"We're being conditioned to" is where your problem lies. You are still discussing an effect without addressing its cause. What exactly is conditioning us now more than say 35 years ago? We once had a shared basic reality in this country. We tended to agree as to the facts on the ground, but formed different opinions and conclusions based on those facts. Now, we no longer agree on the facts. It's pretty obvious why that is, and it started back in the 80's even before the internet. Can you tell me what you think it is?Essentially this has been the outcome, but I think there are factors that have influenced what you call retreat which could be called the cultivation of expectations by companies that wish to maximize engagement. We're being conditioned to being surrounded by points of view (and products, and people, etc.) which jive with how we think and who we are. This tends to make dissenting views all the more jarring and antagonistic when they are experienced close up inside the bubble (coming from another forum member, for example) instead of from outside the group. expressed by the "other."