Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The End of History?

Matthew Yglesias makes the point this morning that the recent events in Tripoli essentially vindicate Francis Fukuyama's theory that western-stlye liberal democracies represent the zenith of political development.  I've been keen to this idea since I began reading Fukuyama's new book, "The Origins of Political Order", which I think better elucidates his widely-ridiculed end-of-history theorizing.

What Yglesias (and, indeed, Fukuyama) argue is that within the countries we consider to be the most repressive on Earth, the governing elite continue to rely on the artifice of elections and popular representation to justify their political dominance.  The Democratic People's Republic of Korea.  Fraudulent Iranian elections.  Hamas in Palestine.  Do these examples not say something about the desirability of democracy in general?

Not to take this point too far, but this idea seems to lend credence to the notion that we should be firm and unwavering in our commitment to universal human rights.  Yes, any appeal to a universal right is bound to stir controversy, but I'm not entirely convinced that Fukuyama was wrong to assume western-style democracy was the end-all-be-all of human politics.  Perhaps it just takes some time.


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