“Liberalism and its disenchantments. How to defend and safeguard our liberal democracies” is the name of the last essay on liberalism by the American political scientist Francis Fukuyama. It was in the framework of the promotion of his book that referred to the current state of the world, the relationship of liberalism with Russia and China and made a defense of social democracy. During his stay in Madrid, who decreed “the end of history” assured this time that the war promoted by Russia is “a direct attack not only on one country, but on liberal values everywhere,” Swissinfo reported.
Asked by the newspaper El País about the closeness that he shows in his essay with social democracy, Fukuyama said he has never been “opposed to social democracy”, since, at certain moments in history, it even seems necessary to him. “In the period in which we live now we do need more social democracy. Especially in the US, where we don’t even have universal healthcare, being a democratic and rich country”, argued the political scientist.
In a conversation with EFE, Fukuyama assured that “in 2019, (Russian President Vladimir) Putin said in an interview that liberalism is an obsolete doctrine. Russia and China, for example, are moving in those similar directions where liberalism is said to be in decline and not a doctrine capable of meeting today’s challenges.” At the same time, he claimed that the war with Ukraine offers as a “final great lesson” the reality that “it will not be possible to have a democratic way of life without making sacrifices”.
Nevertheless, war is not the only source of danger for such ideology. Liberalism, Fukuyama believes, is under “other threats” such as “a nationalist populism” from the right, but also from “cancel culture that threatens freedom of expression” from the left, Swissinfo reported.
The details of this erosion or destruction of political liberalism were developed in his interview with El País. The “severest threat comes from populist nationalism: Orbán, Erdogan or Trump. All these people, elected democratically, use their power to threaten democratic institutions. The other comes from the left, and has to do, above all, with the cultural field”, Fukuyama commented.
For the American political scientist, the appearance of politicians such as Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher in the 1970s transformed the liberal doctrine into a neoliberalism that eliminated many more state regulations than it should have. “They went too far,” Fukuyama said. “They tried to undermine all kinds of state action. Even the necessary ones, such as regulating the financial system. The result was a globalization that increased inequality and instability in the global financial system. And this provoked a populist response, both from the right and from the left.”, he told El País.