AMERICAN NOTES: Steps to Instability

The shooting of Governor George Wallace raises fears again about the future of American society. Could the present order reach the point where it is no longer workable? What is that point anyway? In the British magazine Encounter two years ago, U.S. Sociologist Daniel Bell listed seven factors characteristic of modern Western countries that became politically unstable. Two nations that did: Weimar Germany and Fourth Republic France.

One of Bell's signs is the growth of private violence; the attempted assassination of Wallace and the bombing of the Pentagon last week are only the latest events in a decade-long litany. For...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!