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Defining Deviancy Down

The title is a reference to a concept espoused decades ago by U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY). The idea was not original to Moynihan, but the phrase meant that as bad behavior becomes more pervasive a limit is crossed and society simply begins to accept it.

The same year that Senator Moynihan gained notice for his comments, columnist Charles Krauthammer expanded Moynihan’s point by suggesting the opposite. Not only were we “normalizing what was once considered deviant,” but we were also “finding deviant what was once considered normal.” As morals decline, the rejection of morality also occurs. We see …

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