The Future is Fractured

Reports warn of rising extremism across the political spectrum

The Future is Fractured
Photo by Colin Lloyd

The National Intelligence Council released a report this month outlining the immense difficulties associated with rapid shifts in demographics, the environment, economics, and technology. The report, “Global Trends 2040: A More Contested World,” highlights the potential for catastrophic political destabilization due to difficulties associated with increasing “fragmentation within communities, states, and the international system.”

The report warns that rising pessimism, inequality, dislocation, corruption, and an overall increase in hyperconnected identity-based groups present an immediate and long-term threat to global stability, as individuals abandon distrusted institutions for solidified identity groups based on political or racial affiliation.

The report’s findings coincide with the release of an unclassified report summary on domestic extremism by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

That summary describes a proliferation of domestic extremism across the political landscape, representing an elevated threat to the American homeland in 2021.

Notably, extremist groups were found to include racial and ethnic rights movements, animal rights and environmental activists, both pro and anti-abortion groups, and general anti-authority movements including left-wing anarchist groups and right-wing sovereign citizen groups.

The report also underscored the fact that lone wolf actors or very small cells of extremists were much more likely to carry out violent attacks than larger groups that merely promote extremist ideologies.

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