I’m not sure I agree that very few towns and cities have such lifeless streets, but maybe I’ve just been very lucky in the places I’ve lived and visited. The increasing fear and paranoia, generated by the powerful because people can be manipulated and held in control that way, that I see.
Yesterday I was reading up on anxiety disorders for a work project and stumbled across a piece online about control freaks being driven by anxiety and the need to put down others in order to try to reduce that anxiety – I was thinking of a certain person of my aquaintance but it applies societally. If we’re kept anxious and given an enemy to blame it on, we’ll want all sorts of control to be put in place and subject ourselves to them willingly in order to try and reduce our anxiety. Comparatively speaking, the US is a lot more free of societal controls, despite our own religious fanatics. Maybe because freedom from war (here) and having great relative wealth relieves us of those kinds of anxieties that makes it easy for controlling types to run countries. They do try here, though. Boy they do try.