Ideas are worthless unless they result in things working, or at least working better than they did.
By that criteria, many, many ideas are worthless. The hypothetical is a purely what-if realm.
Unfortunately, it can take a long time for it to become clear just how bad an idea is, once employed, and often by the time that happens, the damage done can be irreversible.
Which is exactly why conservatives 'cling to' ways of doing things that have historically been proved to work.
A drowning man clings to anything that might save him, and you can easily see why.
No realistic thinker would ever actually claim a 'golden age' existed in the past. None have.
But things often worked adequately well that they were, and remain, worth conserving.