Written by Frank Li
This post was triggered by a recent article by Francis Fukuyama: At the ‘End of History’ Still Stands Democracy (Wall Street Journal, June 7-8, 2014).
Mr. Fukuyama is best known for his 1989 article “The End of History?” In that article, Mr. Fukuyama argued that:
The triumph of the West, of the Western idea, is evident first of all in the total exhaustion of viable systematic alternatives to Western liberalism.
Too short-sighted! Mr. Fukuyama did not seem to understand the big, complex, plural nature of the human world. For more, read: Three New Kingdoms.
In his recent article, Mr. Fukuyama argued that “Twenty-five years after Tiananmen Square and the fall of the Berlin Wall, liberal democracy still has no real rivals on the world stage.” Although he did state “The only system out there that would appear to be at all competitive with liberal democracy is the so-called ‘China model‘,” he followed with a list of challenges China faces, with the conclusion that “Yet if asked to bet whether, 50 years from now, the U.S. and Europe would look more like China politically or vice versa, I would pick the latter without hesitation.”
Too close-minded! Mr. Fukuyama appears to be so obsessed with democracy that he has simply failed to be open-minded about the new “China model”! For more, read: Towards An Ideal Form of Government.
Overall, Mr. Fukuyama appears to have three major problems:
He treats [liberal] democracy as if it were a new social experiment. Democracy (i.e. one person, one vote) has been a proven failure throughout human history, without a single example of lasting success! It was largely for this fact that our founding fathers built America as a republic, specifically precluding democracy. For more, read: We, the Intelligent People of the United States …
He treats capitalism and democracy as an inseparable combination. The simple truth is that capitalism and democracy are completely distinct and unrelated! For example, it was the Industrial Revolution (i.e. capitalism) that decisively propelled the West ahead of China in the 19th century, and it is capitalism that has been propelling China back to the top by 2030, if not sooner. Democracy, on the other hand, is merely an option. China is achieving prosperity without democracy, while the West is being destroyed by democracy in the same way as democracy destroyed ancient Rome some 2,000 years ago! For more, read: The Coming Demise of America …
He has an extremely limited view of a brand new form of government like China’s, while hopelessly indulging in a millennium-old dogma like democracy.
Most troublesomely, Mr. Fukuyama appears to be locked in his past, twisting the current affairs to fit back into his “short-sighted” view 25 years ago. Because of that, he is still very bullish on the West, despite the fact that the West has almost gone from heaven to hell over the past 25 years, but very bearish on China, in spite of China’s economic miracle.
Twenty-five years are a long time for a human being. Unfortunately, Mr. Fukuyama seems to be unchanged over the past 25 years. But I did! For example, twenty-five years ago, I was full of sympathy to the students protesting at Tiananmen Square. However, recently I have concluded that it was a good thing, overall for China, to put-down the student-led pro-democracy demonstration in 1989. In other words, I have grown up, older and wiser! For more, read: Tiananmen Square Protest and Put-Down, 25 Years Later.
Twenty-five years are an instant in human history. Although the “China model” has been in existence for a little more than three decades, it has taken China hundreds of years to reach this model! So do not underestimate it! Instead, keep an open-mind and appreciate its significance and implication with a profound understanding of Chinese history as well as human history! For more, read: America: What is China, Anyway?
My view is opposite to Mr. Fukuyama’s. Here is my prediction of the future:
Unless America changes, as I have previously suggested, American democracy will not out-last Soviet communism in longevity. For more, read: Longevity: American Democracy vs. Soviet Communism.
Despite all the challenges, China will become the largest economy on earth by 2030, if not sooner, thus ending America’s leadership not only economically, but also politically. Meanwhile, China will become more and more democratic, without becoming a democracy per se (i.e. one person, one vote), ever!
The world will continue to exist with multiple forms of government, and will continue to be led by several countries. No country or ideology will dominate for very long, and any attempt to do so will fail. For more, read: Three New Kingdoms.
Finally, let be emphasize one point: China is trying to expand its influence and prosperity via trade, while the U.S. is doing it via ideology (i.e. democracy), sometimes by force. Which one is more human and which one will ultimately prevail?