David French on 'Divided We Fall' | Summary and Q&A

September 23, 2020
The Bulwark
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David French on 'Divided We Fall'


The American death toll surpasses 200,000, highlighting the country's division and lack of empathy. Author David French discusses the rise of empathy fatigue and the potential for secession in the United States.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Has empathy fatigue contributed to the lack of response to the rising death toll?

Yes, in certain parts of the country where the impact of COVID-19 has been less severe, there is a sense of apathy and disbelief that the virus is a significant threat. This lack of empathy leads to a disregard for safety measures and perpetuates division.

Q: How has the pandemic highlighted the lack of community solidarity in the United States?

The pandemic has disrupted traditional community rituals, such as mourning and funerals, making it harder for people to come together and grieve collectively. This absence of communal support further deepens the sense of division in the country.

Q: How has the politicization of safety measures, like wearing masks, worsened the division in America?

The mask-wearing debate has become a symbol of defiance against the perceived power of technocratic elites. It has fueled the divide between those who view the mask as a necessary safety measure and those who see it as an infringement on personal freedom.

Q: How does the author propose addressing the division and secession threat in America?

The author suggests de-escalating tensions by prioritizing empathy and recognizing the importance of individual liberties. He also advocates for a revitalization of the Bill of Rights and a push for more power to be devolved to state and local levels.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The American death toll reaches 200,000, highlighting the lack of empathy and division within the country.

  • There is a growing sense of apathy towards the rising death toll, especially in areas less impacted by the virus.

  • The pandemic has separated people from traditional community mourning rituals, further isolating individuals and amplifying division.

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