Societies die from something called The Civilization Disease, which occurs when humans decide that we are so smart that we do not need nature; instead, we simply tell people exactly what to do according to “science” and “ideology” and they do what we want without understanding it.
Humans make this mistake time and again and it kills every civilization. We call it the “Mandarin Method” in acknowledgement of its use in ancient Asia, specifically the civilizations of Genghis Khan and Darius, where bureaucracy, ideology, and control through obedient conformity were the tools de rigueur.
An actually intelligent leader avoids this approach and instead opts for natural selection. He tells you the goal and rewards those who achieve it, thus gaining not only his immediate objective but his long-term objective of a society made stronger via natural selection.
Really good leaders behave like the Trump White House: they will try just about anyone, but they end up firing most of them when they fail, and then giving more opportunity to those who succeed. This way they always have a stable of useful people on hand.
Bad leaders do not care how competent you are; they want yes-men who will do exactly what they say exactly when they do it. They are not interested in your creativity, intelligence, wit, wisdom, or soul; they want rigid obedience that will never challenge the power of its leader.
In America, we implemented the “Mandarin Method” several ways. First, we adopted public education, which quickly expanded its base as widely as possible so that it could dumb down education to memorization — an obedience test — and drive out anyone who found that to be silly.
Next, we created a system of licensing and credentialism across most professions. This makes it easy to weed out people for procedural violations despite being good at what they do, which lets the mediocre report the disobedient and get them removed.
Finally, we adopted consumerism and imported a population to service it. This means that utilitarianism goes to afterburner, and any product that pleases a plurality wins, crowding out finer products which might be harder to use or appreciate.
This gets us to a dumbing down, a reversion to the average, and starts a cycle where every year the average drops lower because we have lowered our goals, widening the envelop of what is accepted. “Equality” means acceptance of good and bad alike, except for those who go too far and threaten to reveal the whole scam by murdering, raping, or so on.
Add to this a hysterical public which removes people from social life on the basis of accusations, and you create an environment where only the dishonest and incompetent survive. The rest of us just try to survive it by being innocuous, but that has become increasingly difficult.
People like to blame our elites, but the voters created the elites by enthusiastically demanding all of these things. Your elites got ahead in your memorization-based educational system, and got rich selling mediocre products to morons.
Now it turns out that those elites, who are so competent at memory and financial tasks, are pretty bad at leadership. Everything they try either fails or destroys good things or both. We have promoted peasants to the levels of kings through our voting for “progress.”