Submitted by Llewellyn King of Inside Sources
Francis Fukuyama earned his place in philosophical historical past by declaring “the tip of historical past” on the autumn of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism.
These days Fukuyama, an interesting traveler by means of the world of concepts, poses this nice query: The place are we going?
In New York on Sept. 11, Fukuyama appeared to reply that query by telling an viewers: Nowhere excellent.
The worldwide disaster specified by Fukuyama’s newest guide “Id: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment” is that identification politics — superior tribalism, if you’ll — is eroding democracy.
Fukuyama writes that america invaded the Center East, throughout the Iraq Struggle, to Americanize the Center East, however the Center East has Center-Easternized america. Not solely is there no nationwide identification in Iraq now, he argues, however we’re additionally dropping our Americanism to identification politics, with its baggage of racism and division.
He factors to 2 decidedly democratic occasions as harbingers of a much less democratic future: Britain’s vote in June 2016 to depart the European Union and the election that very same yr of President Donald Trump, catastrophe following on catastrophe, identification triumphing over political union.
Within the case of Brexit, English nationalism upstaging the bigger values of a unified Europe; and within the Trump election, the white working class voting towards the opposite constituent components of the nation.
Listening to Fukuyama answering questions on the New York occasion, organized by Philip Howard and his Widespread Good group, one could possibly be plunged into feeling that the well-known American mixing bowl had grow to be unmixed, breaking down, as Fukuyama gently recommended, into competing teams, supporting simply those that belong to their group — all of this set off by white concern of the tip of their hegemon in America. Therefore, the hysteria over immigration.
The distinction between the immigration alarm in Europe and in america, he mentioned, is that Europe sees not simply an invasion of various individuals with completely different customs, religions and languages, but in addition an assault on the cradle-to-grave welfare programs. Fukuyama mentioned Europeans don’t thoughts paying 60 p.c of their incomes in tax as a result of they consider they get quite a bit for it. That, he mentioned, is what they see coming from immigration: Folks coming to dwell off the beneficiant social construction for which they haven’t paid.
Immigrants from Africa going to Sweden — within the information due to its electoral swing to the proper — should suppose they’ve entered nirvana: complete freedom from need. Not fairly the identical as individuals coming throughout our Southern border, in search of security and work.
Fukuyama sees america at risk from identification grouping overwhelming our commonality as a nation.
I’m wondering about that. Once I landed on these shores as a younger (authorized) immigrant in 1963, I wrote to a pal in England — and I bear in mind this clearly — saying: “That is no melting pot. It is a fruit salad.”
Nicely, that’s nonetheless so, and it really works till it’s perverted by minority manipulators. For instance, there has all the time been a racist ingredient. It’s simply that Trump and his allies have blown on these embers and introduced forth flame. Race dividers really feel emboldened underneath Trump, simply as they seethed underneath President Barack Obama.
It’s price pondering that earlier than Trump, we twice elected an African-American president and that mentioned one thing about us — one thing fairly completely different from what Fukuyama is saying about us in right this moment’s race-heavy, fact-short political debate.
Some on the New York assembly recommended that the pendulum will swing again. Sure, it’ll however to not the established order ante. Will probably be to a brand new place.
Personally, I consider the Trump success was fueled not a lot by resentment as by a pervasive sense of irrelevance. It expresses itself politically, however its root could also be with the isolation felt by those that need to cope with monopoly companies from the cable firm to the net retailer. Assume the politicians ignore you, strive those that have market dominance: banks, well being insurers, on-line distributors and telecoms amongst others.
Fukuyama requires dignity as a sort of antidote to identification politics. He would possibly wish to prolong that wonderful thought past simply the political area.