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COLUMN: Media show worldwide moral decline

Common Sense

Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 14:02


Amidst the fantastic coverage of news and sports published in The Utah Statesman, there has always come shockingly to my attention certain opinion columns which have promoted promiscuity, homosexuality, premarital sex, the viewing of pornography and a general disdain for anything virtuous or wholesome in society.

Let me be clear that I hold no ill will towards the author or towards The Utah Statesman for publishing these opinions. Voltaire, said, “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” In other words, certain author’s opinions are simply that — opinions. While I defend someone’s right to their opinion, I can’t in good conscience allow them to spew debauchery and filth without some kind of rebuttal. I can’t allow a person to actively preach about how great pornography is or how fantastic it would be if we all tried out homosexuality and not stand up and say something!

And now, more than ever, we must be heard, right? Anyone who has even picked up a newspaper in the past few years, turned on a television set or who hasn’t actively and forcibly tried to put their head deeper and deeper into sand can tell that there’s something going on with the world and things are quickly spinning out of control.

I mean, can you imagine what would happen if the views that have previously been preached from this platform were the norm? Can you imagine if the norm was to openly view pornography? Do you have any idea the rate of sexual crimes and deviances that begin with pornography? Sometime when you have a spare half hour, why don’t you Youtube “Ted Bundy last interview” and see what pornography did to inspire this particular serial killer of more than 30 women including a little girl from Utah.

What about another issue previously discussed in this very newspaper — premarital sex and promiscuity? This is increasingly becoming the norm in our society. It is glamorized in the media and in movies and even those of us who still claim to have standards and values often support the industry that promotes it. Oftentimes we see a superhero on the big screen that is capable of doing no wrong. He is strong, muscular, handsome, intelligent and rich. He saves lives and stops bad guys and rescues the town from imminent destruction. He’s a real hero and we all love him and wish he weren’t just a story. But wait! Mr. Perfect Hero takes no issue with “making love” — as if love were made in such ways — after a mere couple of minutes of knowing his brand new play thing known as “woman.” Generally, Mr. Perfect Hero picks them up and dumps them like they were a play toy or a ragdoll.

What’s incredible to me is that women in our world will fight tooth and nail for feminist movements and “women’s rights,” particularly to “their own bodies,” but they aren’t disgusted and mortified by the fact that those same bodies are increasingly treated like playthings on the big screen. And yes, we as a world are accepting it more and more.

Another idea which we heard from a previous author’s column platform is that we should embrace homosexuality. Can you imagine if homosexuality were the norm? We would die out as a race in a single generation. Yes, just one. Interestingly enough, if you track the rise and fall of Rome, Pompeii or any other major civilization in history, sexual promiscuity and homosexuality do become the norm right before they destroy themselves. Why, then, should we embrace it?

What we have to realize is this: If we don’t uphold our standards and start standing up and speaking out against immorality — if we don’t start using some common sense — then we will get what we deserve. These things will become the norm. There is no question whatsoever about that.

This campus — this community, this nation — was on fire with opinions from both sides of the issues when it was election time. Now, many of us are too afraid of what others may think to even give them our opinion. Some of us are too lazy or just too busy, but common sense tells us that if we don’t stand up for something, then we will fall for everything. Common sense requires us to speak out to our friends and neighbors about returning to the high standards that used to make America the envy of the world. Common sense cries out for people who are willing give of their time and energy to help others and to love their neighbor. Common sense begs us not to let immorality become the norm. Common sense pleads for good people everywhere to make a difference: people like you. Make the difference.


– Richard Winters is a senior majoring in Law and Constitution Studies and Communication Studies. Send comments to

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Thu Oct 31 2013 22:39
"Interestingly enough, if you track the rise and fall of Rome, Pompeii or any other major civilization in history, sexual promiscuity and homosexuality do become the norm right before they destroy themselves. Why, then, should we embrace it?"

You are a writer for a collegiate paper. You are attending a university in the Great State of Utah. But you seem to have no grasp of causation or correlation. Please. Cease all writing. Forever.

Wed Feb 13 2013 04:11
I would recommend leaving your feelings behind before writing an article.

This article is full of hatred, and the editors of the newspaper should catch that.

We want people to express opinions in a objective fashion, without feelings involved... If that were the case this article could have been accepted differently by people.

"love your neighbor as yourself" even if he or she are GAY.

Mon Feb 11 2013 11:21
OK, folks, time to move on. Nothing to see here. Train wreck is over. Move along. People think differently. We get that... it's old news now.
Mon Feb 11 2013 02:50
Mr. Richards,
I have fought to defend your right to say what you will. Fortunately I didn't have to die doing so, however I did loose a leg. I am damn proud to have served with many remarkable men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq, and some of those brave individuals were gay. They were fighting for a country that wouldn't allow them to openly state their sexual orientation while serving in the military. They were fighting in hopes that our nation would come to its senses, and treat them like human beings. That is the pinnacle of patriotism if you ask me.

By the way... I do have concern about the future of our nation. I do not fear of homosexuality, I fear that someone could be finishing their degree, studying the constitution that I defended, and not understand human rights.

Alex Tarbet
Fri Feb 8 2013 19:59
While I disagree with much of this thing, I admire Winters for the use of his own name. Whether he's right or wrong, at least he thinks he's worthy of his own opinions.

But we ought, he thinks, to agree with him before the conversation has begun. After presupposing its own moral righteousness, the article prods its finger in my chest, stamps its feet, pulls its hair, stomps on its hat, and then stammers drunkenly down the street.

The message? Just don't get in my way.

Thu Feb 7 2013 17:55
Sir, this is some of the most misogynistic, hateful, and moronic writing I have ever read. Unless you're trying to make the argument that homosexuality destroyed Pompeii because it made God angry, then that volcano erupted and killed them due to natural occurrences of the Earth. Also, women's rights should not be limited for anything, and it is reductionistic to assume it is limited to abortion. Ted Bundy watching pornography? Most males have seen pornography. Unlike anything you have said, I can provide unbiased statistics in favor of this. I am going to assume that you are writing as an Latter-Day-Saint, in which case, let me say that this intolerant, hateful propaganda is antithetical to Christianity. On top of being contradictory and disrespectful, not to mention ill-informed of the meaning of your usage of that particular Voltaire quote, this is littered with so many logical fallacies. This isn't an argument. This is your negative opinion that is dubiously supported.

Please never write again. Sorry. I had to post this twice.

Thu Feb 7 2013 17:48
Kudos to you for having an opinion and being willing to share it, Richard. Learn to back it up. While I don't agree with a single thing you've said here, I respect your right to have an opinion. You seem to have strong emotional ties to this argument, yet no logical ones. If you're going to insist on putting our opinion out there, as I think everyone should, learn to do it in a logical, meaningful manner. I also beg you to take your own advice. "Common sense cries out for people who are willing give of their time and energy to help others and to love their neighbor. Common sense begs us not to let immorality become the norm. Common sense pleads for good people everywhere to make a difference: people like you. Make the difference." Learn to love your neighbor, just because they may not agree with you, does not mean that they are wrong or deserve your hatred, as your spewing above, love your neighbor for who they are and what they stand for. If you're going to say immorality is the norm, define what is immoral, because I can guarantee you that your definition is not the same as mine, nor the same as the next person's. Perhaps you should realize that just because you believe it doesn't mean everyone does or should. I want to take your advice and make a difference in the world. I want to make a difference with you. I want you, Richard, to understand that while your opinions are valid, they do not give you the right to push them onto someone else. Nor do they give you the right to judge someone else's actions. We are all given our free agency to choose what we believe to be moral and to follow it. It is not your place to judge another human, only God can do that. So please do God a favor and stop insulting him by trying to do his job for him.
Thu Feb 7 2013 15:31
I don't agree with the examples used to try and make your point, but I do think we should all try to keep our morals high. Now I realize that keeping ones moral standards high is based on the beliefs of the individual. So I am not going to tell you what I think a high moral standard is. (nor do I think anyone should). What I will say, is that by keeping our standards high, (whatever that might mean to you) and doing things in our lives that we believe to be right and good, we show an example. This example you set, is seen by others, and usually will make some one else want to higher their standards. We need leaders, and strong influences in our lives, to help us be better. I think most people would say they want to be better, and want to continue to be better. We should be surrounding ourselves with people we believe to be good influences on us. And turn around, and be a good influence on others around us.

I agree that we need to stand up for what we believe in. But I think it needs to stay at an opinion, and we shouldn't try to get our point across with misguided, misguiding, or even false information. There is a right way to stand up for what we believe in, and be tolerant at the same time. Many of the replies I have read to this preach tolerance, and then turn around and criticize the author for his religious beliefs, and call him a bigot?!?! You just destroyed your own argument! That is not tolerance! I also have a question for those who are preaching this tolerance, exactly how tolerant should I be? Because I am tolerant to what people decide to do with their lives, and I will defend free agency to my last breath! But if I am to be tolerant of others lifestyle choices, they better be tolerant of mine. My tolerance ends when public schools are telling my children and siblings that certain things (OPINIONS AND MORALS THAT SHOULD ONLY BE TAUGHT IN A HOUSEHOLD BY A PARENT) are okay and normal, when that is far from what I believe.

So please, post your OPINIONS freely, respond to others opinions freely. But personal matters need to be kept personal, and not flaunted in front of the world, and most certainly not pushed onto our youth as something acceptable!

Wed Feb 6 2013 20:29
I can at least be grateful to the Statesman for taking part in the fine legacy of freedom of the press, if nothing else than for the fact that it places my enemies in plain view. And I do mean enemy. By its very nature, Mr. Winters' article stands as a trespass against the very concept of human dignity, and it seems rather convenient that he should arrive at such views by means of some of the most glaring and unmistakable instances of non-sequitur logic I have ever had the misfortune of witnessing in another human's written thought. It is nearly impossible to propose a rebuttal for each and every one of the fallacies exhibited in this article in any composed and digestible format, but I shall do my best. Mr. Winters asks "can you imagine...?" whether some of the views and values espoused in the Statesman were considered norms of society. Perhaps not- it would be a radically different society than that in which we now live. What I can imagine is a society in which the moral values of one faction are not imposed by force of consensus upon those who take issue with it- as is allowed them under the founding documents of this nation so long as their own pursuit of happiness does not in some way infringe upon the safety or freedom of their countrymen. I could otherwise, perhaps, imagine Mr. Winters' deep moral indignation arising from some legitimate source if it were informed by even the slightest modicum of rational thought. But it is not. Mr Winters would have me believe that sexual promiscuity and homosexuality prompted the downfall of Rome and Pompeii. I, in turn, find it beyond the furthest capability of my intellect to grasp how such absurd arguments could be recycled and- even more baffling- how such beliefs could possibly be accepted by a functional brain. Leaving aside the fact that Pompeii was destroyed by a volcanic eruption, a quantification of the fall of one of history's most complex, successful, and influential civilizations to a matter of sexual practices is beyond belief. It ignores, for example, the fast financial quandaries that accumulated as an effect of managing an intercontinental empire. It further ignores the continuous rise of the ancient powers who by their envy labored to usurp the glory and wealth of Rome. And it neglects even marginal consideration of the fact that the single greatest fracture in Roman infrastructure came as a result of power disputes prompted by the adoption of Christianity as the state religion. Even so, for the sake of argument I will entertain the possibility. In turn, I will ask how Greece (Macedon, if we must be technical) managed to advance its cultural ideals and the boundaries of its empire from the Balkans to Egypt, Persia, and India in a space of decades while valuing homosexual love on equal- even superior- terms as it did with heterosexual love. I defy Mr. Winters to explain away the absolutely crucial cultural legacy of Greece on such terms.And as a final word on the logical inconsistency of Mr Winters' assertions, I must ask on what grounds he concluded that accepting homosexual practices as an element of society entails the extinction of our species. Is that to say that acknowledging their right to exist and live freely means that no man and no woman shall ever again lay together and procreate? That our natural state is to seek after the same sex and that only our moral templates obligate us to members of the opposite sex? This is not common sense, this is palpably ridiculous, and Mr Winters should be ashamed for having supposed it as a valid argument. But while being demonstrably illogical, I consider Mr. Winters claims to be extremely dangerous to the pursuits of civilization and humanism. I very seriously doubt whether Mr. Winters considered the fact that the Third Reich- one of the blackest and most chilling installments in human history- took a moral stand on these very issues. I doubt whether he knew that Weimar Germany was one of the most culturally and sexually flexible instances in the European legacy, and whether he knew that it was Hitler's disgust at pornography and homosexuality that prompted him to imprison and exterminate their practitioners wholesale (an accommodation also extended to the mentally ill). While the Third Reich did not subsist wholly on such ideologies, and while Mr. Winters thankfully does not endorse such measures, the correlation is apparent in both narratives, as both actively devalue the worth of humans whose sense of morality is not congruent with their own. Such absolutist evaluations of morality remain with us today, and continue to exert their atrocious aims upon the human race. One must look no further than Iran, under whose law women have been degraded and abused beyond a conscientious mind's capacity to stomach. So too has it victimized homosexuals, political dissidents, and Zoroastrians to the point of imprisonment, execution, and exile. In such a way has Christianity also been convicted of grievous...
Wed Feb 6 2013 15:50
"You need to get laid"?
Really? That is the best argument against someone suggesting morals have declined? Way to make his argument even more obvious, and true, dude.
Wed Feb 6 2013 12:39
I disagree with your general conclusion here. People talk about how "bad" things are getting -- but the truth is, premarital sex, rape, and violence have been around since the dawn of man. Nowadays we just have more people and more media exposure to it all. I think you're comparing "now" to maybe the 50s -- a time when people were decent, and did immoral things in private.
Sexual immorality is not what caused the downfall of Rome and Pompeii, and it won't be the downfall of our society. I'm not promoting promiscuity or James Bond movies here. I just think corruption, greed, apathy, disregard for the environment, hate, intolerance etc... these things are what we really need to watch out for.
You say: "Common sense cries out for people who are willing give of their time and energy to help others and to love their neighbor." Yep. I agree with you there. But I disagree common sense does not mean we should be watchdogs of sin, calling out our neighbors for being too gay or for sexing it up.
Tue Feb 5 2013 23:28
Whoa slow down there! Someone is jumping to conclusions. While I found this entire column baffling there are a few points that seemed particularly of. While pornography has many issues like creating unrealistic sexual expectations inspiring murder is hardly something that it is guilty of. In fact its entirely inconclusive whether pornography increases sexual violence, has no effect, or actually decreases sexual violence. Next the comments about premarital sex I found to be quit uninformed about the feminist struggle. Feminists having been arguing that media degrades and objectifies women since before I was born. This however is a slower struggle since controlling what people say or do is not plausible nor desirable in out society so educating the public has been the priority. You should watch the "Killing Us Softly: Advertising's Image of Women," it's fascinating and has had multiple updated publications since the late seventies. Reproductive health issues are something that is simply seen as more pressing and legally combatable. Premarital sex is really not a feminist issue. If sex is consensual then by all means have at it. Though the entire institution of marriage is a big area of study in feminism as it can be seen as one of the greatest oppressors of women, but that's all besides the point.
Embracing homosexuality for most people means accepting people who identify as part of LGBTQ spectrum. The consensus among the LGBTQ community is that you are born with a sexual orientation. Science again is inconclusive but points to a complicated biological and social/environmental factors as causes of homosexuality. Basically people can't be turned gay. As for Rome, I would hardly call homosexuality the norm. We should all remember the correlation does not imply causation.
Lastly, I don't really think there is anything inherently amoral about pornography, pre-martial sex, or homosexuality.
Tue Feb 5 2013 20:53
["Interestingly enough, if you track the rise and fall of Rome, Pompeii or any other major civilization in history, sexual promiscuity and homosexuality do become the norm right before they destroy themselves. Why, then, should we embrace it?"]
I feel like you yourself have not studied this yourself. Did you just hear it one day? Something however that was accepted by Rome a lot closer to the end of Rome, relative to its long history, was Christianity. I do not blame Christianity for the fall of Rome. I blame government mismanagement and uncontrolled growth. I agree that there is a lot of violence and a lot of disrespect of people in general in entertainment media. I am grateful for your opinion I just wish it was a little bit more studied.
Tue Feb 5 2013 20:32
Correlation doesn't equate to causality. Common statistics.
nshmpl anticipate
Tue Feb 5 2013 19:47
Gone are the days where Blacks worked for free. Gone are the days where woman were subservient to men. Gone are the days where we could displace the Native peoples and take their land for our benefit. (I am being sarcastic if you did not pick that up)

Once upon a time, in the United States' history this was the NORM. Immorality was used to distinguish people who were different from and treat them as such. I am not sure of where you think that the United States has been the most moral nation in the world, or that our morals are somewhat better than others. From your standard, one could theoretically argue that Iran has the highest standards of morality. Women are not aloud to be scandalous nor wear anything provocative, homosexually is strictly forbidden, and pornography is not exemplified in the media. But is this how a society should function?

I am not sure how you define immorality as well. How does an individual's private actions make them immoral when it is their choice has nothing to do with how society functions? I think you misconstrue arguments by saying that homosexuality or looking at pornography should be the norm, with people advocating acceptance and tolerance and not the ostracization of individuals who you believe to engage in immoral activities.

I mean, how is an individual who is a homosexual who helps their community and promote tolerance immoral? Has this to do with a religious base argument? If so, why should religious organizations dictate immorality against certain groups of people and not all individuals who are immoral? Is a a CEO of a corporation that exploits children and women in non-developed countries immoral? Is a person who overindulges in material things immoral because they do not give all they have to charity?

You make an argument about Ted and the effects of pornography, could it possible be that he was mentally ill? I mean, how often has religions caused war and destruction and the mutilation of individuals? Does this make religion immoral, or no because they do it in the name of a higher being? (Note: I do not criticize religion I do frequent services so do not take this out of context)

While do you do have the right to state YOUR OPINION, your choice of words calling other peoples ideas full of debauchery and filth without justification is what people criticize. Why is it that peoples individuals actions somehow make them "immoral?" Why is it acceptable to treat them as such? While I do not advocate people that people should be homosexuals, or that they watch pornography or that they be risque, I do advocate tolerance. Why should we say that a homosexual is the moral equivalent to Ted Bundy? It makes no sense to do so.

Tue Feb 5 2013 19:02
"Can you imagine if homosexuality were the norm? We would die out as a race in a single generation."
Pornography being Ted Bundy's motivation.

Statements like this are what is wrong with the country right now. I am accepting of human beings, and preferences are everyone's right. Given the fact that I am 100% for equal rights and I have not turned gay, your little brain fart of a theory goes straight down the drain.
If your views of these issues were not clouded by your religious biases, I would factually break your argument and try to illustrate some reason. But clearly that is not the case and your brainwashed opinion is now being spewed over the internet.
I implore you to give up your abandon your wasted education and go crawl back to whatever rock you have been living under. It is time for people that want everyone to be happy and content to stop allowing hate spewing individuals such as yourself abuse the right of free speech. You have no idea of what the persecution of an individual for being themselves feels like. Get a freakin clue!

Tue Feb 5 2013 18:32
What a load of nonsense.

The author begins by making the presumption that homosexuality is immoral, which is a rather bold assertion which goes unsubstantiated. We do not all draw our morals from an idealized fantastical interpretation of the 1950s, Mr. Winters. Where you see increased homosexuality, I see a society growing more tolerant of a subset of humanity that has been reviled for generations. It gives me hope.

He continues by pointing out 'increased promiscuity' in the media, again positing a claim without any evidence or basis other than what he perceives measured against his own personal moral yardstick. He sees moral decay in our increased use of pornography, premarital sex, and the increased prominence of a concept so terrifying he has to render it in scare-quotes: "women's rights."

It may be a comforting narrative to think that we were once a bastion of morals and fortitude, and that society is careening toward an apocalyptic end on a slide greased with the lube of the promiscuous masses. It may fit the narrative of your particular holy book of choice. You may see yourself as a champion of the old guard, a defender of the faith, and an upstanding representation of what we ought to be. I am afraid that your narrative is wrong.

By nearly every metric we have, the society we live in is currently less evil and degraded than it ever has been.

As for pornography, while Mr. Winters pulls out the single data point of the lunatic Ted Bundy, the evidence seems to indicate that increased access to pornography actually decreases sexual violence.

I have to ask, though, Mr. Winters. If you encountered conclusive proof that the world is getting less evil, people are happier and treated better than ever, and that pornography actually reduces sexual violence, could you accept that the world might actually be getting better, or does that so strongly conflict with your internal narrative that you would reject it out of hand?

Tue Feb 5 2013 18:06
How can homosexuality become the norm with how often sex with women is "promoted"? Seems to be a contradiction. I am not gay, you are not gay, and your friends are not gay. (if they were gay, then they would not be your friends.) Looks like there are plenty of women for us to choose from now that an entire generation has "chosen" to be gay.

As for Rome, you really nailed it. Barbarian invasions and a thinly spread military had nothing to do with the decline of the empire. It was guys that liked penis. (Does that word make you uncomfortable?)

As for porn, there are two words I have for you: personal choice. This is one of the values you hold so dear right? "agency"

How about this, we will choose weather or not to watch porn and superhero movies. You can choose to bash people that weren't raised with a stiff moral agenda like your own. Don't worry, there are plenty of like-minded ignorant people on campus to interview. Their intolerance combined with your own will surely help solidify the fact that your writing indicates you to be a self-righteous a*****.

Tue Feb 5 2013 17:11
I also, "disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
But I MUST speak out against such blatant, spiteful, arrogant, ignorance.
Your sad, narrow, view of the world and the supposed cause and effect of social norms are disturbingly oversimplified, childish and disconnected with reality. Perhaps its time to go out into the real world and examine some of these "horrors" of sex, homosexuals, heroes, and perhaps actual women, first hand.
You have demonstrated your complete lack of understanding of history, culture, homosexuality, or sexuality.
You have set the bar for the most astounding level of not knowing a damn thing about the world.
God save your ignorant little soul.
I pray you get laid, or if not, watch some porn, make some gay friends, talk to girls about how THEY feel about laws regarding their bodies, and the cultural norms, and read a book other than the Bible, soon. Or I fear you, yourself, will turn out a serial killer....(Did you actually YouTube "Ted Bundy's last interview"?!?! ... need I say more?)

P.S. Pompeii didnt have a rampant homosexuality problem, it had a rampant LAVA problem. Im pretty sure the fall of the Roman Empire had more to do with the over-extended military campaigns which drained the national economy, exposing massive government corruption and to cover this up, the citizens needed more obscene entertainment, (like crucifying Christians for fun. See: Gladiator (2000)), and the consequence of this quest to maintain global military dominance and power, caused the Roman Empire to fall... and "Great" Britain... and now, America.

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