Tuesday, February 14, 2006

History Has Not Ended

I debated posting this article because I disagree with much of what Fukuyama has written in the past and some of what he wrote in this article. In particular, I think his call for spying on and deporting minorities is reprehensible. I also feel he, of course, leaves out any analysis of the failure of social democracy and capitalism when it comes to employment so we are left with an incomplete picture. This being said I still think his anaylsis is particularly insightful when he describes the lack of connection Islamic youth have with Islamic society and how this creates radicalism.

A side note: the film My Son the Fanatic deals with these issues extremely well. See the link in the right margin. One of Om Puri's great performances.

1 comment:

OscarTate said...

Basic agreement with you here, except that Fukiyama seems a bit confused. He can’t help but be confused since there is this conundrum of "multiculturalism" in a society that has substantial amounts of racism, a theoretical embrace of certain universal values, all overlayed with a thin residue of national identity which excludes Muslims.

The contradiction is revealed here:
“First, countries like Holland and Britain need to reverse the counterproductive multiculturalist policies that sheltered radicalism, and crack down on extremists. But second, they also need to reformulate their definitions of national identity to be more accepting of people from non-Western backgrounds. The first has already begun to happen. In recent months, both the Dutch and British have in fact come to an overdue recognition that the old version of multiculturalism they formerly practiced was dangerous and counterproductive. Liberal tolerance was interpreted as respect not for the rights of individuals, but of groups, some of whom were themselves intolerant (by, for example, dictating whom their daughters could befriend or marry).”

Setting aside what “crack down on extremists” might mean, this statement is quite vague, and borders on “The King is Dead, Long Live the King!” According to Fukiyama, these countries have “counterproductive multiculturalist policies” which they need to get rid of and replace with a reformulation of “their definitions of national identity to be more accepting . . .” – sounds like multiculturalism to me. And how can you have a new definition of national identity that is “more accepting of people [groups?] from non-Western backgrounds” without some respect for the rights of groups rather than just individuals, which Fukiyama suggests is the core of the problem? It’s a difficult problem that can’t be solved by glossing it over with vague statements that sneak in contradictions with the hope that no one will notice. This sounds to me a bit like the affirmative action debate in this country, with conservative fools suggesting that the only discrimination that the state should recognize is that against an individual, even though the only reason for the discrimination is that person’s membership in a group. This would seem to have ominous political and cultural implications as well for anyone interested in promoting solidarity.