When an entire nation is headed for disaster, not only are its citizens to some extent inured to what is happening to them, because the whole society is subject to the same conditions (which thus become to some degree “normal”), but there is also no opportunity in the rush of events to stand back and assess what is going on, much less devise an effective means of response.
Thus, every individual within the whole falls victim to the general inertia.
The dash of the lemmings to their death is not only a function of the urge of each little creature but is also a product of mass inertia, the fact of being physically dragged along by the mass of its fellows traveling along the same route.
At the national level, shock must therefore be more intense and drastic to reach a point at which the individual realizes where he has gone wrong.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz