Nisbet argues that the political community in the West has broken down after two centuries of ascendancy. He believes that the West has entered 'a twilight age' that will be characterised by political and cultural crises similar to those that preceded the fall of Rome. He foresees the displacement of traditional, liberal society by centralised, collectivised power -- what he terms 'the war society', driven by the rising power and expense of a hugely scaled military. Nisbet offers no prophecy of inevitable decline; rather, he means to call attention to: the problem of finding the means of generating a social order within which the individual can live and derive a spirit of initiative.
Robert Nisbet (1913-1996) was renowned worldwide for his scholarship in the history and philosophy of social and political thought. He taught at Columbia, the University of California at Berkeley, Smith College, and the University of Bologna.