Jared Diamond explains in his book Collapse how deeply held societal values can interfere with rational decision-making and even cause a society to become extinct.
One of his examples is the Norse on Greenland, who did not eat fish (?) and attacked the Inuit, who could have taught them how to hunt whales and seals. The Norse also kept cows, totally inappropriate for the climate on Greenland, but a matter of prestige back in Norway. After roughly 400 years, the Norse colony died out.
Another of Diamond’s examples is Easter Island, at one time home to both a substantial Polynesian population and palm forests. The Easter Islanders erected huge statues, which they carved out of the rock on the island and transported over large distances using trees as sleds. Prestige was won by erecting bigger statues. Unfortunately, all the trees were cut down and the island’s economy collapsed.
This made me think of our own inappropriate values that are causing us much harm. A number American religions oppose the use of birth control and abortion, and as a result, the population keeps growing past the level of sustainability.
A secular value is that many Americans believe that everyone has the right to be armed, resulting in about 60 deaths from guns every day. This is obviously not rational, but the value is ingrained.
I’ll bet you can think of more examples.
By the way, the Norse on Greenland lasted over 400 years. Do the math.