- What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such … That is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.
- Experience suggests that if men cannot struggle on behalf of a just cause because that just cause was victorious in an earlier generation, then they will struggle against the just cause. They will struggle for the sake of struggle. They will struggle, in other words, out of a certain boredom: for they cannot imagine living in a world without struggle. And if the greater part of the world in which they live is characterized by peaceful and prosperous liberal democracy, then they will struggle against that peace and prosperity, and against democracy.
- p. 330
Neoconservatives believed that history can be pushed along with the right application of power and will. Leninism was a tragedy in its Bolshevik version, and it has returned as farce when practiced by the United States. Neoconservatism, as both a political symbol and a body of thought, has evolved into something I can no longer support. …
"[W]ar" is the wrong metaphor for the broader struggle, since wars are fought at full intensity and have clear beginnings and endings. Meeting the jihadist challenge is more of a "long, twilight struggle" whose core is not a military campaign but a political contest for the hearts and minds of ordinary Muslims around the world.
- The End of History was never linked to a specifically American model of social or political organisation. Following Alexandre Kojève, the Russian-French philosopher who inspired my original argument, I believe that the European Union more accurately reflects what the world will look like at the end of history than the contemporary United States. The EU's attempt to transcend sovereignty and traditional power politics by establishing a transnational rule of law is much more in line with a "post-historical" world than the Americans' continuing belief in God, national sovereignty, and their military.
- Be afraid of the Chinese. I mean, the Chinese shoot down satellites in space; they hack into Google's computers; the Osama bin Laden people can't make their underwear blow up.
- The Left’s identity politics poses a threat to free speech and to the kind of rational discourse needed to sustain a democracy... The focus on lived experience by identity groups prioritizes the emotional world of the inner self over the rational examination of issues in the outside world and privileges sincerely held opinions over a process of reasoned deliberation that may force one to abandon prior opinions.
- "Against Identity Politics" (14 August 2018), Foreign Affairs
Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment (2018)Edit
- The limits of this strategy were evident as the century drew to a close. The Marxist left had to confront the fact that actual Communist societies in the Soviet Union and China had turned into grotesque and oppressive dictatorships.
- p. 112
Liberalism and its Discontents (2020)Edit
- "Liberalism and its Discontents: The challenges from the left and the right" (5 October 2020), American Purpose
- The more progress that has been made toward eradicating social injustices, the more intolerable the remaining injustices seem, and thus the moral imperative to mobilizing to correct them.
- Liberal values like tolerance and individual freedom are prized most intensely when they are denied: People who live in brutal dictatorships want the simple freedom to speak, associate, and worship as they choose. But over time life in a liberal society comes to be taken for granted and its sense of shared community seems thin.
- Putin told the Financial Times that liberalism has become an “obsolete” doctrine. While it may be under attack from many quarters today, it is in fact more necessary than ever. It is more necessary because it is fundamentally a means of governing over diversity, and the world is more diverse than it ever has been. Democracy disconnected from liberalism will not protect diversity, because majorities will use their power to repress minorities.
- Emphasis in original.
- In situations of de facto diversity, attempts to impose a single way of life on an entire population is a formula for dictatorship.
- [P]rogressives on the left have shown themselves willing to abandon liberal values in pursuit of social justice objectives. There has been a sustained intellectual attack on liberal principles over the past three decades coming out of academic pursuits like gender studies, critical race theory, postcolonial studies, and queer theory, that deny the universalistic premises underlying modern liberalism. The challenge is not simply one of intolerance of other views or “cancel culture” in the academy or the arts. Rather, the challenge is to basic principles that all human beings were born equal in a fundamental sense, or that a liberal society should strive to be color-blind.
- [I]t is hard to see how the discarding of liberal values is going to lead to anything in the long term other than increasing social conflict and ultimately a return to violence as a means of resolving differences.