Matthew Sanders: Thoroughly Modern Silly: Modernists recycle philosophies, dress them up and shout down opponents

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  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    Feb. 12, 2014 7:36 a.m.

    Thank you very much for writing this article! One of the reasons I came around as I grew into adulthood was because I had the influence of people like you to help provide, through their example, an alternative and a contrast to exactly the kind of "novel, forward-thinking" changes and carnally-focused "doctrines" that my peers have advocated from then through this very day. My health, self-control, and long-term perspective are all things I'd lack if I were left to the fickle and ungrounded "philosophies of men".

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 23, 2014 7:57 a.m.

    A lot of heat shown in these comments. To me the article simply states that decisions, especially serious ones should not be made on what is merely "trendy".

  • Tony Horsley Draper, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 9:36 a.m.

    This is an excellent article, as far as I'm concerned. The author does a nice job shedding light on realities that don't receive the attention they deserve, simply because they are not considered "modern," "sophisticated," or "forward thinking" by much of the media. Forward and sophisticated thinking, based on true principles that have been proven to benefit society throughout history, is both uplifting and increasingly necessary. Such thinking helps our society progress toward a higher, more noble ideal. Thanks for the great article!

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Jan. 20, 2014 8:18 p.m.

    Another commenter has already noted the problems with the author's reference to research on the "safety of children." While searching for current commentary on this research, I came across this statement on the American Psychological Association's web site:

    "In summary, social science has shown that the concerns often raised about children of lesbian and gay parents — concerns that are generally grounded in prejudice against and stereotypes about gay people — are unfounded." I guess this makes the APA modernists, too.

    As for the author’s (also unsubstantiated) concern about religious liberty, if he truly wants to preserve it, then he should pray that all state laws prohibiting SSM are found unconstitutional. There is no basis for the opposition to it other than a religious one and some religions don’t share this view.

  • 4 horse race Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 6:18 p.m.

    It is interesting that many modernists insist on cutting off debate on whether we should discard core beliefs or not and just accept their "new realities" advocated by their politically correct elites. Why are we so arrogant today to believe that we can do the same things that were done in the past that led to the destruction of so many civilizations and are being repeated in Europe today and believe the outcomes will be different for us? Isn't one of the definitions of insanity to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results? On the other hand not all modernism is bad. Lincoln felt strongly about a new, modern equality for everyone that went against traditional ideas held by many in his day. Mahatma Gandhi rebelled against the unjust status quo of his day. The pilgrims voted against traditional tyranny with their feet and left for and created a better new world. Martin Luther stood up to the corrupt traditionalist of his day. Modern feminists have corrected some very bad ideas. Why not wisely hold fast to historically proven truths while adequately testing and fully debating proposed social re-engineering ideas?

  • Monkey Boy Arvada, CO
    Jan. 20, 2014 4:03 p.m.

    Sanders lists "substantiated concerns" as part of his argument that "legitimate dissent" of opponents of SSM is being "shout[ed] down" by naming-calling. Sanders hyperlinks the phrase "safety of children" to an article about the Regnerus study, as the first of these allegedly substantiated concerns.

    Nothing -- absolutely nothing -- in the Regnerus study draws any conclusions re: the safety of children. Even ignoring the apples-to-oranges limits to his findings, Regnerus himself admits that his survey of adults provides no causal explanations, and did not study/compare the outcomes of children raised by SSM parents, as those families are a relatively recent phenomenon.

    The phrase "safety of children" is inflammatory -- full stop -- as it suggests children in SSMs are at risk of physical abuse/harm. This is a harmful insinuation: 'traditional' readers who actually believe Sanders might reasonably think twice about SSM families in their neighborhoods and schools, and whether their children might also be at risk if they socialize with them. Even worse, Sanders bolsters this insinuation by calling it "substantiated" and linking to the Regnerus study that offers no such substantiation.

    Why does Sanders use this tactic? Seems "tradition" means something more than he is letting on.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Jan. 20, 2014 3:28 p.m.

    This author misuses the term modernism, which was a literary/artistic movement of the 20th century. His axiom, that "modern" stuff isn't necessarily better than traditional stuff, is OK with me, I guess, but he sure fried a lot of fish to provide us with that little rhetorical snack. By the way, we are now living in the postmodern age, which is a different kettle of fish entirely.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 2:49 p.m.

    Correction on my previous post: "We, however, don't feel that religions have the right to dictate how people who DO NOT belong to their faith should live." I will admit that I sometimes need to do a better job proofreading before I submit a comment.

    To respond to another comment on here:

    The real problem is, #1, you cannot vote away the rights of a group of people you don't understand just because they make you uncomfortable. I have a deep suspicion that some people actually believe that if we make same-sex marriage illegal, then same-sex couples will also disappear from our communities. That is not going to happen. #2, it's not guilt that we have to deal with on a daily basis, it's the judgmental attitudes of people who think they know more about our human conditions than we do. We're tired of being treated as something less than everyone else. That's why I have a problem with the whole tone of this article.

  • nonceleb Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 2:04 p.m.

    Name calling is done on both sides. Homosexuality has been called an "abomination" and gays called "perverts." I also find it objectionable of equating "use" with addiction, and that modernity is considered excessiveness. A vast majority of drinkers are not alcoholics, and we now know there are actually health benefits (especially with red wine) from moderate consumption. Here are some historical examples of modern trends which have actually been resisted by fundamentalist religions - women's suffrage, teaching evolution, racial equality, interracial marriage, desegregation, the feminist movement, and decriminalizing homosexuality. I accept modern trends which involve human liberations and are practiced in moderation.

  • illuminated St George, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 1:56 p.m.

    It's hilarious to see those who are guilty of modernism just by reading the comments here. They either claim that, A. It doesn't really exist, or B. It exists, but "conservatives are just as bad!" So which is it? ;)

    They're pushing gay "rights" (which don't and never have existed), pot, bans on guns, and silencing religion with more frequency lately. But it's the same old story, it will quiet down after they start realizing that nothing has really changed.

    The truth here is that these leftists really want to feel okay with what they're doing. They feel the ever-tugging of guilt inside and, if only they could make those "holier-than-thou" Christians accept their behavior as normal, everything would be peachie.

    The problem is that, #1, You can't force people with laws to change their opinion of you. Ever. And, #2, even if you could, the guilt wouldn't go away. What's wrong is wrong, the ability to know right from wrong was programmed inside you before you were born.

    So, just so you know, we're really quite aware of what's really going on.

  • kiddsport Fairview, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 1:50 p.m.

    Let's assume one side is considered the high road and the other side is the low road. Compromise means taking the middle road, which becomes the "new" high road. Next, the new "high" road compromises with the new, lower, low road for a middle road which is lower than the old middle road. Each iteration brings about a new and lower middle road. We all know where that road leads. It is also known as the road of good intentions.
    The belief that all that has gone before has not improved the human condition only shows a lack of understanding and appreciation of what our ancestors sacrificed to give us an extended life expectancy and a higher standard of living even among the poor. Yet a few of this latest generation are still willing to lay down their lives for their fellow man, something I will never compromise my gratefulness and admiration.

  • Tyler McArthur South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 1:46 p.m.

    I agree with the author and I've been arguing the same thing for years. I think the quick response by the "modernists" on this page shows that he touched a nerve.

    The author is absolutely right in saying that none of the arguments presented by more progressive types are new. In Anna Karenina (written in the 1870s), Tolstoy addressed and grappled with the same arguments that we hear today by modernists, as did Hugo in Les Miserables. Despite centuries of polemics by academic journals and liberal periodicals, marriage is still sacred, religion is not going away and it is still important to "legislate morality" (as some derogatorily refer to it) if amoral behaviors lead to enormous and unforeseen negative externalities in our society. And believing so doesn't make me a hateful bigot.

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 1:29 p.m.

    The Word of Wisdom is not just about Tobacco and Alcohol. It's a whole lot more. I've often wondered if it's more like Jewish Kosher law rather than words of wisdom. Sure stay away from booze and smokes, what about obese church members stuffing their faces with gluten and refined sugar, neither of which are mentioned in the WoW.
    To say the Church has no room for reform says in so many words that it's already perfect. Nothing in this world is perfect and everything can stand for some kind of improvement. With modern times comes more knowledge, which comes with more understanding.
    This is why Brigham Young's speech about men on the moon makes no sense today, because we understand that no one lives on the moon. The fact that the church has grown in the past, and evolved, means it should continue to grow and modernize into the future.
    The Catholic Church has gone through many growing pains, and it has come out a better church. Perhaps the the author of this editorial could take some notes from their example.

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 8:21 a.m.

    Well written article. But clearly the author is closed minded because he will not accept carte blache what the modernists advocate. One need merely look at Europe to see that modernism does not work. It had brought their economies to their knees. It has decimated the family. It is not being open minded to accept all alternatives - even those which cause harm. We are becoming a society where everyone wants to do their own thing, have forced acceptance in society, and then have the government bail them out if it goes wrong.

    There have been a number of articles on Johnson's war on poverty. What do you think the poverty rate would be if 70 percent of blacks, 50 percent of hispanics and 30 percent of whites were not born to single women? Millions of children suffer because adults do what they want with little thought about how it will affect their children.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    Jan. 19, 2014 11:41 p.m.

    So, he talks about the dangers/problems of "modernism" but then turns around and highlights 3 extremely "modern" thinking groups/individuals.

    The Pilgrims sought to change the status quo of their time and have freedom to make their own decisions as to how to worship.

    Ghandi fasted many times for many reasons, but all of them would be considered efforts to bring equality to his fellow humans.

    Lincoln fought against acceptance of slavery and almost split the United States in an effort to bring about modernism of thinking towards slaves.

    Interesting that the author would slam modernism and yet hold up such icons as worthy to emulate - especially since if you read the comments about them at the time, they were thoroughly reviled in the exact same way the author reviles modernists.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    Jan. 19, 2014 7:59 p.m.

    I am getting tired of this. How can the Deseret News honestly be taken seriously when they call for civility in our debates about current issues when you print something like this? The title, for example, is mocking a group of people for their views, and the author of the editorial then uses hyperbole to describe a group of people I don't think even exist.

    Most people I know who are for marriage equality also agree that religions have a right to dictate what happens within the confines of their churches and how members of the faith should act. We, however, don't feel that religions have the right to dictate how people who belong to their faith should live. You see, it's that pesky thing called choice that was discussed in the council in heaven.

    Finally, the author uses some of the rhetoric that I see used too often by claiming that those who object to same-sex marriage as having conscience, while insinuating that those who disagree do not. This is not accurate nor fair.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 19, 2014 7:53 p.m.

    People are not all the same as you. How well you accept that will determine a lot about how you get by in life.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Jan. 19, 2014 5:19 p.m.

    Excellent article. Very well written. This article gives voice to many of the silent majority that do not have a broad forum to state the points presented in this piece.

    Mike Richards, I appreciate your post as well. Very well written.

    An honest, quiet reflection of this article will hopefully give pause to "modernists".

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 19, 2014 2:26 p.m.


    "A style of art, architecture, literature, etc., that uses ideas and methods which are very different from those used in the past"

    For me Modernism is living and thinking according to what we see and hear and understand about the world of today. The opposite being the acceptance of knowledge set down by people from the past.

    Because I see and hear so much false information in the present world I cannot believe that the people of the past were any different in that regard. And because there in/was so great a reward for making people believe the false information, I must try the best I can to filter my receptive senses.

    And because all that has gone before has failed to improve the quality of being human, I would like to use some new strategy if I can.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 19, 2014 1:27 p.m.

    A treatise on 'modernism' that comes across as alarmism. The time, my friend, are a changin, and your unwillingness to accept it indicates a number of things, but not necessarily that you're a victim of bullying.

  • E Sam Provo, UT
    Jan. 19, 2014 12:11 p.m.

    Well, those silly modernists! Why would anyone believe in such foolish ideas? Maybe because your 'modernists' don't actually exist, except in Mr. Sanders fevered imagination? See, this is a textbook example of a straw man argument. Actual factual modernists also think smoking is bad for you to. In fact, we reject all manner of idiocy. Seriously, we do.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 19, 2014 11:44 a.m.

    That is an excellent article that stands for everything that we should all stand for. We are alive which means that we were not aborted. We can read which means that someone sacrificed so that we could have an education. We have sufficient money to buy a newspaper or to buy an electronic device on which we can read, so we have learned how to support ourselves. Why then, would some use those gifts and those skills to destroy our society? Why would anyone preach against the traditional family, when they know that because of a man and a woman they have life? Why would anyone teach our youth to use their procreative power for the pleasure of someone who wants to satisfy his or her sexual needs at their expense without committing to marriage, without committing to stand with a spouse throughout the rest of their physical lives, sharing and caring, helping and sustaining, lifting and assisting?

    No, those who believe in merry making, whose goal is to eat, drink and make merry would destroy all of society so that they can enjoy, for a season, their "party". Shame on them.

  • Stephen Van Orden Mapleton, UT
    Jan. 19, 2014 11:41 a.m.

    As a pluralistic democratic society, we have unlearned the ability to have rigorous social debate that can lead to real synthesis. Compromise has become a dirty word rather than the essential capacity of democracy that it is and must be. As a society, we need to relearn how to listen respectfully, disagree humbly, and work tirelessly for real compromise that builds and strengthens the threads in the fabric of our increasingly interwoven and profoundly interconnected society. We need to raise the level of our debate. Calling out the rhetoric of only one side of the debate does not accomplish this.

  • Stephen Van Orden Mapleton, UT
    Jan. 19, 2014 11:41 a.m.

    Although the author states that "modernists and traditionalists use labels with equal chilling effect on dialogue," he only goes on to expound on the labels that "modernists" use to disparage opposing arguments. I think it is unfair in an opinion piece such as this to only call out the negative rhetoric of one side. It is true that "modernists" tend to use words like "hateful" or "bigoted" too easily. It is also true that in the same arguments traditionalists omnisciently use words like "sinful" and "god's will" to disparage the opinions of others. Neither side can or should claim to be right by definition. Both sides tend to act like they are right by definition. Neither are right by definition.