The End of History Means the End of Freedom

The Claremont Institute, January 13, 2015.


Mr. Fukuyama is a disciple of the late Alexander Kojeve, who re-interpreted Hegel’s version of the “end of history” to justify his support of the regime of Josef Stalin. Now Mr. Fukuyama re-interprets Kojeve’s reinterpretation to justify the principles of liberal democracy. If, however, “the end of history” can—depending upon the way things happen to be going—be used to justify the regimes hailed by Hegel (first that of Napoleon, then the Prussian monarchy), by Kojeve, and by Fukuyama, it is difficult to imagine anything that it could not justify. Thus I fail to see the difference that Fukuyama thinks he sees between the paths marked out by Hegel (and Marx and Kojeve), and those of Nietzsche and Heidegger. Leo Strauss—whose best know work is Natural Right and History (1953)—is the philosophic representative in our time of natural right. The revised and enlarged edition of Strauss’s On Tyranny (Free Press, 1963) includes his debate with Kojeve on natural right and history, a debate that may very well be the greatest intellectual confrontation of the last century, at least. From the evidence of his footnote, this debate seems to have left no residue whatever in the mind of Fukuyama. At the end of the French edition of the Strauss/Kojeve debate, however, Strauss made these observations concerning their differences.

Claremont Institute