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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Jeffrey Kopstein

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 on Ideas and the Organization of Human Society - Really big ideas are those that organize human society - Ancient society - Medieval society - Liberal Democratic state Fukuyama - 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 Liberal Democracy - In this sense, Fukuyama would tell us that history is over, there are no more clashes of big ideas
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