If people are given the opportunity of self-government, there will be lots of corruption, greed and less morals. Look at how things went before we had lots of regulation. We had businesses forcing other businesses to join their monopolies, businesses lying to consumers to trick them into buying their products and so on. We need regulation because human nature is to be greedy and competitive.
There are so many people in society who do not want the best for others, or are sociopaths and psychopaths. People are selfish and inconsiderate of others. If we tried to self-government, the republicans would take over and starve the poor people to death, or the democrats would take over and steal money and give it to the poor. Either way, we cannot self-government ourselves.
In order to believe self government is degenerate you would have to believe that people in that society would settle for the least common denominator of life unless controlled by outside forces. I like to read end of the world scenario books in which people have to rebuild society. They always seem to have the darker side of humanity represented, but the general theme is a desire to rebuild a better society based on not repeating the mistakes of the past. Perhaps I am naive, but I like to think it is a part of human nature to want to progress towards positive goals, not negative, and left to their own devices the good will prevail.
A people who governs themselves are only as good as their poorest citizens. Self-government isn't degenerate, but simply reflects the society that use this type of government. The system is only degenerate if the masses allow it to become that way in a republic form of government. Judging by who we have in Washington now, it's going to be a long wait for degenerates.