At the end of the cold war Francis Fukuyama wrote a ground breaking book about the triumph of liberal democracy and asking if we had reached the end of history. Twenty years later he has changed his views and in this piece in the Spectator he surveys the current fragility of democratic principles in so many states and asks if we are now witnessing the end of democracy?

 

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His argument amounts to: we should support democratic institutions (I was wrong that they would spread across the world of their own accord).

He still seems to be suggesting, though, that it's only a matter of time - Islam, in a single sub-clause, is dismissed as the basis for a state; China's authoritarianism, he implies, will be undermined by the end of growth. But, as John Gray pointed out recently, "Western societies are well worth defending, but they are not a model for all of humankind. In future they will be only one of several versions of tolerable modernity."

Fukuyama's belief that liberal democracy will inevitably bestride the world is touching, but deluded.

End of Democracy?