Of Great Illusions And The End of History

By Norman A. Bailey
Sunday, March 1st, 2015 @ 10:32PM

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The 20th century was undoubtedly the bloodiest and most violent in the history of the world.

Continual wardfare, regional or worldwide, covering the entire period from 1914 to 1991, including three world wars (the so-called Cold War being the third) and the first use of nuclear weapons.

Massacres, genocides, and mass-starvations covering almost all of Europe, as well as Turkey (the first), Rwanda, Cambodia. China, Ukraine, Russia, Korea and elsewhere.

Forced exchanges of populations and huge refugee crises in many countries of Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.

The emergence of powerful ideologies dedicated to death and destruction.

By the beginning of the century, there had been no widespread interstate warfare in the world since the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815. By far the most serious armed conflict was the American Civil War. Colonial wars, minor conflicts and a few regional wars, such as the U.S.-Mexican and the U.S.-Spanish wars, the Russo-Japanese conflict and the Prussian wars with Austria and France were seen as relatively minor glitches in a fairly smooth process of the spread of trading and investment networks throughout the world, constant technological advances, and the expansion everywhere of the influence of the European countries and the United States, seen as essentially benign.

In 1910 Norman Angell, a British intellectual, published a book entitled The Great Illusion. The book was a sensational success, translated into many languages, and its author was knighted. The thesis of the book was that general war among the great powers had been rendered impossible by the spread of a globalized economy and that violent ideological conflict was made unlikely by the worldwide spread of Western Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman values.

Four years later World Ware One broke out, followed by 77 years of war; civil conflict; wholesale slaughter of entire populations and the emergence of communism, fascism and Nazism, not to mention relatively minor unpleasant events, such as the Great Depression.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and American professor published first and article and then a book entitled The End of History, the thesis of which was that with the triumph of the market economy and the democratic system worldwide history, as the record of wars, revolutions, crises and disasters, was at an end. Mr. Fukuyama’s publications were widely hailed and reprinted in many languages and the author gained and still holds, prestigious academic and research positions.

In September 2001 a terrorist group destroyed two of the largest buildings in the world in New York, and blew a hole in the fortress-like headquarters of the Department of Defense outside Washington. A similar attack on the Capitol was deflected only due to the heroism of passengers in a fourth plane which was headed there.

Since that time the world has been convulsed by constant war, civil war, terrorist violence, the emergence of totalitarian Islamism, and a new wave of genocides, massacres. and a Great Recession. And the new century is only fifteen years old.

The great illusion was proven in four years to be itself and illusion and the end of history lasted ten years. Beware of intellectuals bearing good news. When you hear of them, take cover at once.

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