A Danger Few Mention

Will America keep dividing and soon resort to open violence, as happened in 1861?
Will America keep dividing and soon resort to open violence, as happened in 1861?

Americans keep dividing into two hostile camps.

It seems the country is back to 1860 on the eve of the Civil War, rather than in 2018, during the greatest age of affluence, leisure and freedom in the history of civilization.

The ancient historian Thucydides called the civil discord that tore apart the fifth-century B.C. Greek city-states “stasis.” He saw stasis as a bitter civil war between the revolutionary masses and the traditionalist middle and upper classes.

Something like that ancient divide is now infecting every aspect of American life.

Americans increasingly are either proud of past U.S. traditions, ongoing reform and current American exceptionalism, or they insist that the country was hopelessly flawed at its birth and must be radically reinvented to rectify its original sins.

No sphere of life is immune from the subsequent politicization: Not movies, television, professional sports, late-night comedy or colleges. Even hurricanes are typically leveraged to advance political agendas.

What is causing America to turn differences into these bitter hatreds — and why now?

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