Comments about ‘Drew Clark: Faith, family and freedom join to explain Utah exceptionalism’

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Published: Sunday, July 20 2014 8:55 a.m. MDT

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liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

I don't want to run down Utah, its a beautiful state, but to say that it is exceptional in almost any regard is bordering on delusional.

I've lived in two other states, and spend time in three more and each of these areas has something to brag about.

Utah does many things well, but cherry picking a few positive statistics to justify a claim of "Utah exceptionalism" is ridiculous!

Morgan Duel
Taylorsville, UT

It is my personal opinion that every young person 18 or over should be required to serve two years for the nation, either in a conservation corp, the armed forces, national parks or other service corp. in addition they be taught during this time the value of this country, honesty, integrity, loyalty, and such other good virtues. As you see by the article some States have lost sight of this ideal and fail to see the need to pass this on to our children who are not getting this from anywhere.

Centerville, UT

To me, exceptionalism also sounds like pride. People are not better than people in other states; we do some things well, and fail at others. Americans are not better than people in other countries.

Rather than focusing on teaching others, perhaps we should be more humble, and focus on learning what others have to teach us.

Salt Lake City, UT

I agree with much of what the writer says (LDS association is uniquely good and remarkable), but like all places Utah has a dark side. In the area of industrial democracy, i.e. labor unions, Utah is among the most hostile states to employee organization, and always has been. Utah sees unions as conspiracies, and employer prerogatives as absolute.

And to "fit in" in Utah the list is pretty narrow which is: LDS, Republican, conservative, no union membership. Any deviation from this leaves a person on the outside looking in.

Salt Lake City, UT

So America is better than other countries?

And now Utah is better than other states?

Can't wait for the article telling me which county, city, and neighborhood is better than the others.

Casa Grande, AZ

I agree with the cherry picking conclusions. The article claims freedom as a tenet and achievement in Utah but makes excuses for the lack of freedom offered in Utah. if the intent was to provide compelling reasons for the lack of freedoms in Utah, it failed to convince me.

When I lived in Utah my most basic lack of freedom was the very limited opportunities for employment in the mid 90's. I found that it was more of a "who you know" state than I care for.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

It seems that most of those arguing against Utah exceptionalism are shackled by their self imposed limitations.

Utah has many virtues, and some flaws, but not nearly as many or as serious problems as in many other states.

I believe this is because Utah tens to be much more conservative in its choices of leaders and its governmental policies, aided by the hugely beneficial influence of the LDS church, and its largely conservative beliefs and teachings on personal responsibility, doing good deeds, charity and abstinence from what is often described as bad behavior. (Although critics would argue in favor of such behavior, then wonder why things end up so badly where such behavior is encouraged.)

slc, UT

This article is the reason why people do not care for Utah. There is nothing exceptional about Utah or the US for that matter, we are not better or worse then others.

seattle, WA

As good religiously oriented folks, don't Utahns know that pride goeth before the fall?

It is wonderful to relish your accomplishments, but a strong and healthy critical mind is important as well. Not everyone experiences the joy and successes in life that this article seeks to establish as true for all. I wonder if that part will ever be publishes?

Steve C. Warren

But how does Utah rank in charitable giving and volunteering that aren't related to religion? Elder Jon Huntsman Sr. recently said that he doesn't view tithing as charitable giving because the Church requires 10 percent for good membership. It's definitely food for thought. And, frankly, "volunteering" fulfilled as a church assignment might also fall under that category. Elder Huntsman said people should be more willing to give to actual charities.

A case can be made for Utah exceptionalism in either a good or a bad way. How easy it would have been for the article to have focused on areas where Utah falls short. The article brings to mind one area in which it would be quite desirable for us to work harder to be exceptional: humility.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

What do others think about exceptionalism?

"Nationalism is an infantile thing"

- Albert Einstein

Think he would write letters bragging about Utah's exceptionalism?

A Quaker
Brooklyn, NY

I have no idea what the intention of this editorial is, but may I offer a reminder that claimed "exceptionalism" doesn't grant exception from national laws and standards?

As for the quoted statistics, may I ask where you're quoting them from, and how they were compiled? No organization is more centralized or better at publicizing positive statistics than the LDS Church.

The latter is not true elsewhere. Those of us in other churches and organizations are not regularly polled by anyone as to how many hours we spend volunteering or even how many organizations we support and volunteer for. I'm pretty sure that no one outside of my Meeting ("church") or my residential co-op association has any idea I'm putting in hundreds of hours serving on committees and boards and doing work we'd otherwise have to pay for.

One more point. Northeasterners primarily support education, municipal hospitals, and social welfare by voluntarily taxing ourselves for the purpose. That leaves far fewer gaps in public service to be filled haphazardly by volunteers. Utahns, by comparison, seem allergic to paying taxes.

On the other hand
Riverdale, MD

Every nation and probably every state has a notion of what makes them exceptional. As long as people can separate the concepts of exceptionalism and superiority, I think recognizing exceptionalism can be healthy. If we can recognize other states and nations for the traits that make them exceptional, we just might learn a thing or two.

American Fork, UT

As a concept, exceptionalism makes me uncomfortable.

Burke, VA

Mr. Clark has made a reasonable argument for the exceptionalism of Utah and the U.S. Good points all around.

However, through I'm sure was a different set of measures, there are some surprising results in a "happiness survey" found in Forbes magazine. On the Legatum Institute's Prosperity Index the following results were shown ranking the happiest countries:

1. Norway
2. Denmark
3. Australia
4. New Zealand
5. Sweden
6. Canada
7. Finland
8. Switzerland
9. The Netherlands
10. The United States

It seems that most of these countries have a strong social contract with their citizens and tend to take care of them during troubled times.

Using the factors of government, income and mental health, the survey results changed a bit:

1. Costa Rica
2. Norway
3. Denmark
4. Vietnam
5. Canada
6. Columbia
7. The Netherlands
8. Belize
9. Sweden
10. El Salvador.

Some real surprises here. Perhaps the best thing to do is to find happiness - true happiness - wherever and however we can, and stop concerning ourselves with who is best or better.

LOU Montana
Pueblo, CO

Utah exceptionalism? If the four r's of success are perfectly aligned than Utah is an exceptional place.

(four r's: race, religion, relatives and republican)

Everett, 00

"Excpetionalism" was the hallmark of the Nazis.

Pride goes before the fall...

Salt Lake City, UT

I am curious about the charitable giving numbers. When Ann Romney was asked about charitable giving she said they give 10% of their income to "charity." Of course that meant to the LDS Church. True, the church is involved in much humanitarian aid, but most of their money goes to their educational system, the missionary program, many business activities, chapels and temples. Did the figures given consider tithing to be entirely charity?

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Utah is indeed exceptional.

We say we value children but pay the least in the nation for their schooling. We say we value honesty but we are the fraud capital of the nation. We say we value God's creation but we do our best to rip and tear it up for the sake of a different Almighty--the dollar.

Yes, Utah is exceptional. Exceptionally hypocritical.


DN feeds these red meat articles to their readers. Seriously, not a week goes by without an article about UT being "exceptional."
No wonder Mormons have the highest opinions of themselves when compared to other groups.

I would point out, UT is very homogenous compared to many other states--white, Mormon, etc. which skews the statistics.

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