LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC SYSTEMS
|Critical Analysis Essay
|Democracy, ✔️ Political Science, International Relations, 🏳️ Government
Table of Contents
Critically evaluate the claim that liberal democratic systems signify the ‘end of history’ (Francis Fukuyama)
Liberal democratic systems signify the ‘end of history.’ Since the French revolution; democracy was accepted as being an ethical, economic and political phenomenon as it reflected equal rights for all. According to Francis Fukuyama, liberal democracy was much better than historicism and was likely to dominate over a long period of time despite the setbacks (Doti, 2012). This dominance was as a result of a desire for peace and well-being. Nations even the communists were likely to embrace democracy because of the probable protection of individual rights.
The European Union has been pointed out as the picture of how the world will look like after the ‘end of history’ is achieved. The European Union’s quest to develop a rule of law to govern nations is a good sign of liberal democracy. The international laws are meant to triumph over sovereignty and the traditions free-will nations upheld in history.
Jacques Derrida criticised Fukuyama of his intent that the liberal supremacy would bring an end to history. Derrida foresaw the broken connection between capitalism; liberalism and democracy which Fukuyama failed to take into consideration (Derrida 2012). He argues that there is a high possibility of a new cold war to break out between nations for reasons based upon liberal democracy; freedom and individuality. Deride points his argument on Marxism and the Islamic fundamentalism. The ‘Marxist capitalism’ for instance suggests that a Chinese is destined to own wealth, but no freedom is guaranteed which Fukuyama disagrees since without freedom and protection of property no wealth can be created. The ISIS is likely to create state-oriented Islamic fundamentalism as a result of liberal democracy which will, in turn, affect humanity.
Like Derrida, Thomas Piketty argues that the free markets in the twenty-first century have gotten nations into more harm than good. The gap that exists between the rich and the poor continue to grow larger affecting the average income in developed as well as developing nations. Recession being as a result of economic freedom has affected nations including Greece and Hungary who are likely to turn away from liberalism instead of accepting it as Fukuyama believes. All these and others are likely to distort the entry into a liberal democracy.
Perry Anderson a Marxist also criticized Fukuyama, he pointed out that the capitalist democracies are hard hit by poverty and racism. Anderson argues that Hegel’s philosophy which was borrowed by Fukuyama was flawed from the beginning (Anderson 2012). Fukuyama still holds that though the present democracies still face sexism, racism, and poverty, capitalism will still stand as a representation of the ‘end of history.’
Marxists hold that ‘the end of history’ will be characterized by the victory of democracy. To them, communism is a form of direct democracy. Fukuyama insists that liberal democratic traditions in the west have maintained their place in the political field for years more than the monarchism, communism and dictatorship forms. The long endurance of the liberal democracy has attracted many nations to adopt it.
Liberal democracy is not a constitutional democracy as evident in the United States; it is a democracy where freedom of speech, free and fair elections and separation of powers is upheld by the government. Liberalism offers a solution to all inconsistencies in human life including human rights, protection, and sovereignty. Liberal democracy will bring about a free world where every individual is equal economically, politically and academically. These claims made by Fukuyama on liberalism holds no water since these liberal democracies like the US face more of corruption, unjust political system, and a possible compelled political decision. The manipulation of the masses is done through promotion of fake news to remain under political command. Though all these happen, Fukuyama still holds that the end of history will only happen after a real liberal democracy is achieved. The democracy in the US is only written but not acted upon by those holding the political supremacy.
Dignity is one element Fukuyama holds as the most important pillar of liberal democracy which is universal to humanity. Both Fukuyama and Hegel agree that the need for humanity is the driving force to ‘end of history’ it remains that every individual in a nation must be recognized. Fukuyama believes that the growth of human ideology can develop human progress wiping out history. Other elements like the rise in economic development, a high number of educated middle class and rise in technological and scientific achievement is opted to accelerate the achievement of liberal democracy.
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China and Russia are on the verge of adopting liberal ideas because of the free market economy, but the political elites are unwilling to do so. Fukuyama creates a contradiction when he claims that the end of history is likely to bring in a situation where economic and psychological needs are achieved. This was expected to create a condition where the struggle for respect, recognition, and dignity will be a forgotten struggle.
“The end of history, in this case, would be an indication of the end of wars and bloody revolutions…once our physical, as well as mental states, are satisfied, we no longer have any use for one of the things that have been deriving us towards a historical end….dignity upon others (Doti, 2012).
The western commentators, ethnic loyalties, and religious fundamentalism do not support the liberal democracy, Islamic fundamentalists also known as the radical Islam is an example of the counter-force. The jihad vs. McWorld is a great example of Islamic fundamentalism. The ‘jihad’ refers to the tribalism and religious fundamentalism while McWord refers to the transformation of the world through secular, liberal, and corporate-friendly forces.
To respond to ‘the end of the world’ as claimed by Fukuyama, Samuel P. Huntington in 1993 wrote the essay ‘The Clash Of Civilization’ and later in 1996 wrote the book ‘the clash of civilization and the remaking of world order.’ in the book, Huntington argues that there is an emerging conflict between civilizations which will render human government useless. The conflict is clearly shown by the Islam governments which to date keep ‘bloody borders’
The September of 11, 2001, the attack on American civilians showed a return of history meaning the ‘end of history’ is but a supposed naiveté which Fareed Zakaria called it ‘the end of the end of history.’ Fukuyama argues that the September attack was as a result of modernity and agrees that radical Islam states like Iran and Saudi Arabia were different from fascism and Stalinism and regularly face instability.
The rebirth of China and Russia poses a challenge to ‘end of history’ their gigantic growth observed economically and politically is as a result of their governments. China is a one-party state while Russia is a de facto state. The success of the two countries was posed to ‘end the end of history’ as Azar Gat argues in his article “The Return of Authoritarian Great Powers.” according to Gat, radical Islam in China and Russia pose a military threat to the developed world (Gat 2007)
Despite these threats, Fukuyama still, holds that liberal democracy was stronger than the authoritarian governments. He points out that autocratic nature of Chávez and Putin is still government buy little democracy. Hu Jintao the president of China despite running a one-party state agreed that the Beijing’s Olympic Games must be democratic (Fukuyama, 2008).
Fukuyama argues that the failure in democratic nations like Ukraine, Thailand, Turkey, and Nicaragua was not because of the ideology but was due to the failure of such governments practice what democracy upholds. Democratically elected governments are supposed to provide security to the civilians, improve and share the economic growth equally and ensure public services are received by all people. With improved security, economic growth and improved governance “all countries will…get on that escalator” (Fukuyama, 2014).
Fukuyama believes that someday, all nations will adopt democracy, the Chinese capitalism and Islamist theocracy will automatically come on board because of the industrialization. Though it is said that liberal democracy will one day expire, Fukuyama considers that someday it will rise again because of its need to a creation of a humankind future.
Corruption is the biggest enemy to democracy, Fukuyama warns of political decay in the United States as a result of corruption and capitalism which is stipulated to curtail liberty and economic growth. To him “the power of democratic ideal remains immense (Fukuyama, 2014).”
Fukuyama holds that “there can be no end of history without an end of modern natural science and technology” (Fukuyama, 2014). He predicts that if humans are given control of their evolution, liberal democracy will be greatly affected. for instance, the gulf war that involved Iraq and Kuwait came to an end only after the democratic countries came together to stop the war.
End of history is still a heated debate among historians, journalists, social observers and has received a number of responses, commentaries, and even rejoinders years after Fukuyama spoke his mind. End of history ought to achieve because of the evolution of human consciousness which is a major element of liberal democracy. Many argued that ‘the end of history’ was just but a reflection of the happenings after the collapse of communism as a result of the cold war. Fukuyama is said to have neglected the continued political oppression, the genocide, insurgence of fundamentalists which shows a continuity of history meaning the end is not anywhere near.
The liberal democracy can get a win over authoritarianism and capitalism which still brings history in the world. Liberal democracy given a chance will agreeably bring peace and well-being creating a smart atmosphere for progress leading to the inevitable ‘end of history.’
For any state even the communist to achieve prosperity, democracy must be embraced to allow protection of property giving rise to the creation of wealth. Capitalist states give greater protection to individual rights unlike communist states thus a good support to economic growth. Liberal democracies are a support to democracy, human rights creating a world full of peace and contentment.
The post-cold war period characterized the end of history in a way that nations had no choice but to accept linearization both economically and politically. Fukuyama in his quest argues that all nations will embrace liberal democracy at some point in time because of the benefits. The developing societies have grown drastically because of democratic capitalism, and so the underdeveloped nations will adopt the same path to gain economic stability. This will see the ‘end of history’ and the beginning of the new world.
What we do not know in this case, is whether the global shift to liberal democracy corresponds to the historic shift. Democracy triumphed over fascism in the World War II and over communism in the cold war which showed a favor of liberal democracy over the other forms. The liberal democracy brought peace and global balance and nations ought to embrace the idea. The looming threats to democracy must be tackled, and democratic nations must work to protect their interests from the autocratic powers and the Islamic radicalism. An advancement of democratic principles worldwide will see an ‘end of history.’
What were some of the challenges of identifying and incorporating a range of different sources into your essay?
The man constraint I face when trying to identify as well as and incorporate different sources into my essay was time. To get a good number of sources, much time is spent perusing through and through to see the relevance with the essay. There are too many sources over the internet and identifying the most relevant sources was an issue that is why I did not use very many sources to compile my essay.
- Derrida, J. (2012). Specters of Marx. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.
- Doti, L. (2012). When Wall Street Met Main Street: The Quest for an Investors’ Democracy. Journal of American History, 99(1), pp.332-333.
- Fukuyama, Francis. “The end of history?.” The national interest 16 (1989): 3-18
- .Gat, Azar. “The End of the End of History.” Foreign Affairs, July/August (2007).
- Mahbubani, Kishore. “The new Asian hemisphere: The irresistible shift of global power to the East.”