Sophists aren't genuine or authentic. The Regressive Inquisition doesn't believe a word of what they say, and even the peasants largely understand you're not supposed to take it seriously. The result is a flat culture. If nothing is genuinely sacred, nothing is genuinely profane; nothing is meaningful.
Ye Olde Christian types thought masturbation was a sin. Maybe this was dumb, maybe not.* However, it meant that, for example, putting a masturbation incident in a story tells you something about that character. (At the very least, it tells you what the storyteller believes about that character.) It lends personality and structure to the tale itself, allowing you to discriminate between this narrative and another.
The fake nature of the beliefs causes lack of confidence. Nobody is allowed to portray a situation as it in fact occurs, because it would be demoralizing or embarrassing. Unreal faith is weak faith. If there is some situation where you can safely expect an abundance of men, executives and other censors will ensure that women are artificially injected until they are "proportionately" represented. They sacrifice meaning and texture, and in return get a story that is particularly misleading.
Kto kogo is strategically useful in politics, especially democratic politics which involves goldfish-memory peasants. If you have sacred or profane symbols, it becomes more difficult to be nothing more than a windsock. When the sodomites became less useful to the Transgressives, they were unceremoniously discarded in favour of trannies. Had they ever genuinely cared about the "oppression" of sodomites, the Establishment Inquisition could have seen itself outflanked by a radical faction which claimed to care only about trannies.
You see fanatical overindulgence in signalling precisely because it's so obvious that the beliefs are fake. The footsoldier feels the need to convince themselves of their own sincerity in an attempt to fake it properly. The fear of discovery normally prevents them from noticing that everyone else is also using paper-thin excuses; they're too absorbed in their own lack of security. Having sacrificed texture and accuracy, in return they get anxiety.
The inherent insecurity leads to violence. If something valuable cannot be secured, one tactic is revenge. If violating the boundaries is easy, then it must be discouraged with extraordinary levels of violence. If cost is low, risk must be jacked up to compensate. In many cases the violence becomes so rabid it is self-destructive, as in the case of destroying the legitimacy of American elections in 2020. Having sacrificed texture, accuracy, and security, in return they get self-mutilation.
Because nothing is sacred, they cannot care about anything except getting caught violating the sacred values of others. Grey indifference is their idol. Because they cannot care, they cannot win. There is a failure mode, based on ineradicable drives such as the need to eat, but no success mode. Without values, there cannot be value satisfaction. In exchange for giving away texture, accuracy, security, and mental integrity, they get the inability accomplish anything.
It appears I have to make a distinction between a false religion and a falsifying religion. One that is honestly mistaken is vastly preferable to one which has committed fully to propaganda.
However, as long as peasants remain weak and incapable of securing themselves, the latter will be more effective. Propaganda will both continue to work and continue to see active demand.
P.S. *More precisely, it was certainly dumb but they may have been right anyway. Because it was based on dumb, they handled the belief poorly and had it rhetorically demolished.
P.P.S. We can see the lack of taste mechanic here. If "culture" was the result of good movies making money and bad movies bombing, someone with a real culture would have long ago outflanked Hollywood. However, the primary feature peasants look for in art is whether other peasants like it. In turn, the primary factor for that is whether the local strongman likes it. In other words, whether the world-empire USG will approve or disapprove of the peasant in question for seeing it.
Visual presentation is also a strong factor, but this pre-supposes the approval of the locus of coercion. Otherwise we would see, for example, occasional discussion of a particular sunset at the water cooler. USG is indifferent to sunsets, and their peasants are obediently indifferent in turn.