There’s no single inarguable point at which to begin the formation (or realization) of a dystopia.
Primus, there might be any number of reasonable approaches; and, obviously, there are innumerable unreasonable approaches, as well. (It takes only the merest pinch of historical knowledge to recognize that one of the best ways to destroy a society by accident is to work very hard at making it better.)
But one good way is to destroy Magic.
If we’re going to see Magic and Science as opposites (and what a weird, recent, modern idea that is; and by the seven toes of Thoth, quite a lot of civilizations merged them with great success; why that is, I’ll leave to you)–then we have to admit that very few of us, if any, know how to use Magic to effect serious change in the world…
…unlike Science, about which you can say exactly the same thing…
…I mean, how many people, including scientists, know how to use Science really well; theoretical science does the thinking, and practical science does the engineering, and then Marketing comes in, and…
….and in all of this weirdness, really, truly, Magic could be helpful.
I believe in Science, even though I understand very little of it.
I am unsure about Magick, even though, frankly I understand it a lot better than ‘science’, whatever that might be.
“Science” and “Magic” are just words. If scientists can’t do basic counting math (remember that “we flat-out miscounted the chromosomes, it’s 46, not 48, kids” thing?)–then I’m not sure I want them to be invoking Hekate on my behalf.
What we need is Magic. What we need is Hope.
Science could do that just as well.
Unless you take the Magic out of it.