In the summer of 1989, the American magazine The National Interest published an essay entitled “The End of History?” Its author, political scientist Francis Fukuyama, announced that the great ideological battles between East and the West were over, and that Western liberal democracy had triumphed. The ascendancy of Western liberal democracy would not only end the cold war but would lead to a general calming in world affairs. Fukuyama claimed that humanity has reached “not just … 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.”
The “end of history” thesis has been repeated so often over the years until it has, despite much evidence to the contrary, acquired a ring of truth. That is, until the Coronavirus pandemic appeared seemingly out of nowhere to challenge this almost uncontested given in current modern intellectual thought. The notion that nations of the world would all adopt a kind of liberal democratic model and join together in a fraternal bond of human society seems to have been largely overlooked by China, the nation most responsible for unleashing the Coronavirus on humanity. With hundreds of millions infected and tens of millions dead or permanently maimed by the coronavirus, it seems that the expectation that “the end of history” would sway authoritarian nations to succumb to the universalization of Western liberal democracy with its balance of liberty and equality has been proven false.
The expectation that “the end of history” is the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution seems further than ever from the truth, and resonates today during the coronavirus pandemic like a false prophecy. As nations of the world enter their second and third lockdowns and as nations begin to administer coronavirus vaccines only to be encountered with disbelief, doubt and apprehension among common folk throughout the world, it seems that “the end of history” will not be like the civilization shifting period of the French revolution nor that of the Industrial Revolution but more likely an evolvement of “Ground Hog Day” with every day bringing more corona infected victims just as the day before has.
The intolerable reality of Western governments that do not function while allegedly violating the basic rules of governing has become the newest mantra to explain why the coronavirus has spread so extensively among the nations of the world. The fact that pharmaceutical companies in the West were given significant financial research and developmental assistance by Western sovereign nations, particularly the United States, resulting in an effective vaccine within less than a year of development seems to be largely ignored and at best belittled. The leaders of public thought; social media, internet, media, and broadcast journalists all seem to be in a self-imposed coma as the coronavirus vaccine becomes a reality with an over 90% level of efficacy, unrivaled in the world of vaccines.
China is employing an army of narrative manipulators through the internet to spread a message of blame aimed at the free and Democratic world’s failure to respond to the coronavirus, and little stands in their way. With the media and their babbling talking heads toeing the line, with internet companies who control social media employing across the board censorship, it seems as if the victims of the coronavirus are being blamed for its rampant spread and not those who unleased this deadly virus to the world.
Let us remember: During the month of December 2019, doctors in Wuhan, China reported several cases of an unusual pneumonia, seemingly associated with a wet market selling wild animals. Chinese authorities mismanaged and withheld public risk communication about the outbreak. They did not immediately notify the World Health Organization (WHO) as required of its member states. Then Chinese authorities rebuffed requests for samples as well as offers to assist with epidemiological investigations from the WHO and U.S. government, while initially focusing on a theory of animal-borne disease, and downplaying the possibility of highly-infectious human-to-human transmission. In updates during the outbreak’s first critical weeks, Wuhan officials advised residents to guard against seasonal infectious diseases by wearing masks, avoiding closed or crowded spaces, and to see a doctor if experiencing fever or respiratory symptoms, but did not highlight increased potential risk from the outbreak.
The Chinese health authority’s gravest and most deadly mistake was to prohibit unauthorized disclosure by medical and epidemiological physicians and health officials about the coronavirus to the world. Today’s reality of corona spreading virtually everywhere throughout the world is the result of China’s actions and inactions during those initial critical weeks as the world woke up to the emergence of the corona pandemic.
Today, when every single passenger on a train or bus is staring at a small device connected to the internet and allowing themselves to be willingly manipulated to believe or disbelieve what may very well be a false and misleading interpretation of reality; can be seen as a successful result of China’s narrative war of the coronavirus pandemic.
As the tides of history hit the shores of reality, and “the end of history” becomes just another bestseller from an earlier generation, what can we expect in the near future? Despite the successful development and distribution of the corona vaccine, the pandemic will not fade away anytime soon; face masks, social distancing, limited public engagements (worship, restaurants, culture, sports) will be with us for an extended period. This will be explained and accentuated as continuing proof of the West’s inability to provide an effective response to the coronavirus pandemic for its people and many if not most of the internet dependent public will accept this without question. China will move on as if it’s not her problem, not her responsibility, and will refuse to be held accountable.