Others may praise ancient times, I am glad that I was born in these
Do not say 'Why were the old times better than these?' for you did not ask this out of wisdom.
....the idiot who praises, with enthusiastic tone/ all centuries but this and all countries but his own...
-Gilbert and Sullivan (I've Got a Little List)
This discussion happened ages and ages ago, in blogging terms, but I didn't bother posting my opinion, largely because of the above sentiment. But then I decided that it's better to have a poor post than no post at all. Although I'm starting to doubt that.
It is neither useful nor intellectually sound to wander around moaning about how lovely things used to be. First of all, you weren't there, so how would you know and second of all, well, suppose they were, what does that have to do with anything that we can do anything about? (I do not think that the belief in yeridat hadorot has absolutely anything to do with the legal principle of certain precedents being binding, which is the only nafka mina that I've heard anyone come up with.)
That said, I do have a sort of nostalgic longing of days of auld lang syne. Sure, they lived to be forty and had most of their children die before turning ten. Sure, they beat their wives and owned slaves. Sure, their food was bland, moldy, and scarce and their lives were uncomfortable and precarious. But the characters that you read about in Tanach and the Talmud and old history books do have one thing on us: they were so much realer.
When they were evil, they were no milk and water villains, watered down and diluted by troubled childhoods and post-modern relativism. When they believed, they did so without constant self-awareness, self-doubt, meta-questioning, and philosophical indeterminacy. When they acted, they really actually did so, without second-guessing or whining. They hadn't invented angst.
I'm not saying they were better. Quite often- and quite possibly as a whole- they were worse. But they were moreso. And in an age when you can't stop analyzing your own feelings long enough to have them and you can't identify your own opinions without pondering on the fundamental multiplicity of truth and you can't go ten feet without bumping into existential questions on the nature of life, death, being, and pain, it's hard not to be a little nostalgic for a premodern age.
If, of course, that's anything like the way and not simply an effect of the style of history, the sparsity of sources, the motives of the narrator and so forth.
See? We can't even nostalge without analyzing how valid that it is.