Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series
Edited by Pier Giuseppe Monateri
Chapter 12: The Resilience of History: Comparative Legal Theory and the End of the American Century
Anthony Louis Marasco When in 1989 the Cold War all but ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall, many believed the world to have entered a lasting new era of peace and prosperity. Among them was Francis Fukuyama, who famously ventured to predict the end of history that year. 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.1 What followed, however, had more to do with the resilience of history than with the end of historical time. Some notorious authoritarian regimes evolved into ‘rogue states’, waging unnerving wars of attrition, while so-called ‘non-state actors’ began perpetrating nationgrade acts of murder, extending the reach of terrorism well beyond any scale previously known. Under these new strains, even the time-honored machine of democracy started having trouble keeping up with the tilt of the times. Our age seems now an age of endless transition, one of those periods in which uncertainty prevails. So looking back, a question presents itself: have we really missed a historic opportunity to get things right (if not forever, at least for the foreseeable future)? Or was it all a misunderstanding from the start? In what follows, I will argue that, in spite of all ideological exaggeration, some of it quite ﬂagrant, a...
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