From a piece by Edward Said, this insight is vital to anyone who wants to model history and culture in some sort of simulation. Sid Meier should take note:
The great fallacy of Fukuyama’s thesis about the end of history, or for that matter Huntington’s clash of civilization theory, is that both wrongly assume that cultural history is a matter of clear-cut boundaries or of beginnings, middles and ends, whereas in fact, the cultural-political field is much more an arena of struggle over identity, self-definition and projection into the future. They are fundamentalists when it comes to fluid, turbulent cultures in constant process, trying to impose fixed boundaries and internal rules of order where none really can exist. Cultures, specially America’s, which is in effect an immigrant culture, overlap with others, and one of the perhaps unintended consequences of globalization is the appearance of transnational communities of global interests, as in the human rights movement, the women’s movement, the anti-war movement and so on.