In 1989, the political scientist Francis Fukuyama famously declared the end of history. As the end of the Cold War approached, the liberal international order appeared to have won the debate about how societies should be governed. In Fukuyama’s words: “What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.”
Today, just two decades later, commentators are tripping over each other to proclaim the collapse of the liberal world order in the wake of the British vote to withdraw from the European Union. To many it appears we have now reached the end of the end of history, implying we are headed toward something far worse.
Recent developments, however, though certainly sobering, do not represent either the collapse of the liberal world order or a harbinger of worse things to come. The doom and gloom crowd makes three mistakes in their assessment.
Read the post at The Federalist here.