In some ways there may have been a decline in society in our lifetime. The SUN newspaper's "Broken Britain" analysis may even have some legitimacy, though I don't like to be in agreement with them even when they're right, and they have completely failed to understand why Britain might be broken, or how to fix it.
Britain started breaking after World War 2 when people started to feel guilty about social stratification and tried to dismantle all of the systems that had supported stratification beforehand. You gasp that I should make such a statement? Hang on.
The efforts to dismantle the social strata that had previously existed were motivated by people in my camp and embarked upon for the very best reasons. Nobody should be born with nothing more ahead of them than a life of poverty and servitude. Nobody should be born into a life of wealth and ease either. If you want something you should earn it, right?
So getting rid of the bottom stratum was a noble endeavour. And getting rid of those who automatically entered the top stratum was only justice. But the social engineering of subsequent decades didn't really do either. All it did, actually, was vastly expand the section of the population between those two poles.
Which in itself wouldn't have been a bad thing. But somehow in our furious guilt-ridden effort to democratise everything, we removed everything associated with the mechanics of elitism, such as education, intellectual activity, cultural activity, intelligent spiritual activity. People stopped reading books because reading was what snobs did. People stopped watching any sort of movie other than the mainstream drivel that came out of Hollywood because that was the hallmark of privilege, and privilege was not only bad, it was also somehow effete.
To prove we were One Of The Fellows and didn't aspire to be any more than we should be, all we could do was read tabloid papers, watch football and work. And if you made money through work and got to buy a big house, that was acceptable, because anybody could get rich in the new even-handed meritocracy of the post-war age, right? But in that big new house you better have a widescreen television and NOT a big library full of the classics of literature or philosophy.
Getting a greater understanding of yourself, or your world, or your God, just isn't important in this money-driven world where everybody is expected to look the same, dress the same, think the same, feel the same to prove to the Conformity Cops watching their every move that they don't think too highly of themselves.
An independent point of view is a positive disdavantage. What makes you think you have the right to an opinion on anything, you uppity little snot? Get back in your box. Shut up and eat your chips.
And shitalmighty don't let on that you can spell. That's tantamount to trying to crown yourself king.
If it's broken, Britain is broken because nobody in it is allowed to be anything other than an echo of the mouth-breathing halfwit standing next to him, and any intellectual or spiritual framework for dealing with his experience, or the problems he and everybody else face in this incredibly complex, frightening world, is treated like cancer.
THAT's why Britain is broken, as far as this author is concerned. Can I apologise in advance for having considered it in any depth and reassure those who disagree with me that I will try not to let it happen again? I wouldn't want anyone to think I'm getting above myself or anything.