A question that lingers in the minds of many: why, in the past as the situation we find ourselves in worsened, did no one do anything? It seems like generation after generation, people watch things get worse, and yet no one acts at least in a significant way.
Some did. Writers, artists, and thinkers have been warning about this problem for centuries. They all grew up reading The Republic and The Odyssey, and knew just how bad it was that things had gone on as far as they had. However, these are a tiny portion of the population and the rest mostly just ignore them.
In democracy, whoever gets a plurality wins, and those tend therefore to be inclusive (read: lowest common denominator, like public restrooms and fast food) activities that bring in lots of excited people because they oversimplify solutions and exaggerate threats.
This means that an idea that ten percent of the population can understand will be quickly circular filed, and a lie that forty percent understand will win, every time. There is no hope for actual ideas because the entire system is anti-realistic and based on human preferences.
Intelligent people in this system have a binary choice. They can scream in the wind while living in righteous singleton poverty, or make a good life for themselves and their families while kicking the buck to the next generation.
Most of these people are practical as well as idealistic. This produces tension, and they resolve the cognitive dissonance by embracing the idea that nothing can be done. It becomes a religion for them because it excuses their inaction and legitimizes their choice to profit instead of stop the decay.
The most intelligent notice the problem and might write about it in passing, but they believe that crusading against it is pointless because they have been misunderstood their entire lives and realize that no matter what they say, it will be ignored. So they say nothing and writhe in bitterness.
In the worst case scenario, onion-peeling occurs. That is: starting with the most intelligent in society, people give up and stop having families. They escape the mess and run off to be hermits. That layer dies, and then the next layer begins peeling itself off.
This elegant process converts a society of intelligent people into a foaming mass of gibbering idiots within just a few generations. You kill off those who know better because they see the situation as hopeless and are ignored by the existing idiot mass, therefore impoverished, and soon you have no one above a relatively low intelligence level.
Those who are intelligent and practical see this and decide not to become layers of the onion. In doing so, they introduce a terminal neurosis which drives them toward Leftism. In order to feel good about the world, they have to give up on it, which induces them to see what is left of civilization as something to be exploited.
In this way, a dying civilization kills off its most intelligent while making those who are still above-average intelligence into cynical, predatory people who view the rest of society as suckers ripe for victimization. This is the high cost of lowest common denominator thinking becoming the majority that oppresses the intelligent minority.