It's the End of the End of History As We Know it

Writing in the World Affairs Journal, Michael Zantovsky, the former Czech ambassador to the U.S. and longtime former wingman to Vaclav Havel, has an interesting and hard-to-define essay that ruminates on the collapse of communism, Francis Fukuyama's The End of History and the Last Man, evolutionary biology, Sept. 11, Hayek, and much else besides. Any excerpt will be an injustice; here's the closing paragraph:

Even so, the [recent] bad news has come with a sense of relief, at least to some. It has reconfirmed some basic truths about the world. There is no manifest destiny for mankind, no end point, no true ideology, and no salvation on this earth. Civilizations come and go, idols rise and fall, people are born and they die only to make room for later generations. Freedom, for which liberal democracy is a conduit rather than the other way round, can never be assured of its final victory, can never be taken for granted. Its enemies, among which the most insidious reside inside rather than outside the West, will always threaten it. Ideologies are the props of history, not the moving forces behind it and certainly not the actors. These are the people. In fact, by trying to channel history into the boundaries of their dogmas and prejudices, ideologies more often hinder history than propel it forward. It is simply not the case, as Hegel thought, that "spirit...determines history absolutely, and it stands firm against the chance occurrences which it dominates and exploits for its own purpose." History, to borrow a phrase from Adam Ferguson, is not a product of human design but of human action. The end of history is the death of the last man.

Whole thing here. Other 20th-anniversary noodlings from me and Michael C. Moynihan, and read our Fukuyama file here.

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  • Old Mexican||

    Freedom, for which liberal democracy is a conduit rather than the other way round, can never be assured of its final victory, can never be taken for granted. Its enemies, among which the most insidious reside inside rather than outside the West, will always threaten it.

    Wise words, although I would contend that liberal democracy is actually a hindrance to freedom, not a conduit, since democracy leads to mob rule and the formation of a tax-consuming elite.


    "May all tax consumers find honest and productive work, or die trying, because I am certainly NOT going to feed them anymore."

  • ||

    If it is a hinderance, what is exactly is a conduit? Anarchy sure as hell isn't. People always have a government. If there isn't a formal one, they form informal ones that are ruled by the gun and by those most willing and able to kill for power. And if you are going to have a formal government, liberal democracy for all of its faults is about as good as you can get. You make like the idea of rule by an "enlightened elite", but I will pass.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: John,

    If it is a hinderance, what is exactly is a conduit? Anarchy sure as hell isn't.

    Anarchy only means "without government." And we already live in relative anarchy, or did you file papers to choose your friends? Did you get your permit to choose the brand of bubble gum you're chewing?

    People always have a government.

    That's not true. People may choose an administrator, but a government presuposes a bureaucracy, and it is NOT always the case that such exist all the time.

    If there isn't a formal one, they form informal ones that are ruled by the gun and by those most willing and able to kill for power. And if you are going to have a formal government, liberal democracy for all of its faults is about as good as you can get.

    What difference is there between one person using the gun to further his power and the 50% plus one using their bulk to increase THEIR power?

    "Why would I want to trade a tyrant 3,000 miles away for 3,000 tyrants 100 miles away?"

    You make like the idea of rule by an "enlightened elite", but I will pass.

    You misunderstood - democracy ALWAYS leads to a governing elite, because mobs are susceptible to the demagoguery of liars, flim-flam artists and charlatans, commonly known as "politicians."

  • ||

    There are places in this world that don't have formal government. There also are lots of areas that because of their illegal nature operate outside any government bounds. In every case, those areas are ruled by whoever is the biggest, well armed sociopath in the room. That is all mafias are. They are just a police department for people who can't go to the cops. In the criminal underworld we call them organized crime. In failed states we call them warlords. But they are really the same thing; an way for people to enforce rules or standards of behavior.

    That is your choice; government or mafia. I will take government. And if you have a government, there really isn't any superior alternative to liberal Democracy. You are pissing in the wind if you think there is.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: John,

    There are places in this world that don't have formal government. There also are lots of areas that because of their illegal nature operate outside any government bounds. In every case, those areas are ruled by whoever is the biggest, well armed sociopath in the room.

    You think a government that repeatedly kills its own citizens (Ruby Ridge, Waco), spies on them, takes their property by force (Taxes, Eminent Domain, "Environmental" Laws), takes their guns (Post-Katrina New Orleans), possesses the BIGGER guns, and then extols the necessity of its own existence, is NOT a sociopathic bully?

    That is all mafias are. They are just a police department for people who can't go to the cops. In the criminal underworld we call them organized crime. In failed states we call them warlords. But they are really the same thing; an way for people to enforce rules or standards of behavior.

    Well, if people decided to create these mafias to enforce rules and standards, so be it. I would guess then that you would have NO trouble if I can then make the direct comparison between a so-called "democratic" regime and one ruled by mobsters. Both act in the same manner.

    That is your choice; government or mafia.

    That's a false dichotomy.

    I will take government. And if you have a government, there really isn't any superior alternative to liberal Democracy.

    Sure there is: Republicanism. Wasn't America founded as a Republic, not a Democracy?

  • ||

    If you honestly think that our current government or really any other democracy is even remotely close to being ruled by a mafia, you are an idiot. I am sorry but that is just stupid. Go down and look at the drug gangs in Mexico or the warlords in Somalia and that will show you what having no government or rule by mafia is actually like. For Christ sake that is why we need to legalize drugs, so we can take drugs out of the hands of the mafia. You are just a whackjob or are trolling. For your sake I hope you are trolling.

  • Attorney||

    What kind of twisted po-mo game are you playing here, "Friedman"?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tom Friedman,

    If you honestly think that our current government or really any other democracy is even remotely close to being ruled by a mafia, you are an idiot.

    Notwithstanding the special interest groups and the Chicago-Style politics, I would imagine . . .

    Go down and look at the drug gangs in Mexico . . .

    You mean those gangs that are the direct result of the USA's bullying on the Mexican government to fight the "War On Drugs" for her? Those drug gangs?

    [...] [O]r the warlords in Somalia and that will show you what having no government or rule by mafia is actually like.

    I already know - I live in Santa Cruz, CA. I know what it is like to live under a tax-consuming, uber-leftist mafia.

    For Christ sake that is why we need to legalize drugs, so we can take drugs out of the hands of the mafia.

    You cannot have it both ways, Tom. The War on Drugs is the doing of a purported "Liberal Democracy". So either the Liberal Democracy is right and me (and you apparently) are wrong, or the Liberal Democracy is wrong, which would also lead to believe it could be wrong on a big host of other things.

    You are just a whackjob or are trolling. For your sake I hope you are trolling.

    I am a principled and consistent libertarian, Tom. I don't change my principles out of expediency, and one of my principles is that the State, in whatever manifestation, is a direct threat to people's freedom.

  • Sam Grove||

    So it is government policy that creates a mafia, no?

  • ||

    mafia is government. A competing outlaw government but none the less government.

  • robc||

    The one good thing about tyrants and kings is that they usually dont give a damn about your personal life.

  • ||

    Awesome, Ole Mex, just awesome!

  • ||

    What we have is the Federal Mafia.

  • Paul||

    Did you get your permit to choose the brand of bubble gum you're chewing?

    He may have.

  • Nitori Kawashiro||

    I'm not advocating anarchy but it's worth remembering that the nation state government has a monopoly on force in a set geographical area, that area it governs, and "formal" or "informal" it always operates at the point of a gun.

  • ||

    "...liberal democracy for all of its faults is about as good as you can get."

    That's a depressing, if not defeatist, thought. While a better form may not have been devised, I'm still hopeful it might be. After all, "democracy's faults", as you so dismissively acknowledge them, include rank injustice and violent coercion. Democracy is wholly incapable of escaping these elements, which makes at least attempting to create new forms of governance worthwhile.

  • LarryA||

    This whole argument is based on definition deficit. The government today's U.S. "liberal" Democratic Party is working toward is nearly the exact opposite of the classic “liberal democracy” Zantovsky says is the conduit of freedom.

  • Voltaire||

    Il faut cultiver son jardin.

  • The Man||

    Zut! Je croyais que tu étais mort.

  • La vie en rose||

    Oui, je suis aussi morte que le Parti libertarien, mais je le connais, et elles n'en ont pas.

  • ||

    Incroyable! Ils sont drôles en français et au-delà de la tombe aussi.

  • thumbs up||

    La plume de ma tante est dans le bureau.

  • poo - tee - weet||

    " In fact, by trying to channel history into the boundaries of their dogmas and prejudices, ideologies more often hinder history than propel it forward."

    Would that include Libertarian dogmas and prejudices?

  • ||

    If the forward propulsion of history is toward greater and greater coercive state control, I for one am proud to adhere to dogmas and prejudices that hinder it.

  • poo - tee - weet||

    ;-)

  • Attorney||

    History = Obama

    Anyone who won't cheerfully propel history forward is a racist.

  • ||

    The way forward in history is to have a reasonably enlightened elite in charge like China that will tell you stupid proles how things are going to be and get a few things done.

  • ||

    Of course history isn't over. We're still waiting for our flying cars.

  • ||

    And my damned jet pack.

  • ||

    Immanuel Kant was a real pissant
    Who was very rarely stable.
    Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
    Who could think you under the table.
    David Hume could out-consume
    Wilhelm Freidrich Hegel,
    And Wittgenstein was a beery swine
    Who was just as schloshed as Schlegel.

    There's nothing Nietzsche couldn't teach ya'
    'Bout the raising of the wrist.
    SOCRATES, HIMSELF, WAS PERMANENTLY PISSED...

    John Stuart Mill, of his own free will,
    On half a pint of shandy was particularly ill.
    Plato, they say, could stick it away;
    Half a crate of whiskey every day.
    Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle,
    Hobbes was fond of his dram,
    And Rene Descartes was a drunken fart: "I drink, therefore I am"
    Yes, Socrates, himself, is particularly missed;
    A lovely little thinker but a bugger when he's pissed!

  • Paul||

    Freedom, for which liberal democracy is a conduit rather than the other way round

    Nice...

  • poo - tee - weet||

    Why are Czechs better writers than Americans?

  • Old Mexican||

    Because it takes more time to learn Czech. Duh.

  • ||

    In the 1980's, an ex-KGB officer and Russian defector, Yuri Bezmenov, did his absolute best to warn Americans about 1960's radicals who were slowly converting America to a Marxist country using an overt process called "Ideological Subversion".

    It has nothing to do with a conspiracy theory or grand new world order. It is overt, out in the open, in your face (a la Bill Ayers, ACORN, SEIU, Barack Obama).

    There are 4 stages to Ideological Subversion:

    1. Demoralization (what Gramsci called the "slow march through the institutions)
    2. Destabilization
    3. Crisis (we are at the beginning of this stage)
    4. Normalization (which is anything but normal).

    This video features Yuri Bezmenov describing exactly how Ideological Subversion works (it should sound eerily familiar).

    There are many other Bezmenov videos on youtube, but this is a great one to start with. This particular video has over 131,000 views, but it needs to have 100 million.

    Video (Forward to 2:10 if limited on time): (sorry, can't get video link to activate... cut paste plz)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeMZGGQ0ERk

    There was also an excellent recent 2009 American Thinker article about Mr. Bezmenov and Ideological Subversion:

    http://www.americanthinker.com....._love.html

    People need to realize that we got to this sorry point in our country's history by design, not by accident.

  • juris imprudent||

    Yeah, Bezmenov was only interviewed by Birchers. He makes an interesting narrative, but his venue reeks of a deeper disinformation mission.

  • ||

    The problem with this idea is that destabilization and crisis in recent elections and history tends to work against the party in power.

    Obama has fucked himself.

  • Cirque de la lune||

    "Obama has fucked himself." Just the act we need to compete with those sunny contortionists.

  • ||

    There is no manifest destiny for mankind, no end point, no true ideology, and no salvation on this earth. Civilizations come and go, idols rise and fall, people are born and they die only to make room for later generations.

    It's kinda fucking depressing that anyone needs to be told this, that any relatively educated person over 18 ever actually thought "Wow. It's all over. Just peace love and European social democracy from here on out."

    The end of history is like the Permanent ___________ Majority. A fantasy believed only by people who can't a) remember more than ten years back or b) read.

  • robc||

    "There is no manifest destiny for mankind, no end point, no true ideology, and no salvation on this earth."

    Christians (and Im sure, followers of some other religions too) disagree.

  • ||

    I'm a Christian, and I don't believe there's a manifest destiny for mankind. Individuals, yes. Mankind, no. And there is certainly no salvation on this earth.

  • ||

    The end of history is the death of the last man.

    "The Road" is the best zombie movie of the last 20 years.

  • ||

    The end of history is the death of the last man.

    Actually, the end of history is the death of the second to last man. Seriously.

    But it doesn't have the same ring, so I can see why he wrote what he did.

  • ||

    If you want to get technical the end of history is the death of the last fertile woman.

    But perhaps I don't know what you are getting at. Why isn't a lone dude wandering around with the twigs and rocks not history? I mean taken to its furthest extreme we all know the Human race will not go on forever so we may as well say that history has not only already ended but that history does not exist at all.

    But maybe this conversation is best taken up by Jacob and that other guy on an episode of Lost.

  • ||

    Luke 10:18And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
    In ancient Hebrew the word for lightning is barack, the word for heaven or the
    heights is bama and to connect the words either an “a” or an “o” is used.

    2 Thessalonians 2:3 (King James Version)
    3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there
    come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

    Political Correctness a term first seen in Mao’s Little Red Book, a communist engendered abomination that is instituting censorship little by little.

    “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”- George Washington

    Carl Marx, once wrote that, the goal of the Communists was to quote,. “enter into men’s minds and cast God down from his throne.”

    Matthew 12:31Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.


    In ancient Babylon their economy was based on usury.
    “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest. Exodus 22:25
    Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him. Ezekiel 18:13
    Usury is unlawful; expressly prohibited by GOD!
     Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution clearly states that only the Congress can print and coin money! 

    The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 was slipped thru congress during the Christmas break with the majority of it’s members absent. 

    The Federal Reserve is self serving and privately owned in violation to the Constitution, charging interest on illegally printed money. Money printed from nothing!
    In America On June 4, 1963, a virtually unknown Presidential decree, Executive Order 11110, was signed with the authority to basically strip the Federal Reserve Bank of its power to loan money to the United States Federal Government at interest. With the stroke of a pen, President Kennedy declared that the privately owned Federal Reserve Bank would soon be out of business. Five months later A UNITED STATES PRESIDENT, PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY was MURDERED BY COMMUNIST!
    “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest. Exodus 22:25
    Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him. Ezekiel 18:13
    Usury is unlawful; expressly prohibited by GOD!

    In ancient Babylon their priest sacrificed babies to their gods baal, and molech.  
    In America the communist under their socialist programs have sacrificed over 50 million American babies to their god satan!
    Leviticus 20:2-5
    2Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel , Whosoever he be of the children of Israel , or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel , that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones.
    3And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.
    4And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not:
    5Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.

    Luke 22:35-36 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing,” they answered. 36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.

    Jeremiah 50:16Cut off the sower from Babylon, and him that handleth the SICKLE in the time of harvest: for fear of the oppressing sword they shall turn every one to his people, and they shall flee every one to his own land.
    Jeremiah 50:23How is the HAMMER OF THE WHOLE EARTH CUT ASUNDER AND BROKEN! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations!
    BABYLON = the HAMMER and SICKLE!

    Jeremiah 50:14 “ Put yourselves in array against Babylon all around, All you who bend the bow; Shoot at her, spare no arrows, For she has sinned against the LORD.

    All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD will I destroy them. Psalm 118:10


    “The thing that separates the American Christian from every other person on earth is the fact that he would rather die on his feet, than live on his knees!”. George Washington

    “NO KING BUT KING JESUS!”

     

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