Modern historicsim, layed out originally by Hegel, declares that history has a beginning, middle and end. That is to say, the course of human history has been directed toward a final goal: the ultimate defeat of all contradictions to human need. Human consciousness has progressed through tribalism, tyranny, theocracy, etc… to modern liberal democracy. Springing from the ideals of the French and American Revolutions, liberal democracy established itself throughout the Western world.
In the next century, we saw the rise of two new modern ideologies (modern=embracing rationalsim, humansim, historicism, positivism), each vying for universal dominance.
In the early and mid twentieth century, we saw the most bloody wars in human history: the Ideology Wars. National Socialism rose up as the next potential step in human history, attempting to address liberal democracy’s political weakness, materialism, anomie and lack of community. It was defeated.
In the remainder of the 20th century, we saw the far greater conflict between liberal democracy and communism. Marxist communism claimed to address the conflict between capital and labor inherent in liberal democracy. It too, crumbled.
All three of these ideologies desired to establish a universal homogenous state, thus heralding the end of human conflict and the end of history. When the dust settled, only liberal democracy remained standing, and is poised to go global. Every ‘developed’ country embraces the ideals of economic and political liberalism.
Is this the end of history? The end of the Evolution of Consciousness? Is liberal democracy the ‘final idea’? Is this a good thing?
For those familiar with Nietzche, he would be fiercely against this. These are the ‘last men’ of which he spoke. According to him, it is our responsiblity as artists to resist this with all our ammunition.
“In the post-historical period there will be neither art nor philosophy, just the perpetual caretaking of the museum of human history. I can feel in myself, and see in others around me, a powerful nostalgia for a time when history existed. Such nostalgia, in fact, will continue to fuel competition and conflict even in the post-historical world for some time to come. Even though I recognize its inevitability, I have the most ambivalent feelings for the civilization that has been created in Europe since 1945, with its north Atlantic and Asian offshoots. Perhaps this very prospect of centuries of boredom at the end of history will serve to get history started once again.” -Francis Fukuyama, “The End of History”
Lets have a real discussion.