This country has an addiction to freedom, afforded to it by modern information technology, opening up once-in-a-lifetime sets of possibilities.
Pure unadulterated freedom is like sensory deprivation, where long/forced durations of it "can result in extreme anxiety, hallucinations, bizarre thoughts, temporarily senseless, and depression."
On the extremes, you either end up descending into a nihilistic pit of despair or climbing a mania-induced, life-affirming high, with large swathes being stuck in the middle with anxiety & terror.
Nature abhors a vacuum. The logical consequence of terror from no order whatsoever is to impose some framework of order based on a good-enough consensus.
However, if you have an environment in which you can't come to a consensus because:
- There's no time to adjust your thoughts-feelings since the situation is always in flux.
- There's a never-ending source of "information" in which you can double, triple, and quadruple-down on your existing thoughts/feelings.
- The 2 established political orthodoxies want to congeal around thinking/feeling the exact opposite of what the other side is feeling/thinking.
All you end up with is an autoimmune-disorder-esque group dynamic.
The Tragedy of the Causes
Everyone has a personal pet cause that's most important to them. Give someone a megaphone and they will shout it to the sky so they can valid their thoughts, feelings, & beliefs to no end. The entire subsection of the economy labeled social media is a testament to that. If survival can be taken for granted, with no physical existential threat, life moves on to survival of the Maslovian: feeling safe, loved, belonged, & respected. Life demands it.
I diagnosis it as being stuck between Montani Semper Liberi & E Pluribus Unum, pathologically American.