The end of the Cold War produced a lot of jubilation, reflecting what some would call a vindication of the Whig theory of history—the theory we’re always moving forward. It’s a temptation to which we all fall prey, but it was particularly evident after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. People were writing about the end of history because, obviously, democracy and the free market triumphed and there wasn’t anything else left. It was all over. The West had won, and there were no further threats or concerns. In fact, this attitude even became embodied in what was referred to as the Washington Consensus during the Clinton administration. Democracy and free markets were the answer to pretty much everything. There was some quibbling about what exactly was meant by democracy and even more quibbling about what was meant by free markets, but the quibbling basically reinforced the idea that there wasn’t really anything that much to debate....

 
Introduce yourself to The New Criterion for the lowest price ever—and a receive an extra issue as thanks.
Popular Right Now