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Francis Fukuyama

Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University, author of The End of History and the Last Man and Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity


Over the past couple of generations there has been a monumental cultural disestablishment in the United States, the effect of which is that the country's earlier Protestant-Christian foundations can no longer be taken for granted. One of the staples of the scholarly literature on American exceptionalism used to be that American conservatives were different from conservatives anywhere else in the world because they were actually Lockean liberals -- that is, believers in limited government and laissez-faire, and reconciled to the creative-destructive energies of a capitalism that was constantly remaking the social order. This could be the case only because there was a substantial degree of cultural consensus among political elites, Right and Left, on matters like religion and values. There was no tension, in other words, between the country's Lockean liberal political order and its sectarian Protestant cultural inheritance, because the latter could be taken for granted.

Feb. 09, 1997 - from a collection of essays published under the title "On the Future of Conservatism" by Commentary magazine