We look back at the peleponnesian wars and think about the destructive waste… They basically took turns burning down in a few days what it took the other party years to build.
I think the same thing is happening with cancel culture. People are trying to say you should never watch entertainers who make a politically incorrect statement or take a bad action. Or they want to entirely get rid of police because some of that institution has become corrupted.
I think once people have lived through the results of that sort of burnings then they know better till that generation dies off. After WW2, much of the world became much more reasonable in politics and in America both parties were middle of the road generally.
Now that the old generations who saw what devastation brings are dead, people want to start burning down the work of decades because of imperfect systems rather than trying to make the tweaks to improve things. The problem is that they will destroy a lot of good with the bad.
Both political parties are doing this. The right is abandoning democracy and turning to authoritarian leaders to try to put down the opposition. The left is trying to completely dismantle a working economy and criminal justice system. Both sides have lost sight that to fix a specific issue, they are going to lose an awful lot more.
Maybe there is no way to stop the escalation till there is massive death and destruction and the new generation learns. Then rinse and repeat once that generation dies.