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And Libertarians? In their case there is not much balancing of the slider. They set it as far as feasible to the independence pole, both existentially and economically. This has led some, including myself, to conclude they flirt with social dissolution.

You are grossly mis-stating the Libertarian viewpoint. They have no issues with “balancing the slider”. They simply prefer that it be done via a voluntary conscious choice of the individuals involved as opposed to a government created mandate.

There has been a deterioration in so-called “social capital”, with measurably large increases in isolation and distrust. Research suggests such distrust tends to be linked with a rise in economic inequality. We have that in abundance, as everyone knows. It must certainly be part of the problem.

I would argue that the loss of social capital is due more to excess use of government to handle every issue that comes up. People don’t trust each other because they don’t know each other. They don’t know each other because they don’t need to.

Instead of relying on our neighbors and being available to them to help with their needs, we create more and more government programs to deal with people’s issues. We’d rather pay more in taxes and hire a public employee to ensure our elderly get fed (as one of thousands of examples) than to get off our asses and feed them ourselves. And once we do that, those elderly are out of sight/out of mind.

Instead of talking to and working with our neighbors to resolve problems, we pay our taxes and lock ourselves in our houses and apartments and turn on the TV(or Internet) expecting to be entertained. And then when someone on that TV announces that some other problem exists, we scream “There outta be a law!” and point to someone else (that we don’t know, of course) who should pay for whatever it will cost to implement that law. We’ll be damned if we’ll get off our collective asses and do anything about it ourselves.