The end of history is bunk

As Communist regimes were toppling in 1989, a mid-ranking official in the US State Department published a paper titled "The End of History?" which caused something of a sensation in intellectual circles. Expanding on the paper three years later in a book - without the question-mark - Francis Fukuyama advanced the notion that the end of the Cold War marked the triumph of liberal capitalist democracy for all time. Like many intellectual system-builders before him, he was careful to insulate his thesis from verification by events in the real world. Liberal democracy had so far been victorious mainly in the world of ideas, he acknowledged, but it would certainly come to govern the material world "in the long run". So events in the short run, such as a Gulf War or turmoil in the Balkans, should be regarded as an epiphenomenal blip on the chart of progress rather than any fundamental challenge to his thesis.

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