Restoring the Sacred

Monday, July 22, 2013

Words of Relevance: Daniel P. Moynihan

In a paper entitled: "Defining Deviancy Down,"written for The American Scholar, in 1993,  Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who worked in both Republican and Democrat administrations before serving four terms in the United States Senate, as a Democrat, representing the state of New York, warned of the impending results of our changing culture.  The breakdown of the American family, as he saw it, was the source of most of our cultural ills, and all those ills were exasperated by our willingness to accept new “standards” of behavior.  Sounds a bit like “the new normal,” doesn’t it?

Here’s the quote:

I proffer the thesis that, over the past generation...the amount of deviant behavior in American society has increased beyond the levels the community can"afford to recognize" and that, accordingly, we have been re-defining deviancy so as to exempt much conduct previously stigmatized, and also quietly raising the "normal" level in categories where behavior is now abnormal by any earlier standard. 

Imagine a politician today - especially a Democrat - having the courage to call deviant behavior, deviant.

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