The Public Interest

Cultural meltdown

James Q. Wilson

Fall 1999

BY “The Great Disruption,” Frank Fukuyama means the social transformations—many of them unfortunate—that occurred throughout the Western world in the 1960s and 1970s.  He begins his book with a survey of increasing crime rates, the declining number of intact families, rising divorce rates, dropping fertility rates, and vanishing popular confidence in government-all of which suggest to him a loss in moral order and social capital. This, of course, is familiar territory.  Two arguments in The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order _ stand out, however.  One has to do with the source of the great disruption, the other with what may become of that disruption in the future.  Let me start with the second, because there I think he is quite right.

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