A terrific article from Tom Hoffman at American Thinker:
Civilized cultures are mortal; they have a predetermined life span just like an organism. There are numerous examples from antiquity whose skeletal remains are still with us. Each example represents a unique metaphysical enterprise that has expired. We can only imagine what the lives of the peoples were like and wonder at the remnants of the once vibrant cityscapes. The civilization into which we were all born, which has shaped our world view, was itself born on European soil around the turn of the first millennium.
Today we stand upon a mature cultural foundation that was built gradually over the last thousand years. Western civilization, as we call it, has exhausted the wealth of possibilities that were mere germs around the time of Charlemagne. The fact that our academics today have contempt for the whole grand enterprise is itself a testament to the advanced age of our culture.
We Westerners are no longer inspired by the ideals of our forefathers. The period from the Enlightenment to today has been a gradual deconstruction of the traditions and beliefs that were behind the great art and architecture of Europe’s golden age. From the completion of the first Gothic cathedral to the last notes of a Mozart string quartet something magnificently creative was going on. Ever since then there has been a battle between the forces of tradition and those of revolution; what we today label as conservative and liberal.