What brought us to this pass is the simple fact that too many people who take the most good from operating in a civilized, democratic, educated society have chosen not to pay for the goods they receive.
These people harbor the delusion that they created all those goods out of their own miraculous selves and thus bear no obligation to pay anything forward to the next harvest, much less toward the next generation.
The common wealth that makes their uncommon wealth possible — that is a concept beyond their grasp, and so they live like parasites, destroying the host that gives them a home.
These people abhor the idea of spending money on anything they can neither totally consume nor totally control. And so the idea of paying taxes to support a civilized, democratic, educated society, with no more say than one equal vote in what the common good will be — that is utter anathema to self-created deities such as these.
That is how it came to this.
The usual thing, worshiping false gods.