Episode 61 | The Decadent Society with Ross Douthat

The Decadent Society with Ross Douthat

Decadence isn’t a word most of us use on a daily basis, and yet author and columnist Ross Douthat believes that it perfectly captures the state of a largely stagnant and sclerotic American culture.

In his book,
The Decadent Society, Douthat explores both the meaning of decadence and the trajectory that led us there. But in addition to diagnosing our state of cultural stagnation, he points with great hope toward societal renewal:

“I think the escape from decadence is probably a dynamic thing where technology, politics, and religion are all sort of operating together, but it’s hard to imagine it happening without a really strong religious element within it.” – Ross Douthat

This conversation is being released for the first time as part of our podcast series on the Challenges of Modernity, and we hope you’ll both enjoy it and that it provokes you to consider those paths toward societal renewal that give Douthat hope.

This podcast is an edited version of a conversation recorded in 2020. Learn more about Ross Douthat.

Authors and books mentioned in the conversation:

The Decadent Society: How we Became Victims of our Own Success, by Ross Douthat
From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to the Present: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, by Jacques Barzun
Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen
Steven Pinker
Brave New World, by Alduous Huxley
Kar Marx
Rod Dreher
Rob Bell
James Pike
Pope Francis
Peter Thiel
Martin Luther
Ignatius of Loyola
Watership Down by Richard Adams
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Related Trinity Forum Readings:

A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
City of God by St. Augustine of Hippo
Children of Light and Children of Darkness by Reinhold Niebuhr
Letter from a Birmingham Jail by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Brave New World, by Alduous Huxley

Related Conversations:
Rebuilding our Common Life with Yuval Levin
The Challenge of Christian Nationalism with Mark Noll and Vincent Bacote
The Decadent Society with Ross Douthat
Science, Faith, Trust and Truth with Francis Collins
Beyond Ideology with Peter Kreeft and Eugene Rivers
Justice, Mercy, and Overcoming Racial Division with Claude Alexander and Mac Pier
Healing a Divided Culture with Arthur Brooks
After Babel with Andy Crouch and Johnathan Haidt
Trust, Truth, and The Knowledge Crisis with Bonnie Kristian
Hope in an Age of Anxiety with Curtis Chang & Curt Thompson

To listen to this or any of our episodes in full, visit ttf.org/podcast and to join the Trinity Forum Society and help make content like this possible, join the Trinity Forum Society

Special thanks to Ned Bustard for our podcast artwork.