Decoding the Myth of End of History

Kushal Pal, Anita Agarwal

Abstract


The ideological battle in the world is very old. It intensified with the SovietSocialist Revolution of 1917, which also culminated in a cold war between the twosuper powers. It impelled upon the liberal thinkers to declare an „End of Ideology‟ in1955. Subsequently some of the western scholars declared Political theory as dead,whereas others maintained that, it is not dead but declining. Further to this debate in1989, a US State Department official, Francis Fukuyama wrote a sensational essay “TheEnd of History” in which he claimed that the world in which historical progress wasunderstood in terms of the struggle for human freedom had reached its final destinationwhere history ceases to exist. The statement of Fukuyama is highly debatable and hasled to many serious writings among western and non-western scholars.

Before the demise of communism in Soviet Russia, in his thesis, Fukuyamawrote that the promises of communism were an illusion. He strongly put forward hisargument that like monarchy, fascism and other forms of autocratic government that hadbeen tried from time to time, communism, the last great challenger to liberal democracy,had failed to deliver the proverbial good. Interestingly, after the sudden death ofcommunism, this liberal thesis received a great boost among the western intelligentsia.

While explaining his thesis, Fukuyama argued that modern liberal democracieswere not without their practical deficiencies and still struggled with problems of crimeand injustice. But Fukuyama argued that these deficiencies simply reflected theincomplete realization of basic principles of liberal democracy – liberty and equalityrather than any defects in the principles themselves. The basis of his argument is that theMarxist dream of socialist society has failed and capitalism, as the logical economicaccompaniment to liberal democracy, has triumphed. And, thus, by the end of history hemeans a much more secure existence in a liberal democratic world. Thus, the entirethesis reflected characteristically the end of ideological hostility, which represented thesurrender to the forces of western values of economics and especially political freedom.

But Fukuyama‟s thesis seems more of a myth than a reality. Applying his ownargument to a Marxist vision of an egalitarian society based on the principles of equality, liberty and justice one may argue that the Marxist ideology, too, is free fromdefects in its principles; only its objectives have not been achieved fully. Its notion of asocialist society is still relevant for the third world countries where a large part of thepopulation is struggling for bare minimum necessities of life. Moreover, under thepresent conditions of globalization, the dominant economic paradigm of globalcapitalism has resulted in wider economic disparities between classes. So, the capitalistmanifestation of liberal democracy cannot be treated as the ultimate stage of historicalprogress. And Fukuyama‟s vision did not promise a world free of the tragedy of violentconflicts. History, a very important component of social sciences, cannot be simplywhisked away on the basis of fake premises.

The ongoing discussion and analyses of the concept shall involve the use ofhistorical, analytical and comparative research methods.

Key words: Decoding, Myth, History

 


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