How the West deluded itself with the 'end of history'

Fukuyama, in 1992, wrote that Western liberalism had triumphed and helped disarm the secular West mentally. But he was wrong.

Giulio Meotti

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Ten years ago, after the massacre at Virginia Tech, African-American libertarian intellectual Thomas Sowell, an economist at UCLA and Stanford, wrote an article in which he explained that mass shootings in America might be the consequence of the Sixties. The first of these massacres took place in 1966, in Austin, Texas, where sixteen people lost their lives when Joseph Whitman, stationed on the university tower, started shooting.  

James Alan Fox, author of “The Will to Kill”, blamed the eclipse of the traditional community, too many divorces and the rapid church decline as the cause of the insidious violence in America. Other scholars pointed at the “fatherless America”, the illegitimacy and the destruction of traditional family.

Public opinion has just been shocked by the latest gun violence in Las Vegas, where Stephen Paddock killed 59 people. The point is not “gun control”, as the Second Amendment's supporters repeat after every tragedy. The people who murder are not using guns acquired legally. Evil men will always find the way to butcher innocent people.

The old ideological divisions of the Cold War were replaced not by universal liberal harmony, but by even older religious divisions.
The point instead is the cultural disarmament of the West.

The decline of religion, its elimination, is the keystone. The secularist mentality demoralized the world and increased the vulnerability of potential victims by prefiguring a world without war, a world without violence, a world without religion. In the West we are delighted to have abolished war and violence in our environs and we deluded ourselves into thinking we live in a very secure society. And this has generated complacency in Western culture.

We were disciples of Francis Fukuyama's “end of history” theory. In the early 1990s, Western opinion makers vied with each other in optimism and triumphalism. Fukuyama had declared, in 1992, the universal triumph of Western liberalism, while Samuel Huntington began to formulate a more obscure and pessimistic view. He argued that the old ideological divisions of the Cold War would be replaced not by universal liberal harmony, but by even older religious divisions.

Fukuyama was wrong and Huntington right. A few years later, on a Bosnian hill, the Dutch UN troops stood silent and passive while the Serbian forces butchered 8,000 people in Srebrenica.

The weekly Islamist butchering in Europe's cities and the mass shootings in the US remind us that evil exists, that the world is a broken place and that the good men have to be ready to fight and defeat the evil ones.