Toward a More Communitarian Future? Fukuyama as the Fundamentalist Secular Humanist

With The End of History and the Last Man, Francis Fukuyama established himself as the prophet of liberal democracy and free markets, heralding their triumph as the only form of governance capable of commanding legitimacy. Asked to reflect on his predictions a decade later, Fukuyama concluded that the greatest threat to liberalism comes from biotechnology because it alone has the potential to remake the human nature that liberal democracy was designed to serve. Fukuyama makes a compelling case that biotechnology may produce developments that should concern us; he is ironically less persuasive in articulating a liberal-democratic framework for governing the developments he fears. Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution is provocative. It establishes the breadth of the threat Fukuyama perceives by linking four areas of biotechnology rarely discussed together: neuroscience and the ability to determine the genetic basis of traits like homosexuality or intelligence, pharmacology and the transformation of human psyches made possible by drugs such as Ritalin or Prozac, the potential to unlock the secrets of aging that could usher in revolutionary changes in demographics, and genetic engineering with its prospect of designer babies. Examined individually, each of these developments has the potential to relieve human suffering. Considered collectively, Fukuyama argues, they threaten to alter fundamentally human nature.