Beware idealizing the distant past. Some call it the "golden age fallacy" or simply, "the good old days." I've given it my own term, "nostalgia distortion" (of history).
My biggest peeve is the talk about the time when there was democracy. When and where was that, exactly?
My second biggest is reference to tradition among displaced European stock in the Americas. The reference is very vague, like "traditional marriage." How does that compare to folk ways and ways of old? I would agree that there is tradition, and there is a modern traditional marriage, but the term gets overused. It seems to take on the general meaning of "normal/ly". Maybe people want to avoid the term, "normal" these days, out of political correctness, perhaps. Anyway, such references often rely on a false memory of some idyllic time when what the speaker considers to be a conventional practice seemed to have satisfied the majority. I suppose there is the person falsely speaking for the majority. It gets more and more complex as one explores these faulty concepts and their language.
Rationalwiki.org provides a good understanding and critical look at this phenomena, under the heading "The Good Old Days." I've pasted a passage from it here below.
The Good Old Days
Much as one remembers one's own childhood with affection (endless summer days and playing in the winter snow), some people regard their parents' time as idyllic. There are a variety of factors to explain this, mostly relying on the phenomenon of selective memory and the affective heuristic: a father recounting the halcyon days of his youth not only remembers the different circumstances of that time, but also recalls that his hips didn't ache and all possibilities lay before him. Because it is unpleasant to remember the unpleasant, the warm glow of remembered youth tints the past.
Individuals of all political stripes fall prey to the Golden Age Fallacy. Hard green environmentalists and anarcho-primitivists focus on the evils of civilization and the glories of subsistence-level economies, while conservatives — almost by definition — seek to return to the values of the past, which requires glorifying the past.ExamplesBygone eras
Some of the most popular locations for the good old days reside in distant history. The myth of the "noble savage" became particularly popular for many years, arguing that people in undeveloped nations (both in the past and present) actually lived happier lives than those in modern developed nations. As is common, this belief thrives in ignorance: once words like "infant mortality," "citrus fruit," and "toilet paper" enter the conversation, attitudes swiftly change. Prehistoric times, even, are touted as an era when primitive humans were better off; witness the so-called Paleo diet.
Ancient Greece, particularly Athens, is another long-lost paradise. After all, it is widely-known that it was the era of democracy and Socrates. Unfortunately, only wealthy native male property owners could vote, most Athenians were slaves, and Socrates was convicted of impiety and "corruption of the youth" and sentenced to death. Also, the Athenian democracy only lasted for two centuries....