Fonte on Fukuyama

If a man stops believing in God, the saying goes, he’ll believe in anything. And what if a neocon stops believing in neoconservatism? Well, in the celebrated case of neocon apostate Francis Fukuyama, he’ll believe in unaccountable transnational government. Here is an excerpt from John Fonte’s review of Fukuyama’s new book, America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy, appearing in the April 24, 2006 issue of National Review:

Although almost all eyes are focused on Fukuyama’s break with the Bush administration and neoconservative thinking, the truly revolutionary part of the book is his embrace, however hesitantly, of an extra-constitutional transnationalism. To be sure, all of this is done with often contradictory “on the one hand, on the other hand” qualifiers, and further obfuscated with the language of social science.

Fukuyama calls for an “agenda of multiple-multilaterialisms.” He tells us that, as “realistic Wilsonians, … we do not want to replace national sovereignty with unaccountable international organizations” like the U.N. “On the other hand, we do not now have an adequate set of horizontal mechanisms of accountability between the vertical stovepipes we label states.”

“Horizontal accountability” would presumably mean some transnational mechanism that would make, for example, the American nation-state and the Canadian or French nation-state, democratically accountable to each other. “Horizontal accountability” between states is needed, Fukuyama says, first because it would facilitate globalization, and second because “few [nations] trust the United States” to be “sufficiently benevolent” without “the subjection of American power to more formal constraints.”

If Fukuyama were merely saying that Americans should—as a matter of prudential statesmanship—attempt to secure the support of major democratic allies before acting in important international crises, that would be fine. But he is hinting at something else: He is suggesting that new transnational organizations not accountable to American democratic institutions should make decisions concerning American foreign policy. How else to explain the following: “Although international cooperation will have to be based on sovereign states for the foreseeable future, shared ideas of legitimacy and human rights will weaken objections that the United States should not be accountable to regimes that are not themselves accountable.”

Why would Americans want to be accountable to the unaccountable? Because, Fukuyama says, Americans believe that if “unchecked power is corrupting in a domestic context,” the same holds true internationally. But, of course, the “checks and balances” of the U.S. Constitution already apply to both domestic and foreign affairs and are within the context of our accountable democratic system. What Fukuyama is suggesting is extra-constitutional—some new transnational mechanism of “checks and balances” outside of American constitutional democracy and genuine democratic accountability. Francis Fukuyama, one of our leading democratic theorists, may want to reconsider this flirtation with post-democratic thinking.

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Reader N. writes:

I have a copy of “The End of History” as published in National Interest around here somewhere, whenever I run across it I sit down and reread the article. It never fails to bemuse me how someone so seemingly intelligent could write such bilge. The latest book, however, shows that Fukuyama wrote that nonsense because he had a transcendental belief in “liberal democracy” as the cure for all human ills of governance; a Utopian notion if there ever was one, because mere observaton of the world tells me that while a huge number of humans want the material benefits of Western style democratic government, a whole lot of them are not willing to give up the cultural flaws of their own societies in order to get the goodies. Latin American elites are not willing to allow a true middle class to flourish, because that means their own power over government would have to diminish. Middle Easterners are not willing to give up their tribal ways sufficient to allow a high-trust environment to exist, necessary for “liberal democracy.”

So Fukuyama’s god, “liberal democracy,” has failed. Rather than look inside himself to see why he deified a fallible human institution, he apparently has decided that he needs a new god, and that is transnationalism, or globalism, or one-worldism. He has become just another Utopian crank, like George Bernard Shaw, who having lost touch with everyday reality some time ago now proposes ever more gaseous solutions to the “problem” of human fallibility.

The ominous thing is, Fukuyama has joined the elite thinkers in this regard; it became obvious to me back in the Clinton years that the societal elites had lost all faith in elective governance, and were actively seeking ways to rule rather than govern via some sort of Mandarinate-style system. Thus he no longer is in any way on the side of Western civilization, and at least tacitly is an enemy of it.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 09, 2006 04:51 PM | Send

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