endism
(EN.diz.um) n. The belief that something of significant scope and duration, particularly something negative, is coming to an end.
endist n., adj.

Example Citations:
The United States, possessed of so much moral clarity about its ordained place in the world, is particularly prone to "endism." When Americans entered World War I, they were convinced, along with President Woodrow Wilson, that they were fighting "the war to end all wars." A decade later, in 1928, the U.S. secretary of state, Frank Kellogg, signed a treaty with the foreign minister of our close ally, France — the Treaty for the Renunciation of War.
—James P. Pinkerton, "U.S. Can Win War, Lose the World's Hearts," Newsday, April 8, 2003

Mr. Brown has laid out his views in a recent book, "The Social Life of Information," co-written by Paul Duguid, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley. The book takes on the facile predictions — especially the strain of prophesy he calls "endism." He recounts ruefully that his own company was part of the group in the mid-1970's that predicted the "paperless office." ...

Since he published the book in February, the world has only served up more and increasingly desperate warnings of endism — culminating, perhaps, in an essay earlier this year from the technoseer Bill Joy, a founder of Sun Microsystems and one of the world's truly certified Smart Guys. Mr. Joy predicted that the combination of unregulated technologies such as exceedingly miniature nanotechnology could lead to biological disaster and the end of, well, everything.

While Mr. Joy's thesis was widely read and highly regarded, to Mr. Brown it just looked like the same endist pitch but with a bigger ball. He describes it with one of his favorite aphorisms about the futurist class — that they count "one, two, three, one million."
—John Schwartz, "Finding some middle ground in a world obsessed with the new and impatient with the old," The New York Times, October 9, 2000

First Use:
For a second year, serious discussion of international affairs has been dominated by a major theoretical and academic issue. In 1988 the issue was whether America was declining as a great power. This year, declinism has been displaced by endism, the central element of which is that bad things are coming to an end.

Endism manifests itself in at least three ways. Most specifically, it hails the end of the Cold War. At a second, more academic level, it proposes that wars among nation states — at least among developed nation states — are ending. endism's third and most extreme formulation was advanced brilliantly this summer in an article in The National Interest by Francis Fukuyama, which celebrated "the end of history as such." This results from the "unabashed victory of economic and political liberalism" and the "exhaustion of viable systematic alternatives." Wars may occur among Third World states still caught up in the historical process, but for the developed countries, the Soviet Union and China, history is at an end.

Endism contrasts dramatically with declinism. Declinism is conditionally pessimistic. It is rooted in the study of history and draws on the parallels between the United States in the late 20th century, Britain in the 19th century and France, Spain and other powers in earlier centuries. Endism is oriented to the future rather than the past and is unabashedly optimistic. In its most developed form, as with Fukuyama, it is rooted in philosophical speculation rather than historical analysis. Declinism, in its extreme form, is historically deterministic: Nations evolve through phases of rise, expansion and decline. They are caught in the inexorable grip of history. In the extreme form of endism, nations escape from history
—Samuel P. Huntington, "No Exit: The Errors of Endism," The National Interest, September 1989

Notes:
Like declinism, endism was coined by the academic Samuel P. Huntington (see the first use, below), who seems to be remarkably adept at coining words and phrases that stick. (Yet another is the clash of civilizations, from his book of the same title, published in 1996.)

Endism has endured because we live in a time when just about everybody thinks that just about everything is coming to an end. Amazon.com lists an astonishing 900 titles that begin with the phrase "The End of...," from The End of Advertising as We Know It to The End of Zionism. This endist mania began in 1989 when Francis Fukuyama published his famous essay, "The End of History?" (later published in book form as The End of History and the Last Man). Since then, authors have predicted the end of science, nature, marriage, God, and even the alphabet. And, yes, there is a book titled The End of Everything.

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