Toynbee, Spengler, and space opera. Savory.
I missed this one earlier. It is refreshing to read of intellectual luminaries who provide arguments that space opera is respectable.
The interesting point is that, at each locus on the cycle of civilization, the next step seems the least evil alternative. His Majesty certainly seemed to many to be an improvement on the corruption and lethargy of the Republican Senate that preceded him.