Thank you for the excellent response, Jim. I think you hit upon one reason we've gotten to this mess and that is that Wizards's printings have only been strengthening already dominant strategies, making them more degenerate, more consistent, and more resilient. By contrast, in addition to their awful response time in addressing theses problems, they seem incorrigibly incapable of realizing effective countertactics.
Generally speaking, a countertactic by its very nature cannot be degenerate because it can't cause an opponent to suffer or lose the game absent that player's use of the problematic tactic in the first place. IE, you can win the game with a Lodestone Golem, but you cannot beat your opponent down to zero with a Disenchant.
Since countertactics are largely useless absent an original problem tactic, the potential for that impotence needs to be factored into its price resulting in some sort of bargain or additional upside. Tsabo's Web, Teferi's Response, Ethersworn Canonist, and Abrupt Decay are fairly good examples. They're efficient and effective with upside (drawing cards/having a body/flexible + built-in protection). By contrast, Illness in the Ranks is terrible. Not only does it fail to respond the problem it purports to address (leaving token generators themselves entirely off the hook) but it's 100% blank in situations without tokens, doesn't replace itself, is highly vulnerable both on the stack and in play (ie no uncounterable/hexproof/Reality Smasher type clauses/etc.), cannot attack, cycle, or do anything unless you're using it as an embarrassing blank text enchantment to draw a card off of Argothian Enchantress or fuel Serra's Sanctum. Virulent Plague is even worse since it actually costs more than many of the problem makers it purports to address, while still serving as only a half measure.
The ideal solution to problematic strategies & tactics would be for powerful measures to exist within the game providing the types of checks & balances that make it worth playing. It bears noting that mass restrictions or bans were not the first options considered by trigger happy regulators. We have, as you mentioned in your original post, been waiting for an eternity for proper countermeasures with no sign of progress on that horizon.
IE, the current situation results just as much from Wizards's failure to print something like an untaxable answer to taxing, or similar things that truly punish dominant strategies to such an extent that playing them isn't a no-brainer but rather an undertaking that requires a serious cost/benefit analysis. For years, we heard "oh but they can't mess up Standard" and now that they've been printing explicitly Standard illegal sets for over half a decade, that excuse doesn't fly.
There has been no corresponding "answer-creep" to the "power creep," hence we're left with B&R.