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March 22, 2007

History's against whom? Fukuyama on Chavez, or why should we trust a man who's so "smart," yet so wrong (because he has

By Constance Lavender

An early neoconservative ideological engineer takes aim at Chavez, and in doing so gives us pause to wonder why this analysis is any better than other past half-baked notions contrived by conservatives.

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History's against whom? Fukuyama on Chavez, or why should we trust a man who's so "smart," yet so wrong (because he has a Ph.D. from Harvard?)
 
Francis Fukuyama is at it again. It pays though, to have a "golden" parachute that is the "Harvard degree" regardless of how meaningful or meaningless the speaker may be. One wonders whether membership among the ranks of elite Harvard graduates isn't based more on the ability to piece together creative post-secondary funding than it is on actual merit, or the rightness or wrongness of actual ideas.
 
I, like probably millions of others around our little globe, first became acquainted with Fukuyama in the shadow of the Soviet Union's fall in the late 1980s and early 1990s as America's arch-enemy---the U.S.S.R.---literally crumbled around us leaving us to wonder about our future and the USA's place in a post-cold war world. So much of post-modern national collective identity was based on the Russian communists presence in the American psyche, it tended to belie something about identity formation: in many cases identity is more about who we are not (the Other), than about who we are.
 
In his book, The End of History and the Last Man (1992) Fukuyama argued that modern liberal democracy (i.e. as, it turns out, what Fukuyama apparently meant was "liberal democracy" as alleged in these United States) had won out in the universal battle of ideological wills over the Soviet Union's legacy of communism in the line of Lennin-Stalin-Kruschev-Brezhnev.
 
[It probably is wise to note here that Fukuyama studied political economy as an undergraduate under the tutelage, of all persons, the classical scholar, Allan Bloom who's influential The Closing of the American Mind (1987) caused quite the stir as well.]
 
As it turns out Fukuyama was wrong. As the professor has belatedly and grudgingly acknowledged, but only after signing a letter urging two American presidents to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Fortunately, President Clinton had the good sense not to listen.
 
In his latest intellectual misadventure without apparent consequences, the Harvard Ph.D.-laden professor in the graduate School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore is attacking Hugo Chavez. In an article published in August of 2006, Fukuyama has this to say about himself and Hugo Chavez:
 
"Early on in Hugo Chávez's political career, the Venezuelan president attacked my notion that liberal democracy together with a market economy represents the ultimate evolutionary direction for modern societies -- the "end of history." When asked what lay beyond the end of history, he offered a one-word reply: 'Chavismo.' " The Washington Post, The End of Chávez: History's Against Him (Francis Fukuyama) Sunday, August 6, 2006 at B01.
 
Well professor, I'm not sure who's against who here, but I can undoubtedly say that at least Chavez is more imaginative. Then again, maybe not. Nevertheless it is difficult to understand why one ought to believe someone, like Fukuyama, who has been so wrong for so long. Because he has a doctorate from Harvard and studied under Allan Bloom?
 
In his article Fukuyama, in a kind of flag-waving, yellow-ribbon-wearing way, denounces Chavez and sings the praises of liberal democracy and free market principles. His analysis, however, is weak and lacks thoroughness. While comparing the existing Venezuela of Chavez to the dead Soviet empire, Mr. Fukuyama conveniently fails to introduce the very much alive communist China into the discussion. How's that for the end of history? Indeed.
 
The end of history, Mr. Fukuyama only comes when, to paraphrase George Santayana, we forget our history. In forgetting our history, we risk not only our future, but our country as well.
 
Instead of bewailing Hugo Chavez, perhaps you would be better advised to focus your attacks on an American school system that can produce students who know nothing of Germanic values and culture. Speaking of closed minds, perhaps you can explain also why America in the aftermath of two world wars has so denounced and crushed German vitalism that students today know little to nothing of the Teutonic heritage that was central to American culture up to 1914. Students who grasp nothing of the German diaspora and the intellectual violence directed at the German-American contribution to American life and culture.
 
How long after the defeat of Hitler and his misguided band of Nazis must Germany's rich contributions to global culture and learning be ignored?
 
Go back to your studies Mr. Fukuyama, understanding that it's never too late to learn. Even for Harvard Ph.D.s.



Submitters Website: http://www.blogger.com/profile/4236373

Submitters Bio:

Constance Lavender is an HIV-Positive pseudonymous freelance e-journalist from a little isle off the coast of Jersey; New Jersey, that is...

In the Best spirit of Silence Dogood and Benj. Franklin, Ms. Lavender believes that a free country is premised on a free press.

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