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While this book is informed by recent world events, its subject returns to a very old question: Whether, at the end of the twentieth century, it makes sense for us once again to speak of a coherent and directional History of mankind that will eventually lead the greater part of humanity to liberal democracy?

The answer I arrive at is yes, for two separate reasons. It is of course not sufficient to appeal to the authority of Hegel, Marx, or any of their contemporary followers to establish the validity of a directional History. In the century and a half since they wrote, their intellectual legacy has been relentlessly assaulted from all directions. The most profound thinkers of the twentieth century have directly attacked the idea that history is a coherent or intelligible process; indeed, they have denied the possibility that any aspect of human life is philosophically intelligible.

We in the West have become thoroughly pessimistic with regard to the possibility of overall progress in democratic institutions. This profound pessimism is not accidental, but born of the truly terrible political events of the first half of the twentieth century — two destructive world wars, the rise of totalitarian ideologies, and the turning of science against man in the form of nuclear weapons and environmental damage.

Indeed, we have become so accustomed by now to expect that the future will contain bad news with respect to the health and security of decent, liberal, democratic political practices that we have problems recognising good news when it comes. And yet, good news has come.

And while they have not given way in all cases to stable liberal democracies, liberal democracy remains the only coherent political aspiration that spans different regions and cultures around the globe. A liberal revolution in economic thinking has sometimes preceded, sometimes followed, the move toward political freedom around the globe.

All of these developments, so much at odds with the terrible history of the first half of the century when totalitarian governments of the Right and Left were on the march, suggest the need to look again at the question of whether there is some deeper connecting thread underlying them, or whether they are merely accidental instances of good luck.


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By raising once again the question of whether there is such a thing as a Universal History of mankind, I am resuming a discussion that was begun in the early nineteenth century, but more or less abandoned in our time because of the enormity of events that mankind has experienced since then.

While drawing on the ideas of philosophers like Kant and Hegel who have addressed this question before, I hope that the arguments presented here will stand on their own. This volume immodestly presents not one but two separate efforts to outline such a Universal History. After establishing in Part I why we need to raise once again the possibility of Universal History, I propose an initial answer in Part II by attempting to use modern natural science as a regulator or mechanism to explain the directionality and coherence of History.

Modern natural science is a useful starting point because it is the only important social activity that by common consensus is both cumulative and directional, even if its ultimate impact on human happiness is ambiguous. The unfolding of modern natural science has had a uniform effect on all societies that have experienced it, for two reasons.

In the first place, technology confers decisive military advantages on those countries that possess it, and given the continuing possibility of war in the international system of states, no state that values its independence can ignore the need for defensive modernisation. Second, modern natural science establishes a uniform horizon of economic production possibilities.

Technology makes possible the limitless accumulation of wealth, and thus the satisfaction of an ever-expanding set of human desires. This process guarantees an increasing homogenisation of all human societies, regardless of their historical origins or cultural inheritances. All countries undergoing economic modernisation must increasingly resemble one another: they must unify nationally on the basis of a centralised state, urbanise, replace traditional forms of social organisation like tribe, sect, and family with economically rational ones based on function and efficiency, and provide for the universal education of their citizens.

Such societies have become increasingly linked with one another through global markets and the spread of a universal consumer culture. Moreover, the logic of modern natural science would seem to dictate a universal evolution in the direction of capitalism. But while the historical mechanism represented by modern natural science is sufficient to explain a great deal about the character of historical change and the growing uniformity of modern societies, it is not sufficient to account for the phenomenon of democracy.

But while modern natural science guides us to the gates of the Promised Land of liberal democracy, it does not deliver us to the Promised Land itself, for there is no economically necessary reason why advanced industrialisation should produce political liberty. Stable democracy has at times emerged in pre-industrial societies, as it did in the United States in On the other hand, there are many historical and contemporary examples of technologically advanced capitalism coexisting with political authoritarianism from Meiji Japan and Bismarckian Germany to present-day Singapore and Thailand.

In many cases, authoritarian states are capable of producing rates of economic growth unachievable in democratic societies. Our first effort to establish the basis for a directional history is thus only partly successful. The logic of modern science can explain a great deal about our world: why we residents of developed democracies are office workers rather than peasants eking out a living on the land, why we are members of labor unions or professional organisations rather than tribes or clans, why we obey the authority of a bureaucratic superior rather than a priest, why we are literate and speak a common national language.

But economic interpretations of history are incomplete and unsatisfying, because man is not simply an economic animal. In particular, such interpretations cannot really explain why we are democrats, that is, proponents of the principle of popular sovereignty and the guarantee of basic rights under a rule of law. It is for this reason that the book turns to a second, parallel account of the historical process in Part III, an account that seeks to recover the whole of man and not just his economic side.

According to Hegel, human beings like animals have natural needs and desires for objects outside themselves such as food, drink, shelter, and above all the preservation of their own bodies. This worth in the first instance is related to his willingness to risk his life in a struggle over pure prestige.

For only man is able to overcome his most basic animal instincts — chief among them his instinct for self-preservation — for the sake of higher, abstract principles and goals. When the natural fear of death leads one combatant to submit, the relationship of master and slave is born. The stakes in this bloody battle at the beginning of history are not food, shelter, or security, but pure prestige.

People are risking all to pile on to boats and hope to reach safety on whatever far shore will take them. In Yemen the two biggest powers in the Muslim world, Iran and Saudi Arabia, are locked in a deadly proxy war — pitting Shia Houthi rebels backed by Tehran against the Yemeni government.

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United Nations estimates claim as many as 85, children under the age of five are thought to have starved to death in Yemen in the past three years. To look at the images of the emaciated children — eyes bulging, skin loose, rib cages exposed — brings to mind precisely the sort of images out of Ethiopia in the s that horrified the world and inspired music stars to rally in aid concerts and records.

Governments stepped up and we swore never again. But right now the UN says Yemen is facing the greatest humanitarian disaster of the 21st century — 14 million people are at risk of starvation. A war on terrorism that began — officially at least — after the attack on the United States on September 11, , rages on.

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Nowhere is safe. All of this happening during what is considered to be the longest period of global peace in human history. It hardly feels like it. But there is an even greater fear: a war between the two biggest powers on the globe: the United States and China.

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The End of History and the Last Man - Francis Fukuyama - Google книги

Any clash between the US and China would be catastrophic, but as much as we may try to wish it away, right now military strategists in Beijing and Washington are preparing for just that eventuality. Global think tank the Rand Corporation prepared a report in for the American military. It concluded that China would suffer greater casualties than the US if war was to break out now.

However, it cautioned, that as China's military muscle increased so would the prospect of a prolonged destructive war. Beijing has claimed disputed territory and already expanded it and militarised it. Air Force runways have been built on land dredged up from the ocean floor. China has continued to build its military strength, strike force and budget second only to the United States.

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It is developing advanced fighter jets, stealth attack submarines and anti-ship ballistic missiles. It is building what Beijing calls its "undersea Great Wall" — and is developing a new bomber aircraft that will greatly expand China's long-range strike capacity. Davis warns that China could "leapfrog US capabilities" and that "could begin to tip the local military advantage in Beijing's direction". America recognises the threat. As the strategy stated: "It is increasingly clear that China and Russia want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model.

The strategy called for a "fundamental shift" in policy away from focusing on countering terror groups to meet the growing threat from "revisionist powers" China and Russia. Then-defence secretary Jim Mattis said an "urgent change" was needed to "restore warfighting readiness". China is ruled by a new emperor: a man considered the most powerful leader of the country since Mao Zedong. In fact Xi Jinping is arguably more powerful than Mao, leading a nation that is, by some measurements, already the world's biggest economy. Xi is a son of the Communist party — he puts the party above all.

He is crushing dissent; locking up and suppressing the Uyghur Muslim minority; jailing his rivals; shutting down the media and silencing activists. He has made himself President for life. He is a self-styled strongman who has promised his people he will deliver on the China Dream. He is not the type of leader to back down. They look at the world and see the same fault lines as Then they said war would never happen; Germany and Britain were each other's biggest trading partners; the kaiser and the king were cousins.

How wrong they were. Australian historian Sir Christopher Clarke wrote a magnificent book about how the world drifted to war — he called it Sleepwalkers. In , the world was enjoying a great peace: economies were booming and trade connected the world. Just like today. And then the assassination of an Austrian Crown Prince in Sarajevo tipped the world into the bloodiest conflict we had ever seen.

The war to end all wars. Now many believe we are sleepwalking to war all over again. The weights are tipping the scales just like The Asia-Pacific is a tinderbox of old enmities, expanding militaries, disputed territories, unfinished conflict and nuclear weapons. A spark in the South China Sea could set fire to the region: China on one side, the US on the other, with the rest off the world forced into choosing sides.

Today military strategists warn of the Thucydides Trap: when a rising power meets a waning power and go to battle for supremacy. Is Francis Fukuyama? No: history, a humble account of how man has lived and suffered, is what we require to declare progress, not prophecy. It is important to stress that the issue is not whether mankind has made progress over the millennia.

Surely it has. The exact nature and extent of the progress can be measured in any number of ways. The material progress of mankind has been staggering, especially in the last two hundred years. As Francis Fukuyama points out, in there were only three liberal democracies in the world: the United States, France, and Switzerland.


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  4. Today, there are sixty-one. That is remarkable progress. But it is also contingent progress, reversible by the same means that accomplished it in the first place: the efforts of individual men and women. But how often, even before Hegel, has that end been proclaimed. And then they will say again that everything has been done and said. But in his view, evil, e.

    The End of History: Religious Fundamentalism, Politics, Scientific Progress, Ethics & War (1992)

    I submit that any theory which regards World War II as a momentary wrinkle on the path of freedom is in need of serious rethinking. For it is not at all clear that Hegel himself was a champion of anything like what we call liberal democracy. What about the rest? No one is going to give Hegel a prize for limpid prose.

    Francis Fukuyama and the end of History

    Certainly he talked about freedom a great deal. But liberal democracy? Did Hegel believe that it was? Francis Fukuyama is surely correct that to have a liberal democracy, the people must be sovereign. But in The Philosophy of Right Hegel seems to think that the sovereign should be sovereign. Or at least he appears to like it. In a footnote, Francis Fukuyama acknowledges that Hegel overtly supported the Prussian monarchy.