The Public Interest

On making the future safe for mankind

E. J. Mishan

Summer 1971

A CLOSE study of history might yet uncover periods during which there was, no less than in our own day, trepidation, obsessive soul-searching, and persistent reappraisal of contemporary manners and institutions. There may, too, have been times like our own in which people looked back with cynicism and nostalgia and looked forward with exhilaration and apprehension. But I doubt whether the prevailing anxiety has ever spread so wide, or whether the sense of something awry, of “something rotten in the state of Denmark” has ever before reached so far down into all strata of society and agitated it at every level.

Download a PDF of the full article.



from the


A weekly newsletter with free essays from past issues of National Affairs and The Public Interest that shed light on the week's pressing issues.


to your National Affairs subscriber account.

Already a subscriber? Activate your account.


Unlimited access to intelligent essays on the nation’s affairs.

Subscribe to National Affairs.