He believes that liberal democracy is not just an accidental, culturally contingent by-product of a particular historical moment, as some of his critics have argued. “I do believe there is an arc in history, and it bends towards some form of justice,” he said.
In his new book, released Tuesday by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Fukuyama argues that liberalism is threatened not by a rival ideology, but by “absolute” versions of its own principles. On the right, the promoters of neoliberal economics have turned the ideal of individual autonomy and the free market into a religion, distorting the economy and creating dangerous systemic instability. And on the left, he argues, progressives have given up individual autonomy and freedom of expression in favor of group rights claims that threaten national cohesion.
“The answer to this discontent,” he writes, “is not to give up liberalism, but to moderate it.”
Fukuyama said Eric Chinski, his editor at Farrar, Straus, pushed him to engage with the most thoughtful critics of race-blind liberal individualism, such as black philosopher Charles W. Mills, rather than the latest media-driven outcry. fueled by anti-critical race theory activists.
He may not agree with them, but many critical race theorists in the academy, Fukuyama said, are “making serious arguments” in response to liberalism’s historic and ongoing failure to fully extend equal rights to all.
He is more destructive about the ‘post-liberal’ intellectuals of the American right, with their admiration for the Hungarian Viktor Orban, such as the legal scholar Adrian Vermeule (whom he describes as ‘flirting with the idea of an overtly authoritarian government’) and the political scientist Patrick Deneen.