Ben Boyce


The end of the ‘End of History’

Posted on May 5, 2022 by Ben Boyce

The End of History and the Last Man is a 1992 book by American political scientist Francis Fukuyama who argues that with the ascendancy of Western capitalist liberal democracy following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and end of the Cold War (1945–1991), humanity had finally reached the final state of social/political evolution. That’s now a laugh line, because as even Fukuyama has admitted, history just keeps happening.

The spirit of the post-cold war era was bullish on the future and the neoliberal ideological consensus for the newly hegemonic Pax Americana unipolar military domination and the new global world order based on Western trans-national institutions like the IMF, World Bank, and the U.N. was an article of faith among the ruling elites of that era, personified by Tony Blair in the U.K. and Bill Clinton in the U.S. 

I was in grad school at SSU in the Masters of Public Administration program at the time and I recall that ‘Re-Inventing Government’, touted by vice-president Al Gore as a model for the future of public administration, was required reading in the department.

This ratified the trend towards the muddled ‘public-private’ model for delivery of public services that is now rampant in the U.S. The recent example of the Governor Ron DeSantis in the state of Florida rescinding a public/private partnership in the municipality surrounding the Magic Kingdom theme park (which essentially surrendered state power in their tax jurisdiction to the Disney Corporation) was a remnant of that still dominant neoliberal model, which has only served to weaken and diffuse the power of the state to manage the excesses of finance capitalism. On principle alone, that’s a step in the right direction.

God willing, if we can ever elect a progressive administration with super-majorities and expand the Court, we can finally roll back this failed experiment in statecraft, enforce anti-trust regulation of the tech and energy sectors and fortify via funding state capacity to manage the coming climate-induced crises of the 21st century.

That’s the best-case scenario. The brute reality check that the Russian Federation has a 20K+ nuclear missile arsenal that could end human civilization in minutes hasn’t sobered the rhetoric of the war hawks. They seem to believe that we are invulnerable because we’re #1. We can’t bluff the Kremlin on this score. 

The progressive movement should push for a ceasefire and negotiated settlement immediately. The stakeholders at that negotiating table should include the EU, NATO, the U.S., Russia, Ukraine, and China. Any maximalist CIA and State Department scenario of bleeding out the Russian Federation with a protracted guerilla war in Ukraine is essentially a pact to fight to the last Ukrainian. There is a rational settlement available, if we choose that future.  

Locally, the Sheriff’s race continues apace. Unfortunately, it’s now reminding me of the 2018 Sheriff’s contest, when reform candidate John Mutz lost when the alternative lane to the Sheriff’s Association incumbent was clogged up by the entrance of Ernesto Olivares, who effectively split the anti-incumbent vote. My political pro allies in the Labor Council seem to believe that pattern will be replicated in 2022. Sad. 



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