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Huntington vs. Fukuyama: The Clash of Civilizations and the End of History

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Catherine Patterson

on 29 January 2013

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Transcript of Huntington vs. Fukuyama: The Clash of Civilizations and the End of History

Samuel P. Huntington The Clash of Civilizations Samuel Huntington was an influential political scientist. He came up with the idea of the "Clash of Civilizations", an idea about what would happen to the world after the Cold War ended. Latin-American (African) Orthodox Huntington's proposal was that the individual civilizations in the world would take on a more firm identity as civilizations, and that they would begin to clash with each other, from verbal disagreement to physical violence. Was Huntington right? At least partially. This seems to be coming to pass right now. Francis Fukuyama The End of History Francis Fukuyama is another political scientist. He was actually a student of Huntington's, but he developed a theory quite separate from his teacher's, suggesting instead that all countries will gradually evolve towards Liberal Democracy. He called his theory "The End of History." He derived his theory from Hegel's idea of the Dialectic. Fukuyama noticed that all these countercultures to rise up against Liberal Democracy had been defeated, rather than merging. This led him to believe that Liberal Democracy was the final end of the dialectic. Was Fukuyama right? Well... partially, yes. Enough countries are moving towards liberal democracy today to give noticeable credit to his theory. Huntington vs. Fukuyama: Who is Right? The Clash of Political Scientists Huntington and Fukuyama were each convinced that they were right and the other was wrong. However, the world seldom goes the same way we anticipate it will go. It seems to me that Huntington's predictions are coming true. I can't say how much emphasis the world has put on cultural rather than national identity in the past, but I can say that that seems to be a visible theme. Clashing cultures is also visible, especially in hot spots like around Israel, and in the South China Sea. It also seems to me that Fukuyama's predictions are coming true. I don't believe that the world will ever totally switch over to liberal democracy; it just doesn't seem likely that all opposition will go away. But a gravitation towards liberal democracy is definitely visible in many areas of the world. New revolutions happen almost every time you turn around, and the people have one objective: freedom. Is it surprising? So, according to my opinion, Huntington and Fukuyama were both partially right. Years in the future, people may look back on this view and laugh at it, too, because "history is baroque" and can and will take a totally unexpected course; but one can always give a best guess, and may even end up being partially right. (:
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