- potentially universal (as Hegel and Marx thought), or
- bounded within a cultural horizon (consistent with the views of later philosophers like Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger).
Huntington clearly believes that they are not universal. He argues that the kind of political institutions with which we in the west are familiar are the by-product of a certain kind of western European Christian culture, and will never take root beyond the boundaries of that culture. So the central question to answer is whether western values and institutions have a universal significance, or whether they represent the temporary success of a presently hegemonic culture.
- The first is related to Islam as an obstacle to democracy;
- the second has to do with the problem of democracy at an international level;
- the third concerns the autonomy of politics;
- and the last is related to the unanticipated consequences of technology.