In his essay, The End of History, Fukuyama discusses the rise and fall of various ideologies throughout history, and the prevalence of western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.
Fukuyama suggests that history can be summarized by different ideologies. He points out the Karl Marx also sought out the ‘end of history’ when he proposed communism as the final and perfect form of government. Marx, according to Fukuyama, borrowed this idea of a beginning middle and end of history from Hegel. Fukuyama takes it one step further and looks at Kojeve’s interpretation of Hegel’s theories to gain a better understanding of ideology’s roll in history. According to Kojeve, Hegel believed that ideology is made up of not just political beliefs and policies, but religious, cultural and moral values as well. Throughout history, man’s quest has been a subconscious search for all of his needs to be satisfied and conflicts resolved. All of human’s behaviors in the material world are therefore a result of their consciousness. In Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, the economic theory that suggested that man is a rational profit-maximize is disproven. It was believed that high wages meant increased labor productivity, but in reality, a peasant would value leisure more than income, and therefore work less for the same amount. The choice of leisure demonstrates that man’s behaviors are not entirely determined by material forces, but are predominately determined by the forces of consciousness, which Fukuyama more broadly labels as ‘ideology.’ Having established ideology as the impetus of history, Fukuyama describes the evolutionary progression of history as the push for a perfect ideology. In his eyes, history will continue to progress until the ideology that satisfies man’s universal right to freedom, which trumps all other ideologies, is founded and adopted. In this case, the perfect ideology, according to Fukuyama, is liberal democracy.
To prove that a liberal democracy is the best form of government, Fukuyama looks at what has challenged liberal democracy as the perfect forms of government: fascism and communism. Fascism had many weaknesses, mainly because it encouraged a belligerent culture with strict government rule that did not favor economic prosperity and did not favor the freedoms and interests of the common man. But according to Fukuyama what really stopped Fascism from catching on was its defeat during World War II, demonstrating its lack of success as both an ideology and a form of government.
On the other hand, communism poses a far more serious threat to liberalism. Marx predicted that communism would be the final form of government since a liberal society would be unable to resolve the conflicts that existed between classes. Fukuyama notes that Kojeve believed that America represents the classless society envisioned by Marx. He continues on to makes the point that although there is still indeed a gap between the...