Dhe greatest military power in the world is torn apart by party fighting. The elected ruler does not recognize his defeat, he calls on his supporters to revolt, they storm parliament, the national guard is mobilized, there are dead. The social division that emerged in the events in Washington is not just an American phenomenon, it also shapes many countries in Europe where police officers and yellow vests, lateral thinkers and counter-demonstrators, abortion advocates and anti-abortionists march against one another. The civil war, the provincial revolt against the central office, the anti-community against the community seem to be the nightmare of the twenty-first century. It stands for a stage in the historical development that one believed to have overcome on both sides of the Atlantic, for the epochs of disruption, religious wars, revolutions and class struggles.
A world plunged into deep darkness
But what if the internal unity and social consensus that are routinely evoked in political speeches were only passing phenomena, an epiphenomenon of the age of nation-states that began four hundred years ago and is drawing to a close? Let us take a tentative look back to a time when the division of society was the norm. This does not mean the premodern Europe of the Thirty Years’ War or the High Middle Ages, whose political hierarchies were relatively stable despite all the catastrophes, and also not antiquity with its cruel and long-lasting rule and social relationships.