Decline may be diagnosed by applying any of the following methods:
Determine if the general use of language is losing discipline, for this can only mean the general use of thought is also losing discipline, which is the decay of understanding. Such a result is indicated by the disappearance of plain speaking from citizens’ sentiments. An undeniable symptom of the malaise is the deliberate use of more words than necessary, such as invoking "at this moment in time" instead of "now", or "the state of the art" instead of "latest". And the addition of surplus words such as converting a "riot" into a "riot situation"and "opportunity" into "a window of opportunity". As well as the blurring of meaning caused by the popular adoption of vague words like "situation, position" and now (circa 2003) "focus". The less precise our language, the less precise our thoughts, and the less precise our thoughts the more vague our language; which is a self-sustaining cycle of increasing weakness of understanding. Thus, decay in the general use of language becomes the indisputable hallmark of a declining civilisation. As George Orwell put it:
"A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." —Politics And The English Language (1946)
Consider the attitude of children towards their parents. When a civilisation is waxing, progeny revere their parents, whom they dare not disobey; but when a civilisation is waning, it is the parents who revere their children whom they fear to upset—see the law of reverse civilisation.
Consider the community’s general attitude to truth: a civilisation rises because it pursues truth; it falls when it suppresses truth. Our stance is revealed by the existence of popular delusions, whose absurdity has not prevented them from being adopted as truth by governments. The list of popular delusions include:
A Declining civilisation will be attacked by Barbarian War Bands; a graphic example of such an attack on Western Civilisation being the destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York, 11th September 2001.