Sunday, December 15, 2013

“Defining Deviancy Down”

That phrase was coined by former Senator and social psychologist, (D) Daniel Patrick Moynihan, back in 1993, as a result of the high crime statistics that existed in New York City at that time. It was a time when the new Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, came in with a clean up New York City mandate from the voters. The time had come, and even though Giuliani was a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic city, that the Moynihan phrase hit a nerve that described the situation to a tee and the people voted for Giuliani over the former Mayor, Democrat David Dinkins.

His theory, in a nutshell, is a theory that clearly implies that there are circumstances in which society will choose not to notice behavior that would be otherwise controlled, or disapproved of, or even punished. We had been re-defining deviancy so as to exempt much conduct which was previously stigmatized, and also raising the “normal” level in in categories where behavior is now abnormal by any of the earlier community standards.

Since that time, this theory of “defining deviancy down” has been applied to movies, dress codes, sexual indiscretions, corporate behavior, etc. The question that might be asked today is, “Do standards of behavior mean anything today”? Have we so lost sight of what is right or wrong, so that we are very close to the notion that “anything goes”, and that people should not make moral judgments as to what is right or wrong?

Dumbing down the educational system, deinstitutionalization of mental patients, acceptance of criminal violence, the incessant attack on the institution of marriage, having the stigma of permissive sex and out-of-wedlock births no longer frowned upon because that is being overly judgmental, and the willing acceptance of drug usage as being a normal happening in our society, have all contributed to the theory of “defining deviancy down”.

Shouldn’t we, as an educated society, be aiming to be striving for “defining deviancy up”, so as to get society back on the right track? But, the ever present thorn in the side of doing the right thing, is that “evil” phrase, “political correctness”, which inevitably will raise its ugly head to stifle any change for the better. The P.C. Police, which is made up by unelected, mostly liberal busybodies, seems to want to control behavior that they think is right, according to their philosophy, and god forbid you disagree with them, all hell will break loose. Gay marriage, legalization of marijuana (masqueraded as medical marijuana), distribution of condoms and abortion information in our schools are examples of “political correctness” run amok.

Given the manifest decline of the American civic order, too many people are getting used to a lot of behavior that most people feel is not good for society. More people should become alarmed at the “trivialization” of the high crime rate (ex. Chicago murders in mostly inner city areas), the lowering of our educational standards in order to push students through school thereby turning out many more “functional illiterates” than is acceptable, the acceptance of many of the deviant sexual mores as “normal”, and the turning of a blind eye of behavior that accepts drug use, as normal, by the average person.

So yes, we have “defined deviancy down” and we, as a nation, will one day have to pay the piper for our lack of due diligence and sobriety. Our young people have a big burden to bear to “right a listing ship of state”. Good luck for them and for America.

Conservative commentary by Chuck Lehmann

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George G said...

Not meaning to sound redundant, deviancy down arises when diaeased
complacency becomes a social anomaly by liberal design.

Al Brice said...

The chickens are coming home to roost. Did you see where a federal judge just approved the act of polygamy? First gay marriage, now polygamy, is incestuous marriage next, or maybe pedophile relationships? Is there no end to "defining deviancy down"? Elections do have consequences.