Liberal Democracy Who Are/Were Its Competitors This Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

liberal democracy? Who are/Were its competitors?

This article by Francis Fukuyama was written 15 years ago, in 1989, so when reviewing his points, it is important to keep in mind that the views he makes are dated. Though his views are taken 15 years ago, that should not make them obsolete, it is just important to keep the perspective of when he offered this paper.

Liberal democracy is, from reading Fukuyama's article, the democratic force that defeated fascism (Hitler) and totalitarian fanaticism (Japan) in WWII. Since there are no "viable systematic alternatives to Western liberalism," the author states, then liberal democracy must be the best system (although that ignores the huge power wielded by the Chinese form of communism). Liberalism generally is defined as a progressive form of politics, where minorities and women should be given equal rights with men, and where voters decide whom their leaders will be - and don't have big government pushed on them from uncaring bureaucrats who were not elected.

Why the state that has emerged can be described as liberal, Fukuyama writes that it is liberal because it "recognizes and protects through a system of law man's universal right to freedom" and it is democratic because "it exists only with the consent of the governed." The two enemies of liberalism, Fukuyama writes, are "fascism" and "communism."

Fukuyama writes that the twentieth century began "full of self-confidence in the ultimate triumph of Western liberal democracy" but at the end of the 1980s, he continues, seemed to be drawing to a close with an "unabashed victory of economic and political liberalism."

Given that the present U.S. Congress is controlled by Republicans - i.e., conservatives of various degrees - and the executive branch is under the control of conservatives, Fukuyama's statement that there has been an "unabashed victory of economic and political liberalism" certainly does not pertain to America. Conservatism, not liberalism, has dominated American politics, particularly since the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

By the way, Fukuyama becomes something of a back door prophet when he writes that unless a "new Ayatollah proclaimed the millennium from a desolate Middle Eastern capital," media pundits would "scramble to announce the rebirth of a new era of conflict." Well, we now see that "new Ayatollah" is instead bin Laden, and his al Quida terrorist organization - and for sure, the media and other commentators have been talking about a new era of conflict since the attacks on New York and Washington by bin Laden.)

But when Fukuyama writes in his piece that the "end of history as such" is marked by the "universalization of Western liberal democracy" and is now sealed as "the final form of human government," he probably was greatly influenced by the advent of Gorbachev. He probably believed, as many did back then, that through Gorbachev's leading the Soviet Union out of communism and dictatorship, and into a form of democracy, then that proved that communism would not work, and would be replaced in all remaining countries by some form of democracy. "There are powerful ideas for believing that it is the ideal that will govern the material world in the long run," he writes, and then he gives "theoretical reasons" why this change will take place.

One of those reasons this change in ideals will take place - based on the teachings of Marx, Hegel, and Alexandre Kojeve - is that the basic principles of the liberal democratic state cannot be improved upon. Fukuyama writes…

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