The challenge, then, is how to overcome the misperceptions. It is no small task, to be sure, but it’s much easier than reconciling the irreconcilable. One plausible takeaway is that rival elites are much more divided than ordinary people are. This view is roughly congruent with the biggest-picture overview I’ve encountered in decades, the perspective of structural demographic theory (SDT), which explains the cyclic rise and fall of political instability in multiple civilizations around the globe. I reached out to University of Connecticut professor Peter Turchin, the biologist and social scientist who refined and generalized the original SDT model, to get his commentw on our present state.