The Coming Religious Storm
When Francis Fukuyama questioned whether the end of history had arrived in the summer of 1989, he declared that “The triumph of the West, of the Western idea, is evident first of all in the total exhaustion of viable systemic alternatives to Western liberalism.” Fukuyama pointed to the changes that Russia and China were in process of forging with certain groundbreaking reforms, the spread of ubiquitous Western music—both popular and classical, from Japan to Prague to Rangoon and Tehran—and the move of Communist nations to more competitive, capital-based economies.
Francis Fukuyama’s main thesis was expressed in his idea that “the victory of liberalism has occurred primarily in the realm of ideas or consciousness and is as yet incomplete in the real or material world. But there are powerful reasons for believing that it is the ideal that will govern the material world in the long run” (National Interest, Summer 1989; emphasis mine throughout).
In his response to Fukuyama’s thesis on the end of History, academic Alan Bloom declared, “This glorious victory … is the noblest achievement of democracy … the victory of justice, of freedom over tyranny, the rallying of all good and reasonable men and women” (ibid.).
Other critics of Fukuyama’s idea of the arrival of the “end of history” were far less sanguine.
Historian Gertrude Himmelfarb commented, “I myself have been too traumatized by communism and Nazism to have any confidence in the eternal realities of history—except the reality of contingency and change, of the imponderable and the unanticipated (and, as often as not, the undesired and undesirable)” (ibid.).
Literary editor of The New Republic, Leon Wieseltier, reflecting on Fukuyama’s “end of history,” posed the question, “How many people have suffered and died in this century because somebody decided to put an end to history?” He then declared, “It is precisely the memory of totalitarianism that should dissuade us from desiring such consummations” (ibid.).
The seismic shifts in global polarity that have occurred since Fukuyama published his essay have since proven that history is anything but at an end.
Fukuyama made one overarching, true and provable statement in the opening sentence to his essay. Reflecting on the decade of the 1980s, he stated “something very fundamental has happened in world history.” He then maintained that the victory of Western liberal democracy over tyranny in two world wars in the first half of the 20th century, and ideological victory in the Cold War following the second half of that century, had brought us full circle, to an end of competing ideologies by the triumph of Western liberal democracy over all other contenders.
What Fukuyama did not foresee was that, two decades on from the publishing of his dramatic and provocative essay positing the end of history, that the very nation that had led the crusade for the victory of Western liberal democracy over all other contending forces would be on the brink of moral, social, economic and political collapse 20 years later!
The clearest eyed observers of reality can see that the United States is in deep, deep trouble. The government simply cannot afford to bail itself and its state-sponsored enterprises out of their unprecedented indebtedness. America is plain broke and just won’t admit it. Writing for the Israeli newspaper Arutz Sheva, Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu reports, “First it was Citibank. Now it’s Barclay’s and New York City’s Chrysler Building skyscraper. Muslim Arabs are buying out collapsing Western banks and businesses and gaining growing international power …. The latest American symbol to go down the drain is the Anheuser-Busch beer brewer” (July 18).
Two of Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers, the Times and the Australian, also recently commented on America’s economic plague. The Times of London wrote, “The weak dollar and weak economy mean the United States is up for sale. Japs are conquering the car industry. Arabs just bought part of the Chrysler Building. … [T]hey even tried to buy the ports a while back. Whatever next? A hijab on the Statue of Liberty?”
Writing for the Australian, Paul Kelly drew attention earlier this month to what he termed a “new reality,” that “The energy, financial and political woes that grip the U.S. signal a decisive shift in world power …. There is … a new reality, the greatest transfer of income in human history … [and] the rise of a new breed of wealthy autocracies that cripple U.S. hopes of dominating the global system and … [place] demands on the U.S. to make fresh compromises in a world where power is rapidly being diversified” (July 5).
In respect of this quantum shift of power and wealth, we would do well to think on the comment that Russian expert Stephen Sestanovich made in his criticism of Fukayama’s end of history thesis. He inferred that whatever global powers become extant in the future, “the strong will (still) do what they can; the weak will (still) do what they must” (National Interest, op. cit.).
The question is, who will become “the strong,” and who will be “the weak” in the wake of the now clearly observable and very rapid decline of the Anglo-American powers?
Here is where the cycle of history perpetuates itself, playing out a scenario that is far from new in terms of the antagonists.
Two contending ideologies, each with a history of competing for world power far longer that that of the Western democracies, are in process of resurrecting themselves to challenge each other yet once more for global hegemony—Islamic and Roman Catholic fundamentalism. The former has the power of the possession of a major part of the world’s energy resources in its grip to aid in propelling it toward its goal. The latter is fueled by the largest single trading bloc in the world.
Each of these ideologies is powerfully political by nature. Each is universalist in outlook. Each, at its core, is uncompromising in its goal of world domination. Each is deeply entrenched in its antagonism toward the other. And, all rhetoric and posturing aside, each has a historical determination to beat the other in the competition for global hegemony.
The immediate goal of each of these increasingly powerful movements is the dominance of Europe first, then the rest of the world. While, in the immediate term, the one is set on reviving the historical attachment of Europe to its ideological roots in Rome drawing its economic, political and military dynamism from the Continent’s most powerful nation, Germany; the other is intent on rallying all of Islam to the task of the forceful conversion of the European peoples to its medieval Middle Eastern theocracy.
As these two powerful movements gain speed along the road to achieving their objectives, the powers that would have previously sought to intervene to quash such a coming clash of two ancient enemies are stymied, prevented ultimately not by diversion to fighting any ethereal “war on terror,” but rendered powerless by the enemy within. As Irving Kristol, publisher of the National Interest, declared in that Summer 1989 edition, “We may have won the Cold War … but this means that now the enemy is us, not them.”
Self-centered, avidly consumerist, greedy, immoral, shameless Anglo-America has become its own worst enemy. Having not won a hot war for over 60 years through sheer lack of both pride in its power and the political will to use it, Anglo-America is now rendered economically and politically incapable of such a victory even if it had the character to commit to it, a character that progressively died following the last such victory in 1945!
The reality is that, to parody Fukuyama’s statement, “The failure of the West, of the Western idea, is evident in the total exhaustion of the system it has created.”
The sad fact is, it did not have to be so. Once, Anglo-America had it in its power to put an end, if not to history, then certainly to the inhumane cycle of war that Winston Churchill once said in reality defined all of history.
But these peoples of Britain, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand simply forgot their God! They have forgotten the One who gave them the victory in their wars against the tyrant. Forgotten the God who gave them the most blessed lands on the face of the planet—if indeed they ever knew Him!
You can know that God of ancient Israel, the God whom the English-speaking nations praise in word but not in deed. That God can and will give you the victory, outright victory over all of the problems, in all of the challenges, trials and tests you face in your daily life. That’s the God who will have the ultimate victory over all contending powers to impose His own perfect form of government on this Earth very soon (Daniel 2:44).
That will, indeed, in Fukayama’s words, be “the ideal that will govern the material world in the long run” (see Isaiah 9:6-7).
Read Mystery of the Ages and discover that God now!