Impact Of Decline On: The Individual
by P Atkinson (19/2/2013)

Once The Worst Were Stigmatized
When a community is waxing those individuals who indulge their desires at the cost of their duty, earn public odium. They become branded as cowards, liars, cheats, etc and suffer public persecution if not judicial penalty. Such people find themselves justly shunned and despised, if not imprisoned or executed, by their fellows. These unfortunates are able to enjoy the company of their fellows only by dissembling their true nature. But as long as they live, their inability to resist temptation will expose them to the constant threat of shame and disgrace; a danger that can only be minimised by avoiding social intercourse and the demands of ambition. Even when old age eventually calms their vices, the threat of social odium that would accompany public discovery of their history will compel them to remain social outcasts.

Now The Best Are Stigmatized
Whereas in a waning community the opposite is true. Those few citizens who refuse to collaborate in the destruction of their community by denying truth while embracing tyranny quickly discover they must adopt social exile if they are to avoid social stigma. If they cannot bring themselves to comply with the silly demands of their senile community such as becoming:

—they will be stigmatized. The only defence against the risk of persecution or prosecution is withdrawal from the company of their peers and subsisting, if necessary, by a menial job.

The Best Become Confused And Isolated
Even when the sensible find others who share their doubts about the truth of particular popular beliefs, it is almost certain that this will be one of the few areas they can agree upon; for while the silly are united by their unrestrained feelings, which spawn popular hysteria, the sensible have no such bond. Indeed, an essential element for bonding is shared beliefs about right and wrong, which is now almost impossible to find among the sensible following the general discarding of the authority of the church.

Hence, sensible citizens cannot refine their understanding by conversation with their sensible peers so can never be sure that they are not deluded in some way. Though they know their community is deluded they do not know how they should react to this, which leaves them confused and alone.