If you scroll down any Wikipedia article, you will arrive at an entry that reads somewhat as follows: “Rather than a period with definitive beginnings and endings and consistent content in between, the Renaissance can be (and occasionally has been) seen as a movement of practices and ideas to which specific groups and identifiable persons variously responded in different times and places. It would be in this sense a network of diverse, sometimes converging, sometimes conflicting cultures, not a single, time-bound culture.” In this case, those words were written in 1998—they are muddy and dull.
To me, the whole approach is like a late school essay where the student has undertaken insufficient study to understand the topic and yet has to hand “something” in: “The causes of the American Revolution were many and diverse, and, indeed, some historians have come to suggest that there is no such single historical event as ‘the American Revolution’—and prefer instead to speak of ‘American Revolutions’. The main outcome from the American Revolution was that the Enlightenment increased its influence and checks and balances were instituted in government. This was a good thing.” I myself have written many essays that take this form, but the tendency to write this way in academia comes from a desire to “deconstruct” historical events so that everything is fuzzy and indeterminate—especially if the former historical category comes from the Victorians, for everything they did was suspect.
However, there is a notable sub-trend in this historiography. You may have noticed a meme that says: “There is no such thing as ‘the Dark Ages’—such a category disguises the fact that the Middle Ages were a time of scholarship, colour, and human flourishing. ‘The Dark Ages’ are a myth.” Notably, this contention goes along with the idea that there was “no historical entity as ‘the Renaissance’”. The trend is unusual because academia usually demonises anything remotely Christian; and yet it currently celebrates the definitely Christian Middle Ages and claims the Renaissance never happened. Why?
The answer is that “the Dark Ages” were real: there was a genuinely gloomy, mediocre, and ugly time in European history after Rome fell. Naturally, the left loves it; why? It loves the Dark Ages because the left loves mediocrity, ignorance, and ugliness. It devalues the Renaissance because, on the economic side, relatively little happened. Yet any art historian will tell you that the Renaissance definitely happened. The Renaissance was about art, lightness, and beauty—so the left hates it. They much prefer to celebrate the Dark Ages: an egalitarian time where nothing developed and there were no beautiful people immortalised by Michelangelo to feel envious about—no, there were just ugly peasants fat on beer.
Similarly, the Renaissance also saw the advent of clever financiers, bankers, and adventurers—Columbus and Venice. The left prefers the gloomy Gothic cathedral, a rooted tomb, to light and airy Florence. This kink in the left exposes the fact that the left is itself really a Christian heresy—surely, as with all Christian schismatics, it treats other Christian sects with vituperative hate; yet, in the final analysis, it backs the Christian Dark Ages over the Renaissance—over a return to classical beauty, elegance, and reality.
The Renaissance scholars were correct: up until the fall of Rome there was civilisation and progress, then there were roughly 1,000 years under a cult that sprung up in Rome’s decadence—just as the woke have sprung up in the West’s decadence. There was only a genuine return to beauty and progress when the West reconnected with what it really is: classical civilisation—not a Hebrew heresy that was popular among decadent Roman matrons and slaves. When the West returns to its roots, it comes alive—when it adheres to Christianity or the various Christian heresies (progressivism, Marxism) it goes backwards or becomes static. Contemporary academics celebrate the Middle Ages because they adore ugliness, egalitarianism, and mediocrity—they fear the inegalitarian beauty and genuine progress found in the Renaissance.