Lecture 1 (Sept. 9)
Big Themes of Class
- Democracy, Dictatorship, War, and Peace
- The point of social science is to try and make sense of the world we live in
- We make sense of it by focusing on what matters and ignoring what doesn’t
Democracy and War
- Summer of 1989, the Berlin Wall is torn down
- Francis Fukuyama, looks at this as a major historical event. He raised the question what if
we were at the end of history?
- Fukuyama looked at history as the history of philosophy, the concept that what is
believed to be right can constantly be changing
- When you see a war the general public sees people dying but what’s actually happening
out there is a clash of ideas, that is what people go to war for.
- Industry, economy, religious practice are material manifestation for what is really going
Ideas and the Organization of Human Society
- Really big ideas are those that organize human society
- Ancient society
- Medieval society
- Liberal Democratic state
- Big challengers to liberal democracy had been defeated in realm of ideas (fascism and
communism) – The Real Realm
Challengers to Liberal Democracy
- North Korea is still intent on pushing Communism
- Communism is still there but outside of Cuba or North Korea nobody is willing to die for
it or betray their country for it. Where Does that Leave Us?
- World of peace, trade, democracy
- Wars still exist but they are not wars of big ideas, or if they are, liberalism wins.
- Example: Vladmir Putin is more of a thorn in the side as opposed to an actual threat to
- In this sense, Fukuyama would tell us that history is over, there are no more clashes of