Subject: Re: Giving Richard His Due
From: Chris Devers <cdevers@tsunami.cis.usouthal.edu>
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2002 08:38:46 -0600 (CST)

On Fri, 15 Feb 2002, Tony Stanco wrote:

> See The End of History? The National Interest, Summer 1989 Francis Fukuyama
> [http://www.wku.edu/~sullib/history.htm] and also his book of the same name
> (which makes the case even stronger a couple of years later):
> 
> +What we may be witnessing in 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.

Can't you see that that's just a tad naive? Don't you see any problems
with almost any argument that begins with "The End Of...", when referring
to processes that have beeen underway for centuries or longer? 

It seems to me that, just 100 years ago, people in Europe were saying:

 * "our scientists are within reach of the true, fundamental conclusions
    to their studies, and our understanding of the physical world around
    us is nearly complete; from here on we will only see refinement of 
    this worldview, and no more fundamental breakthroughs"
 * "we are entering a period of perpetual peace & prosperity, with 
    our mores & norms spreading around the world, and with our
    nations getting along better than ever before"

And yet within a handful of years, Einstein published his papers on the
theory of relativity, shattering the "end of science" assumptions, and a
handful of years later World War I was underway, ending the "end of
politics" assumptions. 

It was a plateau then, and it's a plateau now. Seriously arguing that
something as big as "history" could just *end* because some people knocked
down a wall in Germany is just silly.



--
Chris Devers

"Okay, Gene... so, -1 x -1 should equal what?" "A South American!"    
[....] "no human can understand the Timecube" and Gene responded
 without missing a beat "Yeah.  I'm not human."