Most intellectual efforts to condense a historical time into an image or concept often go without grief or glory. Others, however, are able to capture the sprit du temps by setting the terms of their interpretation. Is the case of the essay the end of history? from Francis Fukuyama . Published in the National Interest magazine in the summer of 1989 shortly before the Berlin Wall collapsed and today raised to the category of contemporary classic for its impact on public opinion.

The thesis, born in a seminar on the decline of the West organized by the philosopher Allan Bloom , was powerful: the collapse of the USSR did not mean the end of the Cold War as a historical period, but the end of history in capital letters. The idea of ​​the "end of history" had already been worked by Hegel , Marx and Kojève . And it responds to a particular obsession with Western philosophy by curbing the evolution of political thought. Fukuyama's thesis, therefore, was not intended to cancel the realm of historical events, but to point out that with the decline of fascism and communism in the twentieth century, the world had reached the final point of the ideological evolution of humanity . In sum, liberal democracy , the precious fruit of Western political culture, was presented as the ultimate and highest form of human government.

For many, the idea of ​​the end of history was nothing more than a layer of philosophical varnish to the triumphant propaganda of the Cold War . However, the issue was somewhat more complex. For example, some sectors of the left were taken as a challenge that used their theoretical scaffolding - a vision of history as a unique, evolutionary and intelligible process - to justify the historical inevitability of liberalism , not communism. Paradoxically, this same progressive vision of history, full of enlightened optimism, made his thesis somewhat indigestible for some conservative and realistic circles, no matter how useful it was to the effort to discredit real socialism.

Reality always goes gray. And saving Fukuyama from the most absurd interpretations, in favor and against, the theoretical richness of the essay, together with his brilliant and provocative style, continue to make The End of History? a privileged testimony of the post Cold War world , with its catalog of ambitions, complexities and, of course, limitations. Long live the classics!

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