The End of History: A World Demystified

Continuing on through Fukuyama’s introduction of his ideas, he comes to explain what he sees as the conduit from which history initially spawned. Before I share with you what he says, I think it must be made clear why he is saying it. Fukuyama shares what he sees as the origins of history because he, much like the Christians, Jews, and Muslims of Abrahamic faith, is construction a narrative totality, a way in which he and his readers can makes sense of the world. Just as it seems the “End of History” project is looking to put an end to the narrative struggle of history, thus perhaps meta narrative as a whole, he is caught having to shape a narrative himself. Thus it is made clear that even the destruction of a narrative requires narrative. For us humans there is no escaping the need to live within story. It is so inescapable that the man trying to tell us our story is over can only do it through the replication of a grand, totalizing story.  

Now, back to where Fukuyama sees history being born from. 

“By Hegel’s account, the desire to be recognized as a human being with dignity drove man at the beginning of history into a bloody battle to the death for prestige. The outcome of this battle was a division of human society into a class of masters, who were willing to risk their lives, and a class of slaves, who gave in to their natural fear of death.”

Forget the fact that Hegel saw the French Revolution as a marked success, I am not too sure if this Hegelian account of history is too dissimilar from the biblical narrative of The Fall of Man. It was Adam and Eve’s desire for knowledge that let to their banishment. Then in the story of Cain and Abel, Cain most certainly murdered his brother because he felt God was not recognizing him as, let’s use Hegel’s turn of phrase, a human being with dignity. So what we really have in Hegel’s theory on the birth of human history, the foundational theory behind Fukuyama’s “End of History” is the biblical tradition, demystified. 

For Hegel, it was not man that wanted the recognition of God, but man that wanted recognition of man. Thus the dichotomy of masters and slaves was created. In this view of the world, there is no concern with the divine. Man is his own God, his own judge, and will always be subservient to other men. The consequences of such a worldview are as varied as they are dire. 

For starters, even in the unified world of Christendom, there were slaves. However the notion that the slaves were subhuman is flat out wrong. In Rome, it was actually the slaves as opposed to the foreigner that could eventually become a citizen. Moreover it was both Master and Slave that, no matter what, were subject to the will of the Gods, rendering them both subservient to a greater power than themselves. But the truly crucial outcome of adopting this demystified view on the the beginning of History is that it leaves room for a way out, for a temporal fix for an otherwise metaphysical problem. 

See, if it was God himself that sent us humans into the pitfalls of History, then it would stand to reason that it would be only God himself that could get us out. This is the actual Christian view of History. Jesus has promised to come again and usher in the end of History and the beginning of his eternal reign. For Hegel and Fukuyama, however, if it was merely a bubbling up of human vanity that caused this chain reaction of bloodshed and war, of masters and slaves, well then it, too, would stand to reason that the only thing that would need to be done would be the satisfaction of those aforementioned human urges. This materialist view of the world leaves no room for considering the eternal restlessness of the human heart, or our implicitly sinful nature. Instead the materialist worldview necessarily sees human beings as containers for various chemical reactions. So long as those chemical reactions that result in jealousy and war can theoretically be suppressed, the end of the history can theoretically be ushered in. 

Hopefully, the results of this dichotomy are clear. One of the cornerstone political beliefs of this 21st century strain of liberalism(known by political philosophers as the ruling ideology of the day, Neo-liberalism) is rooted exclusively in the anti-Christian idea that history can be brought to an end via the easing of human psychological tension via the calming elements of consumer capitalism and democracy. No man or woman that calls themselves Christian in any meaningful sense can, in good conscience, support this ideology or the government that is founded upon it. For ultimately, their project rests upon a full replacement of the narrative promises of Jesus Christ and his eventual return; ultimately, these people wish to inhabit a world demystified.

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