Fukuyama has some disagreement with Huntington’s later “The Clash Of Civilizations” argument as too narrow and confining, and I think in the long run, worries that it despite its prescience it could lead us into trouble:
“Sam, in my view, underrated the universalism of the appeal of living in modern, free societies with accountable governments. His argument rests heavily on the view that modernization and Westernization are two completely separate processes, something which I rather doubt.”
“The gloomy picture he paints of a world riven by cultural conflict is one favored by the Islamists and Russian nationalists, but is less helpful in explaining contemporary China or India, or indeed in explaining the motives of people in the Muslim world or Russia who are not Islamists or nationalists.“
Fukuyama argues that Hungtington came of age when modernism was dominant. He also seems to take issue with the epistemological foundations of this largely social-science driven and philosophical worldview that has drastically shaped the last century and a half:
“Modernization theory had its origins in the works of late nineteenth century European social theorists like Henry Maine, Émile Durkheim, Karl Marx, Ferdinand Tönnies, and Max Weber.”
By the same token, some of the American right’s response has been to look to such thinkers as Friedrich Hayek, Von Mises, Leo Strauss and perhaps Karl Popper. Here’s a quote from Popper that may be illuminating:
“…and if there could be such a thing as socialism combined with individual liberty, I would be a socialist still. For nothing could be better than living a modest, simple, and free life in an egalitarian society. It took some time before I recognized this as no more than a beautiful dream; that freedom is more important that equality; that the attempt to realize equality endangers freedom; and that, if freedom is lost, there will not even be equality among the unfree.”
We’re still importing a lot of our ideas from the failures and triumphs of Europe…and not just the Anglo tradition. Fukuyama thinks Huntington was quite at the center of those ideas, and an American vision.
See Also On This Site: From Bloggingheads: Eli Lake And Heather Hurlbert On Samuel Huntington…From The Atlantic: Samuel Huntington’s Death And Life’s Work
from The World Economic Forum’s photostream.