"Complexity of the issues"...Amen! DBP. The more you learn about it, the more you see the tangled complexity. And if you were able to exhaust all there is to learn, there still remain so many black boxes where we don't know what happened, and we can never learn what happened, because Undisclosure policies are the rule. Even judges are frustrated by those undisclosures and are blinded in their decisions.
But, say you still want to pick one thing, one simple factor, a single turn in the road, that caused all this -- I'm gonna nominate it's the Government. Here's my reasoning. "The Republic" is interesting to consider, in this case. Wasn't Plato concerned about the relationship between power and morality?
In the Republic the class divisions are outlined as follows. The Guardian class lives austerely, having no money or material possessions, and without family ties so they can't be swayed from their loyalty to truth and the state. Importantly, the Republic selects its Philosopher-Rulers from the Guardian class.
In the Republic, the Producers class are represented by those people with an appetite for accumulation of material possessions and money.
And the Auxiliaries class are driven by their courage and desire for Honor.
Back to the Guardians class, whose members are driven by their desire for wisdom and truth.
In the Republic, specialists are drawn from each of the classes to be 1) rulers, 2) soldiers, and 3) farmers & merchants.
So, I suggest that we have abandoned the Guardian class, from which to select our 'rulers'. We vote, instead, for members of the "appetite" classes. THAT's why it gets complicated. We think members of our government are somehow more moral or wise than the business classes. They're not.
I think the founding fathers of the United States knew this would likely happen, that the 'rulers' would be more appetite-driven than philosopical and truth-seeking hermits. And the founders, therefore, tried to mitigate this tendency by specifying that our Republic's central govt. should be kept small, and kept in check by the general populace - a populace that could menance the central power, if you will.
We have moved WAY FAR away from a small central govt. We are, instead, menaced by our gigantic appetite-driven government members who can't see the truth for our state, and are too large now to fear the citizen-voter. Therefore, each generation of our populace is becoming impoverished and enslaved.