Author: Ross Douthat
The Decadent Society : How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success by Ross Douthat looks at how the developed world has stagnated over the past few decades and become decadent.
Mark Lilla said in a review for The New York Times that the title “will mislead some potential readers into expecting a tired right-wing screed tracing all our sufferings back to a single cause, whether the Big Bang of the ‘60s or the modern liberalism that allegedly threatens civilization. Douthat is too curious about the world and its contradictions to settle into that mode.”
The review added that Douthat’s chapters on “stagnating innovation and institutional sclerosis as elements of our decadence are more conventional, though informative and well balanced. The least persuasive pages are devoted to pop culture, which he rightly sees as dull and repetitive, but whose significance he vastly overestimates.”
It added: “In the final chapter there is a lot about the need for hope and building a ‘ladder to the stars,’ both figuratively and literally.”