Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Fukuyama Supports Obama

...according to this Austrialian article. It’s much more clear why he’s against the current administration than why he’s for Barack. (But lots of sophisticated Obama supporters are like that.) Frank admits that the surge worked, but he adds that no president, even McCain, will be able to maintain the troop levels required to turn today’s stability into enduring political success. He can see how McCain could win, but how could he govern with huge Democratic majorities in Congress? Frank also contends we’ve shown a kind of lack of courage by overplaying and overreacting to the threat of terrorism and radical Islam. On a more theoretical level, he’s sticking with his revisionist view that "the end of history" really means that modernization and democratization tend to go together. But that’s a lot less than saying that human lives have become so happy and dignified that they can’t imagine doing any better (which is something like what the end of history would really have to be). We also have to hope, with ambiguous evidence so far, that China is not a big exception to the general historical rule. Let me make clear that I don’t agree with most of this (I got in trouble by saying Frank was way overrated when he was more fashionable among conservatives). But he knows a lot and gives a lot to talk about.

Discussions - 5 Comments

Perhaps because Obama is a Hegelian sociologist?

What we are witnessing is the end of history.

Dr. lawler must not understand hegel to say that: "But that’s a lot less than saying that human lives have become so happy and dignified that they can’t imagine doing any better (which is something like what the end of history would really have to be)." Certainly human beings will always be able to imagine doing better...but the isothymic tendencies will reach up against the economic reality of the last 1%. They create opportunity for thymotic individuals to step in and counter them.

In other words imagining something is insufficient unless it is actualized. It isn't that human beings will be so happy and dignified that they won't be able to imagine doing better...but quite simply that they will be forced to transfer that immagination to actuality and in so doing will run into opposite forces.

Immagination is not in itself artistic ability. It is quite possible that human beings will day dream of much more, in fact it is quite likely and obviously apparent. But human beings will realize that the immagination they have is only as good as the canvas they can cover, and simulataneously that anyone who tells them different is a tyrant. In fact in the end of history everyone is aware of his own inner tyrant. There may be a perfect blackjack system, and yet belief that one corresponds to the system is a disaster highly profitable to the Casino. Thus the end of history occurs not when we can't immagine doing better, but when we can't immagine actualizing better. When we take what we know and delimit it by what we are willing to do on its behalf.

When human beings thus come to discover that the actual is the ideal, when we no longer blame Bush for airport security unless we are willing to defeat and overturn the arguments of the Cardinal Booth Logarithm of MIT. When we come to the realization of what counts as an argument and know that overturning it is easier than replacing it with something better...then we have reached the end of history, because we have reached the end not of the immagination of man but of his drive to actualize that immagination and replace it with something better.

In other words we read Toqueville and see his praise of Pascal who died at 40...and we know we are not equal to the task...nor if we were has mathmatics stayed at Pascal...we are born into a world where the tree of philosophy is full grown...and Toqueville says that if we do not encourage the study of theory then we risk relapsing and collapsing as a society...but (despite the fact that I haven't bothered reading your book "it is my end of history") I would say that from reading your posts you argue that the Lockeian(I would say Cartesian) abstract human being is not true, or the full picture. By all means you are correct. We reach the end of history precisely when we realize that we are not willing to sacrifice ourselves to the tree of science, yet we realize simultaneously that human laziness is not an honest claim to rule.

Who rules in the end of history? Self important human beings who are bold and thymotic....but what rules this boldness, what is the reproof to self-importance?

Why do well established liberal democracies constitute the end of history? In the end because they are always structured in such a way that the people prefer settling a debate by elections rather than by force. The interest of almost all human beings in a liberal democracy is that ballots replace bullets. Would be megalothymic individuals cannot find wide approval for ideas that are outside the the current of the times. Even if they could they would have to simulataneously sell applicability. Once again it is not just about establishing an end state where people are so happy and dignified that they can’t imagine doing any better, but rather that people are happy and dignified enough to be wary of anyone who promises more easily.

The argument for limited government is basically this argument. If the argument for limited government is sound then we have reached the end of history. In essence all government intrusion in the market hurts everyone collectively more than it aids a few interest groups, therefore it is in the interest of all to be for limited government (enter game theory).

But back to power and what Toqueville says of the Supreme Court: "Their power is immense, but it is power springing from opinion. They are all powerful so long as the people consent to obey the law; they can do nothing when they scorn it. Now, of all powers, that of opinion is hardest to use, for it is impossible to say exactly where its limits come. Often it is as dangerous to lag behind it as to outstrip it."(Hegelian sociologist and market timmers may be getting closer, but the agnostics in the field of economics who say that the market cannot be beat ignore human greatness, despite that statistically in the aggregate they are correct.)

In other words following Toqueville that the supreme court would start to rule in favor of gay marriage is a simple necessity in order for it to maintain power.

Everything bows to the Zeitgeist in a liberal democracy, and therefore a liberal democracy is always strong and always the end of history, yet just as the market it is moved by great human beings, great human beings who are great because they have timed the market.

When folks like McClellan come out crying about virtue, they are probably right and they will make money, yet on another level they come out because they got into a game whose rules they did not fully understand.

My view of Hegel/Machiavelli/Toqueville predicts and therefore accounts for more...and basically the Zeitgest right now is ripe for the play that Obama is making...

The end of history is thus achieved in liberal democracies because it addapts just like market capitalism to the Zeitgeist which is essentially the market signal for megalothymic and ambitious men in politics.

Yet the Zeitgeist is always much more moderate than people would think, partisans and ideological approaches are always overshooting...Ayn Rand wrote her book in contempt of the pragmatic Zeitgeist(actually as an antithesis which is still within the Zeitgeist itself) she is in a strange sense the most capitalistic and anticapitalistic thinker. Her hero Howard Roark stands above market pressure, and with resolute integrity destroys houses...and yet her greatest pupil was Alan Greenspan who made conformity and timming market signals into a high art and science.

Fukuyama himself laughed to the bank on the end of is really what ungreat people do. We tell what we know because we fear people greater than ourselves. The surest sign that the end of history is among us is the rise of blogs...only the great know how to assimilate and act upon the information, because being right is worthless without timming, in a liberal democracy all positions taken by polticians are like contracts in the futures can be right and still lose if the market moves after your position expires worthless.

Politics is such a dangerous game...but the winners are never fools, or cannot afford to be...which is why liberal democracy is the end of history(If you suscribe to Hegel's faith that God guides the Zeitgeist in mysterious ways...(which plays all sorts of tricks with Fortuna and Virtu in Machiavelli)...which is basically just Adam Smith's invisible hand applied to politics itself, which is why for Hegel the Real is the Ideal. Which is also simply the synthesis of science and practice, or theory put into play by thumotic individuals, who are great at timming which is in simplified form knowing when to act and when to reflect...the best an economist could approximate would be opportunity cost of information vs. action.

Hey Recovering Repub, "contempt" is perfectly grown-up if the target DESERVES it. Which Frank Fukuyama does. Nothing childish about it!

I'm not sure that "Recovering Repub" deserves an answer, but Fukuyama actually goes by Frank. Many of us around here know him. I'm sure "Recovering Repub" never heard of him until he started badmouthing the administration.

His name really is Frank, and he really is my friend. Thanks to John Lewis for his provocative thoughts on the end of history, which he is taking much more seriously than "Frank" is nowdays. To give Frank credit, he was especially prescient about how difficult the Iraq war would be.

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