First off Elias writs about the “centralization of government”…in the same way that Hayek wrote about it after WWII. Their pieces are responses to their times (and to being means after German attempts at domination…and losses).
But Elias also says that the civilizing process – “the sociohistorical process of centuries” – is one “in which the standard of what is felt to be shameful and offensive is slowly raised…”
But that is not the case.
What actually happens over time is that the standard of what is felt to be shameful is lowered. As time continues, iMac attentional focus narrows more and more on the existing elements of discernible difference.
What did previous authors of etiquette or haute couture describe as correct? Well then the only thing to focus on is that! Refine it further…become More sophisticated.
Beneath it all, simply the limited human attention. Only capable of focusing on one thing at a time. Moving in a podding stepwise fashion because nothing opposes it. No serf or peasant dares to stand up and stab the arbiter of good taste with the life he just ate meat from…but instead watches the unfurling stupidity of the higher class and so seeks to emulate it.
But above I said that the standard is lowered, not raised. Yes, this process of ever-narrowing behavior appeals always to the least common denominator.