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Interview by Michael Cromartie
Recovering Moral Order
Francis Fukuyama, Hirst Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University and former deputy director of the State Department's policy planning staff, is best known as the author of "The End of History?," an article published in 1989 in The National Interest and, significantly expanded, as The End of History and the Last Man (1992), one of the most influential books of the decade. Fukuyama thereby joined that select group who, willy-nilly, create the defining slogans of their time. "The End of History" and variants thereon turned up everywhere in the nineties, in scholarly symposia and fashion magazines, in footnotes and punning titles. Some of the references were village-idiot derisive, along the lines of "Humph! Doesn't look to me like the end of history!" Most people who referred to the book seemed not to have read it. But those who did read it were not agreed on where to place the author. Fukuyama argued for a Hegelian view of history, according to which liberal democracy and capitalism are the logical culmination of a long evolutionary process. Hence he was claimed by many conservative talking heads as one of their own (and vilified as such by leftish critics). Other readers, including many with religious commitments, saw in Fukuyama's argument—subtle, at times convoluted, and heavily influenced by Nietzsche, Leo Strauss, and the French Hegelian Alexandre Kojeve— a spirit deeply alien to a Christian understanding of history and the human person.
Fukuyama's new book, just published by the Free Press, is The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order. Michael Cromartie met with him at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, at the end of April.
What is the "Great Disruption" in the title of your new book? The Great Disruption is a disruption of social norms and values that has taken place all across the developed world, beginning in the late sixties and continuing through the midnineties. It is reflected by cultural ...