The paper cited below is about the sociobiology of sociopaths and their social strategies. The media talks about culture wars. This isn't that. My theory is this: the Republican leadership at this time is made up of sociopaths, and given their prominence, they created an environment that made it attractive to the sociopath in each of us.
A sociopath is typically created by early childhood experiences plus genetic disposition in the case of primary sociopathy. The emergence of that personality feature is frequency dependent particularly in secondary sociopaths.
As Linda Mealy puts it, the sociopath becomes "apparent at a time when immediate environmental circumstances make an antisocial strategy more profitable than a prosocial one." and that is exactly what the strategies of the Republican and evangelical right have done: made cheating advantageous. Karl Rove is the exemplar.
What is fascinating about the sociopaths in charge at this time is how much emphasis they place on morality while pursuing immoral ends. That is almost the clinical definition of sociopathy at the extremes. America saw this once before during the administration of Nixon and Agnew.
I've been explaining this to my son who wants to know why things are as dark as they are and why we are seeing a sudden upsurge in student violence here in the South where the solid base of support for the Republican agenda is. I am noting smaller examples of it in behavior of some who now confronted with the evidence of the sociopathy of the administration are in deep denial and actively hostile toward anyone who was not historically supporting the hard line conservative position.
But the damage and concern are much greater and more insidious than what we do to ourselves. In effect, unless the moderates of both parties pull toward the center, we are poisoning our children for at least a decade much as we were poisoned in the late Sixties and early Seventies. The impact on our lives varied by environment (parents and other social advantages/disadvantages) but they are there.
We've seen this movie before. It is long, fatiguing and ends with the sound of children screaming followed by a terrible silence.