Through the alertness of a friend and through his informative recent note to me, I soon discovered many more things about Francis Fukuyama’s quite unexpected latest book, which is entitled Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy (2014). According to the author himself, writing in his own blog on The American Interest website, it was scheduled to be published on 30 September 2014, which is now three months ago. And so it was—almost exactly 25 years after his “The End of History?” essay was published in the summer of 1989. But, from what I can discover from reading parts of Fukuyama’s own recent texts—to include his condensed essays explaining and promoting his book just before it finally came out—he has not moved much from his grim and demoralizing views suddenly expressed in the concluding passage of that celebrated, but equivocal, neo-Hegelian essay, “The End of History?” In 1989, Fukuyama finally, but regrettably, came to see that the actual fulfillment (even the very perfection) of a then already seemingly triumphant and globally spreading Liberal Democracy would itself inevitably and inescapably produce drabness and sadness and dullness and boredom and spiritual sloth. However, in 2014, only twenty-five years later, Fukuyama, while retaining his same ideology (or “normative standard”), now also sees that the ongoing implementation of indispensable Liberal Democracy itself—especially in America—has unmistakably resulted in a grave state of decay and political paralysis.
For example, in the September-October 2014 Issue of Foreign Affairs, Fukuyama wrote an essay entitled “The Sources of American Political Dysfunction,” which at the end of his final subsection (entitled “No Way Out”) concludes with the following uncheerful words:
The depressing bottom line is that given how self-reinforcing the country’s political malaise is, and how unlikely the prospects for constructive incremental reform are, the decay of American politics will probably continue until some external shock comes along to catalyze a true reform coalition and galvanize it into action. (my emphasis added)