The gemara (Shabbos 119) explains the pasuk in Eichah (1:6) which compares the leaders of the Jewish people to "ayalim (antelopes) without a place to graze" as a hint to one of the causes for the churban. The gemara says that Yerushalayim was destroyed because of the lack of rebuke given for wrongdoing -- just as each ayal travels with "its head in back of the tail of the next ayal" in sequence, so too, there was a "see no evil" attitude in Yerushalayim which caused a blind-eye to be turned toward corruption and prevented anyone from rocking the boat with rebuke.
The Meshech Chochma (P' Devarim) adds an additional insight to this analogy. Tochacha need not come from Rabbis and leaders -- it can come from observing a simple fellow Jew. When you see the poor person who is scrupulously honest in his business dealings even at the cost of financial gain, or the shadchan who is meticulous not to speak lashon hara, or the person burdened with personal responsibility who still takes time to learn -- these are opportunities to learn from the example shown and should inspire a person to improve his/her own behavior.
However, when your "head faces the tail of the ayal" in front of you, if all you see is the negative and poor behavior of others, the bottom rung of their actions instead of what is great and inspirational, then there is very little reason to try to improve.
Unfortunately, we are surrounded with tales of the "tails" of Jewish behavior. It's up to us to not be like the ayal and to look for role models of greatness.