Europeans think that 100 miles is a long way. Americans think that 100 years is a long time.This is the smartest thing I've read since, well, this. Why is it impossible to heal the Red/Blue state divide?
Conflict wasn't baked in to the American experiment because one side wanted slaves and the other didn't. That's naive "I can look back 150 years; I'm a scholar!" thinking. Conflict was baked in to the American experiment because the continent was settled by two peoples who have despised each other for a thousand years and committed the worst atrocities imagineable on each other every time they got the chance.Go read it all. It's a millennium of ancestral hatreds pushing the current political landscape. And since history is destiny, this is obligatory:
UPDATE 17 October 2014 15:43: There's a good discussion of in-group vs. out-group dynamics and 800 year hatreds here.