"So long as the young generation is, and continues to be, well brought up, our ship of state will have a fair voyage; otherwise the consequences are better left unspoken."—Plato, Laws.
When a civilisation declines, it has stopped getting stronger and cleverer, but has started to become sillier and weaker; it has gone into reverse. This waning is the result of a reversal in the nature of authority; instead of authority ruling its charges, its charges rule authority. A change in authority only won by a rebellion when power is forcibly wrested from the traditional rulers and placed in the hands of the agents of 'the occasional will of the people'—Democracy. An act which Toynbee noted in his work 'A Study Of History'as a class war and the inevitable signal of the start of the decline of a civilisation.
Decline is inevitable because the reversal of authority has an immediate and crucial impact on the process by which a community constantly renews itself: the way it rears its children. Then, instead of parental authority demanding obedience and respect, so insensibly teaching that community needs are more important than private wants (sanity), it is ruled by children's wants, so insensibly teaching that private wants are more important than community's needs (insanity). With the inevitable increasing lunacy of offspring, as advertised by schools and law courts, eventually winning social collapse. Hence:
|Parents demand respect from their children||Parents seek the approval of their children|