During hard times, men and women must be resilient, self-reliant, and able to cooperate to achieve super-ordinate goals. Such goals (e.g. war) are empirically shown in social cognition to be a strong unifying factor.
When the goal is achieved, men and women are more free to be themselves in the civil society they have preserved (the good times). In such societies, mutual respect for individual perspectives is normalized.
Yet, each individual’s definition of what constitutes as fairness and even harm, in a growing society of limited resources and opportunities, begins to impose upon other citizens’ liberties, which makes for a non-navigable, egg-shell stepping society (the hard times).
Ominously, this recursive pattern has actually been identified for centuries, yet is barely labeled. Machiavelli, and even Plato have spoken on it. It appears to be a lesson that Western civilization in particular cannot learn.