Friday, June 14, 2019

The Endlessness of HIstory

Francis Fukuyama wrote The End of History and the Last Man in 1992, The book paid homage to and at the same time repudiated the isolationist theories of Samuel P. Huntington with whom he’d studied at Harvard. In fact Huntington’s subsequent essay “The Clash of  Civilizations” was an obvious riposte to his former student’s work. Now in his latest volume The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment Fukuyama appears to have come full circle ending up where his mentor left off. In an excerpt published in Foreign Affairs (September/October, 2018). Fukuyama states his point thusly: “Our present world is simultaneously moving toward the opposing dystopias of hypercentralization and endless fragmentation. China, for instance, is building a massive dictatorship in which the government collects highly specific personal data on the daily transactions of every citizen. On the other hand, other parts of the world are seeing the breakdown of centralized institutions, the emergence of failed states, increasing polarization, and growing lack of consensus over common ends. Social media and the internet have facilitated the emergence of self-contained communities, walled off not by physical barriers but by shared identities." As the once Republican (“liberte, egalite, fraternite”) French like say plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose!

N.B.: read Francis Levy's short story, "Pet Buddha"in Vol. 1 Brooklyn. 

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