In this episode of The Burning Archive, I continue my history of our times, and the theme of increasing social fragmentation. If there is more distance between the elites and ordinary people – the 1 % vs the 99 % – then that can lead to conflict, social breakdown, even revolution.
But social fragmentation can also be destructive when it occurs among the top 10 % who really, really want to be in the top 1 percent of positions of high social status. What happens to a society when the elites turn on themselves? Conflict, though is not our only choice. We can reach across the fissures of our fragmented society, and build bridges between the separated islands of our society.
Along the way, this episode explores the Yellow Vest movement in France, the Occupy movement in Wall St, Jo Scarborough’s rant on American exceptionalism, Peter Turchin, Simon Schama, the French and Russian Revolutions, the atrocities of the Vendée, and even protests in London against lockdowns.
I have written at The Burning Archive on the theme of social fragmentation, how it threatens to intensify conflict between groups, and how it can be bridged by civility and fading traditions of discourse previously in posts, such as:
I hope you enjoy the podcast, and look back at how I have wrestled with this problem of recreating a civil society of islands in our fragmenting social world.