Books October 2002
The chastened liberal
A review of The Dawn Of Universal History by Raymond Aron.
The short twentieth century, beginning with the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo in July 1914 and culminating in the collapse of communist totalitarianism in the annus mirabilis 1989, is now behind us even if its intellectual substance has not been adequately digested by our intellectual and political elites. The end of the cold war and the implosion of European communism even led some to proclaim the end of history as if the hyperbolic wars and totalitarian regimes of the century were mere parentheses, a disturbing if temporary blip in the forward march of humanity. Today, commentators too often oscillate between pessimistic despair and progressivist complacency, between Spenglerian nightmares about the clash of civilizations and neo-Hegelian fantasies about the end of History. What is needed instead is reliable judgment rooted in a balanced appreciation of the...
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