Those who pay attention to the progress of their sanctification have long noticed the optical illusion of spiritual regress. By the end of his life, after decades of faithful service to Christ, the apostle Paul saw himself by that time as the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). The more you learn, the more you know how little you know. The more progress you make in holiness, the more aware you are of the blemishes that remain. This is not a false humility; it is how real humility functions.
And it works in the other direction also. The longer you go on in sins unmortified, the harder and harder it gets to even notice them anymore. This is why Scripture speaks of the seared conscience.
The same phenomenon can be seen in cultures. This is a corporate tendency also, and not just an individual one. If a culture is progressing in basic decency (a downstream effect of the gospel), the greater will be their ability to be self-critical in helpful ways. But if they are given over to their lusts, then the characteristic will be self-loathing (to be distinguished from being self-critical), coupled with an utter inability to see how bad they have gotten. The president could appoint Kuba the Clown as his new secretary of HHS, and nothing would be as apparent to the chattering classes than the fact that the people who had a problem with this are all haters. They didn’t have to go very far to get tagged with this because they are already filed under that category.
So in case you missed it, we have certainly gotten to this point in our own culture already. We have flipped over the handlebars of self-parody, have landed on the gravel of serious consequences, and have told ourselves (with apparent success) that the road rash we now have on our palms, thighs, and chin is going to be the next big thing in body modification.