Night Music: There But For Fortune

January 18, 2015

Fukuyama’s “Origins”

January 18, 2015

I just finished Francis Fukuyama’s very valuable “The Origins of Political Order.”  One certainly doesn’t have to agree with all or indeed any of Fukuyama’s perspectives to appreciate the enormous amount of useful information (historical, philosophical, and otherwise) that he packs into 500 pages of highly readable text.

I particularly appreciate this section from the introductory paragraph and hope it serves as a reminder both to me for my own work and for others:

“I do not confront the general reader with a big theoretical framework at the outset … Putting the theory after the history constitutes what I regard as the correct approach to analysis: theories ought to be inferred from facts, and not the other way around … [A]ll too often social science begins with an elegant theory and then searches for facts that will confirm it. This, hopefully, is not the approach I take.”

This book is strongly recommended, even to those Marxists who will not necessarily appreciate Fukuyama’s ability to find the fundamental flaws in Marx’s own work.