Joe Cannon: Western world has unraveled into an age of decadence

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  • Steve
    June 24, 2009 10:01 a.m.

    Very good series of columns. Your commentary on our age (or end thereof) is spot on! There is too little that is thought provoking or intelligently presented in newspapers or othere medis forms.

  • Demosthenes
    June 22, 2009 1:45 p.m.

    "Decadence," you're stereotyping again when you say "big" means corrupt. That's an unfounded assertion.

    "Some" churches have done good things? Can you name a church that has NOT done good things?

    According to published news reports, the Mormon Church is not using any tithing funds in the Salt Lake development. When did the Church tell its members "there's little money for assistance?"

    Prejudice, stereotyping, and unfounded assertions are not a good way to make a point.

  • Decadence
    June 22, 2009 12:58 p.m.

    Demosthenes, I agree that some churches have done good things, but when they get big, they get corrupt and controlling. Then its more about power and collecting souls than about God.

    Speaking of decadence who is it thats investing a few billion dollars in a shopping mall and in million-dollar condos in Salt Lake City -- while telling its members theres little money for assistance?

  • Lew Jeppson
    June 22, 2009 8:28 a.m.

    This is a bunch of nothing. Cannon's analysis lacks the economic perspective: classical, neoclassical, and Marxian. Of course I'm not going convince anyone here, least of all Joe Cannon, that this is of any importance.

    I think this is part of the morphing of the D-News into the Mormon Times. Get it over with.

  • Kevin
    June 22, 2009 8:02 a.m.

    Would the Deseret News please stop censoring my rebuttals?

  • intellectual robots
    June 22, 2009 12:18 a.m.

    These are the liberal democrats rolling off the assembly lines of the "institutions of higher learning", willingly brainwashed by professors who came off the same assembly line some years before.

  • Anonymous
    June 21, 2009 8:37 p.m.

    I like decadence. We could sleep on dirt floors, eat cold oatmeal and use outhouses. What defines decadence? You don't need to dine at the Olive Garden. You could can food and spin wool. One man's decadence is another man's necessities.

    Do you need a Brooks Brothers suit to attend Sacrament Meeting? You could buy a modest suit from Sears.

    The father of Neoconservatism, Leo Leo Strauss taught that decadence was the fruit of liberalism. Leo miss the target by a city block. Decadence in America, I believe, is a result of capitalism. Decadence is about marketing and creating a need to buy a $80,000 car when a Honda would do. Marketing sells us lobster when beans and franks would feed us.

    I'm not arguing against capitalism. We create markets and markets create jobs.

  • Demosthenes
    June 21, 2009 7:40 p.m.

    Kevin and "Decadence" are exactly the problem the authors referred to, as Mike Richards correctly pointed out.

    Religion can be corrupt, too. Historically it's been rather easy to see when it is. Look around the world today.

    But don't make the prejudicial leap that all religion is corrupt. That is neither true nor fair.

    And don't make the mistake of stereotyping religious people as not "trained to think for themselves," or you'll overlook a greatness and strength in American society.

  • Decadence?
    June 21, 2009 7:29 p.m.

    We are just now living in an age of decadence?

    People have been boozing and drugging and having recreational sex and worshipping money and power since the dawn of civilization.

    Gimme a break.

    Get control of your own life. A lot of the LDS paranoia with "decadence" is nothing more than subconscious envy of the recreational sex and power and money and leisure living. "We deny ourselves of these things, so we can't stand the thought of someone else getting some of it." Don't be fooled. People who are secure with themselves and at peace with life don't sit and fret about what the aristocracy is doing in the palace. Everyone knows what is going on in the palace, because it is the same thing that has always gone on there. The local in-the-closet porn addictions and the near-religious obsession over "free marketing" schemes and real estate fortunes and being "financially independent" are the symptoms of what I'm talking about. The outward appearances and rhetoric may be squeeky clean around here, but there is a powerful current of raging horomones and money-lust beneath the pious surface. Hence all the anti-depressants.

  • Decadence
    June 21, 2009 6:55 p.m.

    Leaning how to think isnt the same as learning what to think.

    Schools and universities should be teaching students how to think on their own.

  • Re: Decadence
    June 21, 2009 4:19 p.m.

    There is something ironic in your statement, "People who are trained to think for themselves are less susceptible..."

  • Decadence
    June 21, 2009 2:34 p.m.

    Becoming free from religion has only helped us. Beginning with the 17th century Age of Enlightenment, we have become liberated from superstition and corrupt religious control. That is why we have made what progress weve made.

    I agree with the author that we are becoming more decadent, but it is not because of less religion. Utah is also becoming more decadent.

    Greed and decadence go hand-in-hand with controlling patriarchal religions, because they promote ignorance and blind obedience.

    People who are trained to think for themselves are less susceptible to demagogues, hucksters, and empty glittering promises of material fulfillment.

  • Mike Richards
    June 21, 2009 10:26 a.m.


    Your idea of religion seems to be founded on man's use of power to enslave others - under the guise of religion. That has nothing to do with God's idea of religion, which is to make all mankind equal to Himself, with all the responsibilities and all of the joy and enjoyment that comes from that lofty position.

    What is the difference between some of the clergy telling us that the sky is going to fall unless we act immediately and do exactly what they tell us to do, and Mr. Obama instilling fear in us so that we will blindly follow him and accept, without thinking for ourselves, his chaotic financial 'changes'? History really does repeat, doesn't it?

    Mr. Cannon has clearly and concisely presented an outline, that if we use as a study guide, will give us information upon which we will be better able to draw our own conclusions about the causes that have influenced the changes that have occurred over the past 500 years.

    To disagree with his premise because you have issues with some cleric who used his position improperly shows a lack of enthusiasm to find truth.

  • Kevin
    June 21, 2009 8:57 a.m.

    Mr. Cannon cannot see the decadence of religion. He values tradition and spirituality over intellectual honesty.

    We can agree and disagree about the successes and failures of Western civilization. I see it's greatest failure as succumbing to religion. I see it's greatest triumph as starting to take the training wheels off.

  • God's hand
    June 21, 2009 5:23 a.m.

    The very idea of God's hand in history, is anathema to some of today's mockers and scorners. However you may find that most are with you.

    The basic proverb that "Righteousness exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to any people" holds true in any era.

    The "accidental" view of history is what was in vogue when I was at University studying history, although not all of the professors were of that opinion.

    The only problem I have with the development of this theme is that it seems to assume that there was an "Age of Faith" corresponding with much of the Dark Ages, when I don't think people knew much about Christianity because it was taught in a dead language (Latin) and dissent was hideously punished.

    There needs to be freedom for faith to survive. There have been a few bright periods when people could choose to do the right thing and actually chose it, but we look in vain to find any very protracted Age of Faith. At least that's my view of history after having studied it for its facts rather than the philosophies of historians of any particular school of thought.

  • Belgian Beer
    June 21, 2009 1:42 a.m.

    "Next week, we will look at how we can see the hand of God in history and give a reason for the hope that is in us."

    You're really funny.