Liberalism and Its Discontents (Nathan Pinkoski, First Things)

Book-related and General Links:
    -Francis Fukuyama (George Mason U)
    -DR. FRANCIS FUKUYAMA (Merrill Lynch)
    -Francis Fukuyama (Concerned Women for America)
    -BOOKNOTES : Author: Francis Fukuyama Title: The End of History and the Last Man Air date: January 17, 1992 (C-SPAN)
    -EXCERPT: The End of History by Francis Fukuyama (1992)  BY WAY OF AN INTRODUCTION
    -LECTURE: Has History Restarted Since September 11? (Francis Fukuyama, 8 August, 2002, John Bonython Lecture)
    -ESSAY : History Is Still Going Our Way : Liberal democracy will inevitably prevail. (FRANCIS FUKUYAMA, October 5, 2001, Wall Street Journal)
    -ESSAY : President Paradox : It's been another decade of greed. But this time it was OK to feel good about it. (FRANCIS FUKUYAMA, Wall Street Journal, January 18, 2001)
    -ESSAY : Will Socialism Make a Comeback (Francis Fukuyama, May 2000, TIME)
    -ESSAY : Is It All in the Genes? (Francis Fukuyama, September '97, Commentary)
    -ESSAY : What Divides America (Francis Fukuyama, November 15, 2000, Wall Street Journal)
    -ESSAY: Asian Values and the Asian Crisis: Do the nations of the East have a distinct cultural identity, and is it the source either of their rapid econmic growth or of their current financial rupture? (Francis Fukuyama, Commentary)
    -LECTURE : Social Capital and Civil Society  Francis Fukuyama (IMF conference)
    -REVIEW : of The Lexus and the Olive Tree.(New Statesman, Francis Fukuyama)
    -REVIEW : of Telecosm: How Infinite Bandwith Will Revolutionize Our World by George Gilder (Francis Fukuyama, Commentary)
    -REVIEW : of Human Natures: Genes, Cultures, and the Human Prospect by Paul R. Ehrlich (Francis Fukuyama, Commentary)
    -REVIEW : of The Kinder, Gender Military: Can America's Gender-Neutral Fighting Force Still Win Wars? by Stephanie Gutmann (Francis Fukuyama, Commentary)
    -REVIEW : of ACHESON The Secretary of State Who Created the American World. By James Chace (Francis Fukuyama, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of THE STATE OF THE NATION Government and the Quest for a Better Society. By Derek Bok (Francis Fukuyama, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of The Case Against Immigration : The Moral, Economic, Social,  and Environmental Reasons for Reducing   U.S. Immigration Back to Traditional Levels.   By Roy Beck (Francis Fukuyama, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of BLOOD AND BELONGING Journeys Into the New Nationalism. By Michael Ignatieff (Francis Fukuyama, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of CIVIL WARS From L.A. to Bosnia. By Hans Magnus Enzensberge (Francis Fukuyama, NY Times Book Review)
    -INTERVIEW : Economic Globalization and Culture :  A Discussion with Dr. Francis Fukuyama (Merrill Lynch)
    -INTERVIEW : The man who decreed the End of History is worried that capitalism's  victory is not a panacea. So he's decided to tackle the problem of women. (New Statesman, May 23 1997 by John Lloyd)
    -INTERVIEW :Francis Fukuyama (First Measured Century, PBS)
    -INTERVIEW : The End of the Free World :  After declaring the End of History,  what do you do for an encore? Francis Fukuyama told James Heartfield about his new book Trust,  and explained that he's not so keen on liberty after all (Living Marxism)
    -IC Interview: The American  Disruption (Intellectual Capital)
    -INTERVIEW: (Center for Strategic & International Studies)
    -INTERVIEW : Man of Culture (International Finance Corporation)
    -INTERVIEW: Francis Fukuyama: Globalization  "This is an interview with Francis Fukuyama, a professor of public policy at George Mason University in the USA. It focuses on how culture shapes, and is shaped by, the increasing world wide economic integration."
    -INTERVIEW : Interview with Frank Fukuyama (September 15, 1997, CSIS)
    -DISCUSSION : with Francis Fukuyama : Morality in the 21st Century (Washington Post)
    -ARCHIVES : Francis Fukuyama (Think Tank, PBS)
    -The NS Profile - Francis Fukuyama   No longer the gleeful young prophet, he is ready to admit his forecasts can be wrong (George Lucas, New Statesman)
    -COLUMN: Fukuyama: 'We've reached the end of history'  (George F. Will)
    -PROFILE: BrainWaves   MAN  OF  CULTURE (International Finance Corp)
    -ESSAY : Francis Fukuyama  & the end of history (Roger Kimball, New Criterion)
    -ESSAY : Francis Fukuyama's Unhappy Optimism (Marc D. Guerra, Acton Institute)
    -ESSAY : The End of Fukuyama (Wolf DeVoon, The Laissez Faire City Times)
    -ESSAY : Theorist says women will end wars : With more leverage at polls, more power, future holds peace (John Omicinski / Gannett News Service)
    -ESSAY : Putnam, Fukuyama, De Tocqueville,  and Volunteerism in the International Community
(Paul Rich & Guillermo De Los Reyes)
    -ESSAY : False Heaven (The Economist)
    -ESSAY : Itís still the best idea around  (The Economist)
    -ESSAY : THE END OF... WHAT? (Balint Vazsonyi, December 21, 1999, in The Washington Times)
    -ESSAY :  Capitalism and the Suicide of Culture (Brian C. Anderson, First Things, February 2000)
    -ESSAY : Fukuyama was right about the rise and rise of capitalism (Andrew Roberts, October 2000, Daily Telegraph)
    -ARCHIVES : "fukuyama" (NY Review of Books)
    -ARCHIVES : fukuyama (New Republic)
    -ARCHIVES : fukuyama (Salon)
    -ARCHIVES : fukuyama (Slate)
    -ARCHIVES : "francis fukuyama" (Find Articles)
    -ARCHIVES : fukuyama (Mag Portal)
    -LINKS : Civil Society : Fukuyama, Robert Putnam, etc. (Robert Clark)
    -LINKS : Francis Fukuyama (Excite)
    -REVIEW : of THE END OF HISTORY AND THE LAST MAN By Francis Fukuyama (William H. McNeill, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of The End of History (James Heartfield, THE MARXIST REVIEW OF BOOKS)
    -REVIEW : of The End of History (
    -REVIEW:   The End of History and the Last Man by Francis Fukuyama (Alan Ryan, NY Review of Books)
    -REVIEW:  of End of History   (Jeanine C. Marley)
    -REVIEW : of End of History (Ashley Padgen, Technological Change & Economic Development)
    -REVIEW : of TRUST The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity. By Francis Fukuyama (1995) (Fareed Zakaria, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of Trust ( Daryl Koehn, Ph.D., Online Journal of Ethics)
    -REVIEW : of Trust (Peter Warshall, Whole Earth)
    -REVIEW: of Trust: The Social  Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity by Francis Fukuyama (Edward Lotterman, Federal Reserve of Minneapolis)
    -REVIEW: Francis Fukuyama: Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity (Ankie Hoogvelt, Sociological Research Online)
    -REVIEW : of Trust (Daryl Koehn, Center for Business Ethics at University of St. Thomas )
    -REVIEW : of Trust (Shelley Walia, Tribune of India)
    -REVIEW : of The Great Disruption Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order. By Francis Fukuyama (Anthony Gottlieb, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of The Great Disruption (David Brooks, Policy Review)
    -REVIEW : of The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order, by Francis Fukuyama (Phillip E. Johnson, National Review)
    -REVIEW : of The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order, by Francis Fukuyama (Douglass C. North, Reason)
    -REVIEW : of The Great Disruption (Virginia Postrel , LA Times)
    -REVIEW : of The Great Disruption (Michael Kazin, Washington Post)
    -REVIEW : of The Great Disruption (Bryan Gould, New Statesman)
    -REVIEW : of The Great Disruption (Walter Kirn, New York)
    -REVIEW: of The Great Disruption: The free market or your soul: Two conservative pundits play a game  of moral Twister trying to reconcile consumerism and traditional values. (Gavin McNett, Salon)
    -REVIEW : of  The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order  (Charles Murray, Commentary)
    -REVIEW : of The Great Disruption (Charles Handy, Management Today)
    -REVIEW : of The Great Disruption (Richard Seltzer)
    -REVIEW : of The Great Disruption ( Frank Smitha)
    -REVIEW : of The Great Disruption (Rod Dobell, Isuma)
    -REVIEW : of The Great Disruption (Model Reasoning)
    -REVIEW : of The Great Disruption by Francis Fukuyama (Brian A. Brown, American Spectator)
    -REVIEW : of Great Disruption (David Shi, Christian Science Monitor)
    -REVIEW : of Great Disruption (David Gordon, The Mises Review)
    -REVIEW : of Great Disruption (William Sheridan, The Thinking Person's Portal)

    -ESSAY :  If Right Is Center, Where Is Left? (STEVEN ERLANGER, August 18, 1996, NY Times)
    -ESSAY:  After Ideology   (Robert Kuttner, American Prospect)
    -ESSAY: The Neoliberal Mindset: Has neoliberalism really infiltrated our social lives? (Jonathan Gleadell, Dec 26, 2020, Arc Digital)
    -ESSAY: Last Men and Women: Are some virtues casualties of progress? (George Scialabba, March 25, 2021, Commonweal)
    -A Civilizational War?: Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin may or may not have Vladimir Putin’s ear, but his philosophy of Eurasianism is worth understanding. (Steven Pittz, March 27, 2022, City Journal)
    -ESSAY: Happiness is a Warm Democracy: A greater exposure to democracy leads to a higher level of self-reported happiness. (Matthew Wills, August 2, 2022, JSTOR Daily)
    -ESSAY: The Year of Fukuyama: American Triumphalism and "Normie Theories of Democracy" (Richard Hanania, Oct 1, 2022, Substack)
    -REVIEW: of Leo Strauss on Hegel, Edited by Paul Franco (Grant Havers, Modern Age)
    -ESSAY: THE ENDS OF HISTORY (Michael Bonner, November 2022, Antigone)
    -ESSAY: The Latin Empire: Alexandre Kojève’s European Conservatism:His philosophy of history was unquestionably revolutionary, but Kojève was a conservative. The essence of his prescription for Europe remains relevant for today’s geopolitical, economic, and cultural struggles. (Jonathan Culbreath, 4/08/23, European Conservative)
    -ESSAY: A Liberalism Worth Saving: What’s Missing From the Debate Over Liberalism (Russ Greene, April 12, 2023, Providence)
    -REVIEW ESSAY: The anatomy of oikophobia: a review of Western Self-Contempt by Benedict Beckeld (Johan Gärdebo, 15 May, 2023, The Critic)
    -REVIEW ESSAY: Christian Realism vis-à-vis the Liberalism of Fear: Thoughts on Samuel Moyn’s “Liberalism Against Itself” (Matthew Andersen, October 12, 2023, Providence)
-ESSAY: Rebooting Market Liberalism in a Populist Age (Samuel Gregg, 6/20/24, Law & Liberty
    -ESSAY: Comprehensive or Constitutional Politics?: Two broad political inclinations underlie and complicate our political practice and language. (John G. Grove, 5/09/24, Law & Liberty)