The Origins of Political Order:
From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution
By Francis Fukuyama
Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 585 pp, 2011
The Arab Spring -- that grab-bag of street protests, popular uprisings, and outright civil war that has flared across parts of the Middle East since early March -- was greeted with no small measure of excitement by observers in the West. After a post-9/11 decade spent worrying that places like Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia were infested with terrorist cells or training camps, their governments poised to fall into the hands of Islamist radicals, the idea that the citizens of these states might rise up against the autocrats in the name of secular values of freedom and democracy came as a tremendous, magnificent surprise.
One undercurrent to the ecstasy was a subtle but distinctily Whiggish sense that, well, it was about time. While the most of the rest of world had spent the last few centuries going through the expected evolution in liberty, prosperity, and representative government, the Arab states...More >>