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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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
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?
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:
What do others think about exceptionalism?"Nationalism is an
infantile thing"- Albert EinsteinThink he would
write letters bragging about Utah's exceptionalism?
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.
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.
As a concept, exceptionalism makes me uncomfortable.
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. Norway2. Denmark3. Australia4. New
Zealand5. Sweden6. Canada7. Finland8. Switzerland9. The Netherlands10. The United StatesIt 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 Rica2. Norway3. Denmark4. Vietnam5. Canada6. Columbia7. The Netherlands8. Belize9. Sweden10. 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.
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)
"Excpetionalism" was the hallmark of the Nazis.Pride goes
before the fall...
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?
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.
If I want silly correlations then I'll go w/ Rolling Stone's article
(about Memorial day) with the link between Metal Bands & a countries wealth.
1 aggie said, "No wonder Mormons have the highest opinions of themselves
when compared to other groups."Actually I think it is just the
opposite of what you say. It is only an insecure person that needs to keep
patting themselves on the back that continues to talk about their own
exceptionalism. That much patting on one's own back might lead to injury!
The piece suggests "...effective religion..." is an essential element in
preserving cherished American Exceptionalism.What are the metrics
defining effective?Who decides which religion?
I find the whole idea of someone saying "I'm special" to be creepy.
It's even creepier when there's an obvious motive, such as more votes
or increased sales of something. If someone or something is REALLY special,
everyone will know soon enough.
"Tooting the horn" seems to be a requirement at the DN. Utah
and its citizens have many good qualities. However, I keep reading comments here
that the schools are mediocre and underfunded, and I am troubled that a State
with such a highly religious population has a divorce rate that is average among
all 50 States. Massachusetts, which is often villified here for its Gay marriage
and liberalism, has about 50$ fewer divorces per capita.The writer
enjoys living where his neighbors attend his church: I see the value of that,
but America in the 21st Century is about diversity -- you can't have
sameness and diversity.Yes, it is a pretty good state, but, as
someone else pointed out, pride goeth before the fall, so it is good to check
yourself when boasting.And let's not forget that some of us
think your attempts to thwart equality for your Gay citizens does not make you
to ECR yesterdayAgreed 147.3%re: steamrollerYou forgot idealistic to the point of being delusional and two-faced.In short... "After coming into contact with a religious man I always feel
I must wash my hands." -- Friedrich Nietzsche