If Mr. Jobs and Apple grappled successfully with the complexities of modern life, however, then American politics, across the ideological spectrum, mostly wished them away. In our political debate, there is no compatibility between the notions of customization and community, the twin pillars of the digital age. It’s always one or the other. Either we’re being told that centralized, 20th-century systems can never be changed to accommodate more individual flexibility (like say, decoupling health care from employment), or we’re being told that all federal programs are wasteful and that every American should basically fend for himself. Either we’re supposed to rely entirely on large institutions, or we’re supposed to rely only on ourselves.