Fellow AI blogger Francis Fukuyama has an important post up this morning that puts the Greek and euro crises in historical context. Frank makes the important point that Greece’s membership in the euro required deep political and social changes in Greece that lacked (and lack) the necessary support in Greek society. It was an act of technocratic hubris, leading to blind folly and now to the usual nemesis at the end of the drama. I won’t try to summarize his rich and wide ranging historical argument; read it for yourselves — it’s well worth the time.Introductory political science classes often try to set up an opposition between Samuel Huntington and Francis Fukuyama, but in this post as in much of his other work readers can watch Fukuyama handling the kind of cultural and civilizational arguments that Huntington made. Frank doesn’t simply say that the euro isn’t working in Greece because of Greek “culture”; he identifies deep and persistent differences in the way Greek society works and places them in a political and historical framework.For Fukuyama, culture is a historical product, not a timeless essence, and while culture is mysterious and hard to analyze, careful and painstaking historical analysis can often find an inner logic behind what might otherwise appear to be innate differences between human groups.This approach implies that culture is malleable, though not necessarily on the timescale that impatient technocrats in Brussels (or in Washington, for than matter) prefer. That is more or less how we see things here at Via Meadia; our conservative side responds to the Burkean argument about the need for growth and change to proceed organically on the basis of what has gone before, while our liberal side looks to a future in which human reason as applied through the sciences and social reflection in a pluralistic, market-friendly society gradually opens the door to a richer and more fully human life for more and more people around the world.Add a dash of Niebuhrian Christian realism and the reminder that original sin will skew the finest design by the wisest people, and you have something like the Via Meadia take on how the world works.I don’t know that Frank would describe his views in quite those terms, but there’s a deep affinity between his approach to world events and what both Peter Berger and I are trying to do here at AI Online. We may not come up with the same answers all the time, but we are wrestling with same angel — and as always the depth, the clarity and the benevolent humanity that Frank brings to his work is an example and an inspiration to us all.
Fukuyama: Greek Euro Exit Likely, Consequences Grave