Rod Dreher writes:
I don’t believe there was ever a Golden Age. St. Augustine, in his City Of God, written after the Sack of Rome in 410, cautioned his readers to remember that the human condition (from a Christian point of view) is exile, and that any peace we have in the earthly city is “the peace of Babylon” — this, referencing the Hebrew exile there. It is true that I start our descent into our particular civilizational fragmentation in the West (I accept Bauman’s “liquid modernity” as accurately descriptive of our time) with the loss of metaphysical realism in the High Middle Ages. But it would be absurd to claim that the West was living in anything remotely resembling a paradise. Nobody who read Dante, and has the slightest clue about the political and ecclesial corruption and decline from which the Commedia grew, can believe that Thomism preserved Europe from decadence.
In contrast to Mr. Dreher, most of us recognize that there have always been golden ages.
A civilization struggles to establish itself, and achieves mastery over its environment — at that point, a golden age exists. It still has the raw purpose of those without civilization, and the benefits of a stable society.
When time passes, the usual idiots and parasites arrive and translate that purpose into a muddle. Seeing the muddle, they (brightly) declare that direction has been lost, and that all we can do is to keep the group together. That involves abandoning purpose, and focusing on people as an end instead of a means toward civilization, which is a whole larger than any individual.
Parasites are nature’s method for limiting the influence of any species. They carry out the weak. If your species, tribe or group is too foolish to resist the parasites, it encounters a slow and imperceptible death that parasites midwife, and soon something else takes its place.
The big point for modern people is that we can have a golden age, but only if we are willing to remove the bad — perverse, criminal, parasitic, predatory, useless and delusional people — which are probably about 20% of each generation. Through the eternal wisdom of nature, these failures need to be destroyed so the rest can survive.
Of course, such statements are taboo now, which tells you which perspective is more popular: “tolerate everyone” versus “tolerate only the good.”