End of “The End of History”: The Democracy Delusion
Someone once said that Milton wrote Paradise Lost because he wanted to justify the ways of God to man. Similarly, Francis Fukuyama authored his End of History argument to provide justification for the marketing of the ways of the so called liberal West to the illiberal rest- sons of a lesser God. The basic tenet being that it’s either my way or the highway. Everybody is supposed to mimic the West because only they have the answer as to how the political system of states should or should not be. There is a monologue delivered by Roger “Verbal” Kint, played by the Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects, he says that, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn’t exist.” The usual suspects in our case pulled on a trick of equal magnitude if not more. They convinced the world that democracy- as they propagate- exists and what is more to act as if the world will fall into chaos if their version of democracy is removed from the equation. The hegemonic agenda was sugarcoated with a tint of democracy to make it more appealing to the gullible masses.
It was cool, fashionable and nice thing for the majority of the uninitiated masses as well as the elites to support democracy everywhere no matter how stinky it was in reality. To criticize western liberal democracy was considered blasphemy. For some, the perception of democracy created by the gods of money sitting in the USA carried more weight than the reality on ground. All the miserable addicts of democracy acted in a way as if they were possessed by the most irresistible commodity advertised in free market: democracy. West was able to afford the facade of democracy because of the colonial plunders of past centuries. What was surprising was the obsession of the people of developing countries with western democracy.
After the end of cold war, due to the extreme arrogance and proselytizing knack of the democracy brigade, shadow of the western liberal democracy hovered over the rest of the world even in many unlikely places such as Mongolia and Afghanistan- no pun intended. Forgetting John Stuart Mill’s sane advice that, “the nation did not need to be protected against its own will,” specially manufactured leaders such as Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani were brought into existence out of thin air.
In the heat of the moment “they” even assumed that “we” hate their freedom. Presumably we, the thankless cretins, hate their civilized, liberal and democratic freedom of bombing nations to complete death and destruction. The disregard for others was immortalized by the famous words of the poster girl of liberalism: Hillary Clinton, “we came, we saw, he died”. It was considered fair and just to show utter disregard for life and property of millions of people yet it was considered unfair and unjust to award death penalty to individuals with proven criminal record. Perhaps another sign of our hating their freedom was not feeling proud about pride parades.
But then, as usual, nature took its own course.
The spreading virus of liberal democracy started to implode due to its inherent internal contradictions.
From the dotcom bubble to bogus war on terror to 2008 financial crisis to the rise of populism, signs of a flawed western system became manifest to the perceptive minds. James Madison argued that in a democracy “the danger of oppression” is engendered by “the majority of the community”. Madison uttered these prophetic words long before the rise of BJP but people drunk with the hubris of power were too blind and short sighted to perceive reality as it existed. Instead they created an illusion of reality in their own image.
The only difference before and after the end of cold war was that of the label bestowed upon enemy who dared to think differently and refused to become carbon copies of the west. During cold war it was god-less communism and now it’s all about the illiberal and authoritarian China. Although USA and her vassals are giving an impression of democracy under siege by China but most probably it is their own tiny brains that are under the siege of their own illusions. China has more important tasks to do such as fighting poverty and inequality rather than fighting useless and worthless battle of subverting the non-existent mythological democracy. Chinese are not bothered about western delusions of persecution.
Western pundits embraced a faulty understanding of history. For them history progresses linearly rather than cyclically. But after what happened in the last three decades, now that the hangover of the end of history has begun, Fukuyama can relate to James Joyce who said,
…history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awakeJames Joyce
Looking at the many contradictions such as people for and against LGBTQ, abortion and religious equality etc. it raises questions about the western notion of individual sovereignty on which the whole edifice of liberal democracy is erected and forces one to think whether giving too much importance to individual sovereignty was a good substitute for God?
I will end by quoting a passage from “The Parable of the Madman” by Nietzsche as nobody could have articulated these fears with more power and effect than did Nietzsche almost a century ago as a consequence of “death of God”:
Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly: “I seek God! I seek God!” — As many of those who did not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Has he got lost? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? emigrated? — Thus, they yelled and laughed.
The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. “Whither is God?” he cried; “I will tell you. We have killed him — you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.
“How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”Friedrich Nietzsche, The Parable of the Madman
About the Author: I am a wanderer, learner and seeker of knowledge. Trying to make sense of the apparently haphazard world we are living in. Interested in Politics Philosophy and Psychology.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are authors own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The Reader’s Review.