False­hoods of Fran­cis Fukuyama

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Big Read -

A PER­PLEXED Fran­cis Yoshi­hiro Fukuyama re­cently wrote to alert the think­ing world to “the emer­gence of a post-fact world” where poor qual­ity in­for­ma­tion and lies have crowded out the truth in the globe.

To Fukuyama, the world­wide dream that the in­for­ma­tion so­ci­ety brought to be­ing through the in­ter­net has fast turned into a hor­ren­dous night­mare from which the world must ur­gently wake up. That coun­tries like China and Rus­sia have “man­aged to ma­nip­u­late the World Wide Web and in­sert their agen­das in the world knowl­edge land­scape” is to Fran­cis Fukuyama a mon­u­men­tal dis­as­ter.

Not only that but the vul­gar­ity of the way in which Don­ald Trump, the new Amer­i­can Pres­i­dent, lies and be­lieves his own lies sym­bol­ise a de­cline in the im­age and idea of Amer­ica in the world. It is with re­mark­able philis­tin­ism and po­lit­i­cal Catholi­cism that Fukuyama loudly be­moans how the values of free­dom of in­for­ma­tion have been used and abused by au­thor­i­tar­ian states and other low or­gan­i­sa­tions to cir­cu­late their pro­pa­ganda, make and man­age their images in the un­sus­pect­ing world. The pure, pris­tine and au­then­tic idea of Amer­ica and the West at large has re­gret­tably been usurped and cor­rupted by pre­tenders and up­starts who are de­ter­mined to dis­rupt the Amer­i­can mas­ter-nar­ra­tive with myths of their own, myths of “du­bi­ous qual­ity and prove­nance.” Much dif­fer­ent from these pre­tenders and up­starts Amer­ica has “im­par­tial in­sti­tu­tions tasked with pro­duc­ing fac­tual in­for­ma­tion that we trust.” The whole world must ur­gently wake up from slum­ber be­cause “bad in­for­ma­tion” is all over the place be­ing used by neg­a­tive el­e­ments in the world to wage war against west­ern and Amer­i­can values of truth, jus­tice and democ­racy. If any­thing, Fran­cis Fukuyama writes in the tone of an Old Tes­ta­ment prophet of doom de­cry­ing the de­cay of the world and need for an apoc­a­lypse. Be­cause he writes from the po­lit­i­cal power, the eco­nomic pros­per­ity and epis­temic priv­i­lege of Amer­ica and the West, Fran­cis Fukuyama has been li­onised into an in­tel­lec­tual celebrity. There is no univer­sity, no his­tory and po­lit­i­cal stud­ies depart­ment where Fukuyama is not fetishised and does not oc­cupy pride of place in the read­ing list.

In 1992, the Hegelian Pro­fes­sor of Po­lit­i­cal Sci­ence and Po­lit­i­cal Econ­omy, writ­ing from the School of Ad­vanced In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies at John Hop­kins Univer­sity pre­dicted “the end of his­tory” and the ar­rival of “the last man.” Fa­mously, Fukuyama told the world that the spread of lib­eral democ­racy world­wide and the nat­u­ral­i­sa­tion of cap­i­tal­ism were bring­ing west­ern po­lit­i­cal and cul­tural values to un­con­tested world­wide hege­mony. Lib­eral cap­i­tal­ism, in the prophecy of Fukuyama, had be­come the high­est and the finest form of world hu­man gov­er­nance and cul­ture, there was no need to bother search­ing any fur­ther for so­lu­tions to the world’s prob­lems, Amer­ica and the West had by the end of the Cold War an­swered all the weighty ques­tions of the world, a global par­adise was in the off­ing.

There was no more need for ide­o­log­i­cal and cul­tural con­flict in the world, na­tional and cul­tural pas­sions that had pre­vi­ously set na­tions upon other na­tions and sparked world wars were now a prim­i­tive thing of the past. Nine years af­ter Fukuyama’s fa­mous the­sis, the events of 9/11 in the United States of Amer­ica proved to be, in the words of Ed­ward Said, “the end of Fukuyama” as a cred­i­ble public in­tel­lec­tual. A kind of ri­val of Fukuyama, Bernard Lewis was proven right that there is “Mus­lim rage” in the world that seeks re­venge for the wrongs of the West un­der the sun. Na­tional pas­sions, group pol­i­tics and iden­tity ide­olo­gies were not a thing of the past but a sign of times to come. The con­ti­nu­ity of ter­ror and the war against it have to­tally buried Fukuyama and grew beau­ti­ful flow­ers on his grave. As wrong as Fukuyama was that his­tory had come to an end then, he is wrong now that the think­ing world has no mem­ory and can­not re­call his fa­mous false­hood and doomed po­lit­i­cal prophecy. Af­ter such a fa­mous ca­reer in po­lit­i­cal false prophecy, Fukuyama be­lieves in mir­a­cles if he thinks any se­ri­ous thinker will buy into the myth of a “post-fact world” even if it is prop­a­gated from the pres­ti­gious Stan­ford Univer­sity.

Who fun­da­men­tally is Fran­cis Fukuyama? Fukuyama is a de­scen­dant of a Ja­panese busi­ness­man who has suc­cess­fully nat­u­ralised him­self into an Amer­i­can. That bi­o­graph­i­cal de­tail may partly il­lu­mi­nate the biopol­i­tics, geopol­i­tics and egopol­i­tics that shape the men­tal uni­verse of Fran­cis Fukuyama, a true dis­ci­ple of rad­i­cal Amer­i­can­ism. Amer­i­can­ism ex­er­cises in Fukuyama a cer­tain blind­ing jin­go­ism that deaf­ens the ear and shuts the mind. He now dis­tances him­self from the move­ment but all se­ri­ous re­searchers know that Fukuyama was part of the “Neo-con­ser­va­tive Move­ment” of schol­ars that sup­ported the invasion, un­der false pre­tences, of Iraqi by Amer­ica in 2003. The Neo­cons are those schol­ars that un­abashedly priv­i­lege Amer­i­can na­tional in­ter­ests ahead of any­thing else in world af­fairs. Un­der the du­bi­ous re­search in­ter­est in “strate­gic and se­cu­rity is­sues” Fran­cis Fukuyama and oth­ers have preached that any­thing Amer­i­can is good for the world and hu­man­ity.

As a scholar, Fukuyama has done fa­mously but poorly. This par­tic­u­lar Pro­fes­sor sim­ply does not want to learn from his­tory. The the­sis of the end of his­tory that made and un­made his name is a tired ar­gu­ment that has flour­ished and floun­dered over the many decades. In 1806 Wil­helm Ge­org Hegel saw an “end of his­tory” in the way Napoleon de­feated the Prus­sian Monar­chy at the fa­mous Bat­tle of Jena. But his­tory re­ally did not end and more wars were yet to be fought and are still go­ing to be fought. Alexan­dre Ko­jeve also thought er­ro­neously that the French Rev­o­lu­tion would end his­tory and unite the world into one par­adise. Rather un­wisely, in 1992, Fukuyama thought he could dust up the tired ar­gu­ment and give it new world wide im­por­tance. If any­thing, Fukuyama is a bril­liant phrase­mon­ger and re­ally not an as­tute ob­server of his­tory and the world. He pos­sesses a par­adisal mind­set that keeps dream­ing of heaven in the midst of the chaos Amer­ica causes in the world. Birth of the Fact-World and begin­ning of His­tory Con­trary to the fal­lacy that Fran­cis Fukuyama so vig­or­ously seeks to in­stall as new wis­dom, the world that emerges with the inau­gu­ra­tion of Don­ald Trump is a fact-world, the real world. The vul­gar­ity, ha­tred and big­otry that Trump has given re­spectabil­ity is ex­actly what Amer­ica and the larger West have al­ways rep­re­sented but masked un­der a ve­neer of fidelity to truth, peace and jus­tice in the world. Don­ald Trump rep­re­sents hate un­dec­o­rated and un­per­fumed, as it is. For cen­turies, the West has used and man­aged dif­fer­ences and dif­fer­ence in the world, from race, age, gen­der, sex­u­al­ity, abil­ity of body, iden­tity, cul­ture and re­li­gion for pur­poses of oth­er­ing and in­fe­ri­or­is­ing non-west­ern peo­ples. Promi­nently, Ed­ward Said called it “ori­en­tal­ism” while Valentin Mudimbe has force­fully de­scribed it as the hate­ful “in­ven­tion of Africa” by the colonis­ers. What Said and Mudimbe have de­scribed in dif­fer­ent words from dif­fer­ent places, Asia and Africa, is one thing, ha­tred of the other and the rest by the Western­ers.

Through uses of the global me­dia in shape of the news chan­nels and the cul­tural in­dus­try of movies and mu­sic, the idea of the West as the world has been es­tab­lished into the com­mon sense of the world. Through the west­ern­ised and colo­nial model of the univer­sity in the Global South, Euro­cen­tri­cism and west­ern cul­tural and spir­i­tual sen­si­bil­ity have been in­stalled into uni­ver­sal wis­dom. The mo­bil­i­sa­tion of the hearts and minds of all peo­ples of the world to­wards the re­li­gion of the wor­ship of things west­ern was ably de­scribed by Wal­ter Lipp­mann as early as 1922 as “the man­u­fac­ture of con­sent” by the po­lit­i­cal ma­nip­u­la­tion of public taste and opin­ion. Bril­liantly, as late as 1988, Noam Chom­sky and Ed­ward Her­man mag­ni­fied and am­pli­fied the idea of global man­u­fac­ture of po­lit­i­cal con­sent by demon­strat­ing how the global west­ern me­dia and cul­tural in­dus­try seeks to make truths out of west­ern po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic fal­la­cies. What Fran­cis Fukuyama de­cries as the power of “bad in­for­ma­tion” that is crowd­ing out good in­for­ma­tion is an in­for­ma­tion rev­o­lu­tion where world­wide thinkers are begin­ning to call the bluff of Amer­i­can and Euro­pean pro­pa­ganda. The emer­gence of such a bigot, a hater like Don­ald Trump as pres­i­dent of the USA em­bar­rasses Neo­cons like Fran­cis Fukuyama be­cause it is an ap­pear­ance of that which was al­ways true but had to be masked and con­cealed, cov­ered be­hind rhetorics and pre­tences. The hap­pen­ing of the Trump 9/11 will hope­fully jolt the world to the emer­gency and the ur­gency of the need to un­der­stand and en­gage with the prob­lem of dif­fer­ence and hate in the planet. Not only the way man has hated man, but also how man and woman have treated na­ture and the en­vi­ron­ment with con­tempt and greed, lead­ing to the present eco­log­i­cal cri­sis that threat­ens all life in the planet. The need for the lib­er­a­tion of man, na­ture and all things from the dom­i­nance of hate should be the new game in town. When re­searchers and other schol­ars at the Wits Cen­tre for Di­ver­sity Stud­ies, as they re­cently did, talk about the im­por­tance of study­ing and crit­i­cally en­gag­ing with power, priv­i­lege and the uses of dif­fer­ence in nat­u­rails­ing hate and ha­tred in the world, they talk of a theme that should oc­cupy gov­ern­ments, or­gan­i­sa­tions and so­ci­eties as the world gets used to a Trump-led world sys­tem and po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic world or­der. The globe is tit­ter­ing to­wards a fierce crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion of dif­fer­ence and nat­u­ral­i­sa­tion of hat­ing and hurt­ing in the name of democ­racy, law, or­der, peace and other goods. We have come to a mo­ment un­der the sun where peace has be­come, it­self, a threat to plan­e­tary se­cu­rity be­cause it cov­ers up rather than re­veals the con­cealed fact that the world is in a state of a hate­ful war.

Cetshwayo Zind­abazezwe Mab­hena writes from Pre­to­ria: de­colo­nial­[email protected]

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.