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 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 quadrupal-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.
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 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.