Meshech Chochma in Beshalach, based on Yerushalmi in Pe'ah::
(Mechilta-״ומנין שלא נחשדו על לשון הרע והיו אוהבים זה את זה? תלמוד לומר: ״ושאלה אשה משכנתה״)
ולכך בצבור הקב״ה עושה להן נסים אבל במים כשנחלקו לד׳ כתות ויש שאמרו נשוב מצריימה הלשין שצריך לדון אותם כיחידים והן נכרתין על עו"ג והאיך אתה עושה להן נסים ודוק
We have to admit that while reciting Kinnos, specifically while reading ויקונן ירמיהו על יאשיהו, our mind wandered to Reb Meir Simcha's Yerushalmi, and it made us think about the possibility of a negative correlation between sincere Yiras Shamayim and unconditional brotherly love. The fact is that the profound condition of absolute achdus occured in the generation of Achav: not in the generation of David Hamelech, or Shlomo Hamelech, or Chizkiyahu, or Yoshiyahu.
We are not, chalilah, suggesting that any such negative correlation would be endogenous. Still, I believe it deserves some thought. There might be some validity to the thesis that as the line on the frum scale rises, the line on the "empathy for people who are opposed to your hashkafos" falls. It might not be coincidence that davka under Achav's rule was there absolute comity.
We are well aware of exceptions to this rule. Reb Aryeh Levin. The Ponovezher Rov. The Netziv (Hakdama to Breishis, Tshuvos 44) Reb Moshe, Reb Yaakov, and others. But they are exceptions to the rule. We would be happy to accept that they represent what ought to be. But we don't live in "ought to be." We live in "is." In this universe, they are vanishingly rare and for all practical purposes irrelevant to the hopelessly repetitive march of the past into the future.
Reb Meir Simcha is certainly not suggesting anything close to parity among these two ways of life. After all, the generation of Achav is among those that are אין להם חלק לעולם הבא, which is definitely not a good thing, while the generation of Dovid Hamelech included many people that were worthy of being on the Moetzes. Dovid's suffering in this world is trivial compared to his reward in Olam Haba. And, as Rav Hutner says (Yom Kippur 15:3,) the fact that Sinas Chinam has resulted in this endless Galus doesn't mean that it is "worse" than Avoda Zara etc.-
Still, when we talk about the vital relationship Achdus has with Geula and Mashiach, we have to wonder about this.
We are certainly in no position to work out an algorithm that determines the degree that high attainment in Ruchnius allows imperfection in humanism, or any cost benefit analysis of the inverse relationship. It is certainly far beyond our abilities to suggest which is preferred by the Ribono shel Olam. My purpose here is only to propose that this deserves a little thought.