Popular metanarrative/theory that is the overriding factor in explaining life, the universe, and everything for some. Generally, it holds that the good old days were the best, and everything's gone downhill ever since. Men were men and women were women, you didn't have to lock your doors at night, etc. Lack of religion, changes in sexual mores, the perception of increased crime, dependence on technology and separation from Nature, etc. are popular choices for the specific form of declension. Basically summarized by "This country is going to hell in a handbasket!" Popular with groups from the Christian Coalition, to neo-Luddites, to Gaians, among others.

The problem with most declensionists is that they rarely have any grasp of history whatsoever; in my book declensionist Christians and declensionist Gaians are the worst. They generally have, respectively, no idea of what early Christianity was like or the history of their own religion, and no idea of what it's like to live in Nature.

Declensionism shows up so often in everyday life, as grandparents wax grandiloquent or conservatives reminisce about the idyllic paradise that was the 1950s, so it's fun to trot out the above fifty-cent phrase.

Its opposite/complement is the ascension metanarrative.

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