Sources: Nakhshoni ( Hagot B'Parshiyot Hatorah) and Abarbanel
The Dor Haflaga- the "Generation of the Dispersion" or for the EFL among you , the Tower of Babel narrative, is simultaneously one of the most significant and most mysterious epochs in human history.
There is a wide range of opinions within Khazal and the classic Meforshim as to what their sin(s ) was/were. All are worthy and , thanks to the enigmatic formula of אלו ואלו דברי אלוקים חיים , all are true despite some of them being mutually exclusive. But in particular I find several streams of thought truly eye-opening inasmuch as they fly in the face of conventional wisdom and secular ani maamins.
For example; conventional wisdom holds that concentrating large numbers of human beings into relatively small tracts of real estate , AKA cities, has historically been the source of many boons for humanity. Cities feature fine architecture and public works, complex transportation systems and hubs, great hospitals, universities and museums, fine arts, Major league sports, top restaurants and the best high-end retailers. By this reckoning suburbs, as the words etymology indicates, are sub-urbane and are the enclaves of the dull, the retired and the bored. Rural and farming areas are reserved for the positively backwards and evoke mental images of rednecks, yahoos, drug-addled Hippies and/or barefoot Appalachians.
But Rabenu Bakhya, the Qli Yaqar, the Ramban and Ibn Ezra opine that it wasn't that the Dor HaFlaga concentrated in the valley/plain with evil on their minds but that concentrating the entire human population into one place was, in and of itself, an evil plan that ran counters to HaShem's mandate of פְּרוּ וּרְבוּ וּמִלְאוּ אֶת-הָאָרֶץ, וְכִבְשֻׁהָ . They were smart-Alec's thinking that their plan was "better and smarter" than HaShem's . They thought it would foster world peace and unity but in fact posed a great existential threat to humanity. Let's not forget that modern (I mean the last 500 years at least) cities have also featured some of mankind's greatest banes; epidemics, cramped housing , pollution and negative environmental impact, labor exploitation, gangs and drug wars, increased exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens... to name a few.
Good Republican Kharedi that I am I find some of the Abarbenels insights most fascinating of all. He posits a post-Deluvian, pre-Haflaga society that was both low-tech and , by any fair definition, communist/socialist. He learns that וַיְהִי כָל-הָאָרֶץ, ..., וּדְבָרִים, אֲחָדִים. does not mean common words/ a common plan but "united in things/possessions". IOW public ownership not just of the means of production but of everything! (Perhaps this was, l'shitoso, a [over?] reaction to the gezel and khomos= thievery and strong-arming of the generation of the flood that was a major component of their undoing). Also, that part of their crime was eschewing the natural, G-d-made and sufficient in favor of the artificial, ( מלאכותי ) man-made and superfluous (מותרות ) e.g. kiln-fired bricks instead of quarried stone as the primary building material.
Bottom line moral of the story...maybe we're all too urbane and sophisticated for our own good. Maybe their is something to be said for the salt-of-the-earth simplicity of the farmer and the country bumpkin.
Qedusha Havdala...have you had YOURS today??? Hmm???