Aristotle : man is by nature a political animal ..and he who is unable to live in society, or who has no need
because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god”
Politics is interested in you. You might not be.
Politics is about power, justice, violence and peace. Knowledge. Ignorance. Charisma. Legality.
Big Themes of Class : Democracy dictatorship, war and peace
-The point of social science is to try to make sense of the world we live in
-How do we make sense of it? By simplifying, by focusing on what matters and ignoring what doesn‟t. That
way the world is less scary.
Democracy and War
-Is the world becoming more democratic and more peaceful? Maybe
Summer 1989 – Berlin wall falls. End of communism in Europe.
-Francis Fukuyama : World historical importance. It‟s an end of history.
-Hegel (German philosopher) : History is understandable. It‟s not just one thing happening after
another. There is a structure. Thus, beginning-middle-end.
History of Human Consciousness
History of philosophy
Not kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers, or celebrities: they steal ideas, big ideas.
When you see a war, what you are seeing is eople dying but what‟s really happening out there is a
clash of ideas.
Industry, economy, religious practices are material manifestation but what are really going on are the ideas that inform those practices.
Ideas and the organization of human society
Really big ideas are those that organize human society.
Medieval society. (Church, religious ideas)
Liberal Democratic state. (individual rights. Elections. Tolerance. Rules)
Hegel and Liberal State
Hegel : Germany is going to lose to French(Liberal state represented. Fine Idea of human
Fukuyama : Big story is over (There are no more big idea) Liberal staet was the ultimate
CNN Headlines 3 years ago: Are they important? Is that history?
Do I need to now all of this? No! What‟s essential?
Too often the unyielding attention on the narrow, the irrelevant, the vapid is the preoccupation
of the human mind. It is theory alone that helps us transcend this poverty of the human
condition – Hegel, Philosophy of the Right
Fukuyama : “Hegel was right but he was a bit off. (by 150 years) There will still be significant
challengers to liberalism.
Not 1806 but 1989. LIBERAL DEMOCRACY the last man standing. (No alternative)
Big challengers to liberal democracy had been defeated in realm of ideas (fascism and
communism) – THE REAL REALM.
World is becoming democratic and peaceful despite remaining dictatorships, wars, etc. (These
ideas have already lost)
North Korea is a joke. (Rules by fear. Not Conviction) Not serious
Comunism istill there but outside of Cuba, North Korea or the steps of Sidney Smith Hall,
nobody willing to die for it or betray their country. POWERLESS IDEA! Christian, Jewish, Islamic, fundamentalism: yes they are there but they are not universal
and therefore not a challenge.
Where does that leave us?
World of peace , trade, democracy
No catastrophe. NO MORE FUNDAMENTAL CHALLENGE
We should look for big ideological challengers
Clash of Civilizations
An examination of Huntington‟s arguments
Sam Huntington :
End of Cold War : What would the world look like next?