The anatomy of democracy

After the end of the story. Meet with Francis Fukuyama
Forfatter: Mathilde Fasting
Forlag: Dreyers Forlag (Norge)
Fukuyama / Francis Fukuyama is one of the world's foremost democracy theorists, and this book gives an updated introduction to his overall authorship.


The political scientist Francis Fukuyama became world famous with the debut book The End of History and the Last Male (1992). The title was read literally and misunderstood by many. Fukuyama did not believe that history was over in a postmodernist sense, but that the ideological struggle was over: The Future belonged to the liberal democracy. Fukuyama has published a dozen books today, and the social economist and the idea historian Mathilde fasting in this book gives an introduction to the authorship mainly through interviews she herself and others have done with Fukuyama.

Fukuyama operates with three criteria for why democracies are an ideal to strive for: First, it is not possible to think of a system that is fundamentally different from democracy and which at the same time provides a better political organization. Second, there are no contradictions that the democratic system cannot resolve. Third, democracy satisfies and confirms human needs better than other systems.

Social consensus

Central to a modern democracy is a well-developed use of science and technology that forms the basis for industry and economic development, and the recognition of the individual. Education is not only important in terms of knowledge, but also gives the individual dignity. In a well-functioning society, social consensus is underlying. This means that there is an unwritten confidence in how to deal with disagreements and that the solutions to these are respected. This makes interaction between citizens and bureaucracy more smooth, and "reduces transaction costs", to say the same with Fukuyama. Such a moral foundation will not be based on economic rationality, but on tradition and practice. Consequently, immigration will always be a challenge for well-functioning states.

Ill .: FadiToon, See

Loss of status causes populism

A problem with political rhetoric in recent years is populism. It is common to assume that support for populist movements comes from resource-poor and those with low social status. Fukuyama believes it is rather those who have experienced loss of status, who end up populist movements. People who are constantly told that they belong to a privileged group, but who do not experience their situation themselves.

Another problem is identity politics which the left side launched with the intention that no one should be supported. The left side preferred minorities over marginalized groups in their own country, and therefore lost contact with these voters. Identity policy has now been kidnapped by the right wing in several countries, which, based on just identity policy, are launching new, exclusive definitions of who the "people" are.

Fukuyama believes political Islam is more about identity politics than about religious revival. It gives recognition to those who joined. While the modernization of the West went parallel with the emergence of nationalism, Fukuyama believes we see the contours of a modernization in the Middle East followed by a religious-political settlement, not nationalism.

Equality is central, and recognition should be given to individuals,
not groups.

Social media is the perfect platform for identity politics. Here anyone can find the truths and identities they want, without having to deal with any mainstream discourse. Fukuyama doesn't have much good to say about the postmodernists he studied for a short time, but this situation is exactly what Lyotard described as typical after the fall of metaphorical narratives: a world broken up into language games and subcultures.

Democracy requires boundaries

A state must be able to control immigration, says Fukuyama. Democracy requires boundaries. Who are the "people"? If it is opened up to a constant inflow from the outside, then by definition there is no democracy. Each state must begin to take care of its own population, unless its affiliation will crumble from within.

Fukuyama further believes that in the long run, poor integration of Muslims will pose a greater threat than Muslim terror. He also talks not only about integration, but about assimilation: Immigrants must learn the language of their new homeland; It is a basic prerequisite for participating in life there in every way.

Religious schools hinder integration, and to the extent that they exist, Fukuyama believes that they must be prepared to operate secularly in no time. Multiculturalism will be one of the greatest threats to well-functioning modern democracies: it allows the social consensus to rise.

Fukuyama believes political Islam is more about identity politics than about religious revival.

Fukuyama is fundamentally critical of the type of group thinking on which identity politics is based. Rights should not be granted to groups. Equal treatment is central, and recognition should be given to individuals, not groups.

Mathilde Fasting plays an exemplary clear language and introduces the central themes of Fukuyama's writing as this has developed. Here the readers get a good introduction to a gradually massive text corpus. However, a problem emerges repeatedly in the text: Who's talking – is it Fasting or is it Fukuyama? The transitions are unclear in several places, which the publisher should have cleaned up.

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