Dennis Prager
On June 9, a man boarded a US Airways flight from Fort Lauderdale to Phoenix, dressed in women's panties, a bra and thigh-high stockings.

No US Airways employee at the Fort Lauderdale airport asked him to cover himself. Nor did any flight attendant ask him to do so. And obviously, no one demanded that he get off the plane.

US Airways spokeswoman Valerie Wunder was asked how the airline allowed a nearly naked cross-dresser to board a plane and sit next to other passengers who, one assumes, did not appreciate being seated next to an exhibitionist.

As reported by the San Francisco Examiner, she "said employees had been correct not to ask the man to cover himself. 'We don't have a dress code policy. Obviously, if their private parts are exposed, that's not appropriate. ... So if they're not exposing their private parts, they're allowed to fly.'"

The decline of American civilization since the 1960s has been so fast and so dramatic that it takes one's breath away.

That a woman speaking on behalf of a major airline can say with a straight face that her airline allows anyone dressed or undressed to fly on its airplanes so long as they do not expose their genitals perfectly encapsulates this decline.

The only question is: How did we get here?

For one thing, the concept of decency is dying. I suspect that if an adult were to say to a group of randomly chosen American college students that this man indecently exposed himself and should not have been allowed to fly, that adult would be a) not understood -- what does "indecent" mean? -- and/or b) roundly condemned for intolerance and bigotry.

To judge this man as acting indecently, not to mention to bar him from flying, is to engage in violating the only values a generation of Americans has been taught: not to judge, not to discriminate, to welcome diversity and to fully accept those who are different, especially in the sexual arena.

That is why I think it is very difficult to have a dialogue on this matter. For those who believe in public "decency," the matter is as clear as a bell -- this was profoundly indecent -- and for those who do not believe in such a concept, the matter is equally clear -- "decency" is an anachronism.

One caller to my radio talk show simply could not see what was so bad about what the man did and that US Airways allowed him to fly. I asked my caller if he thought an airline should ban naked passengers. While he acknowledged that public nudity is against the law, he saw no reason that it should be so. Basically, I suspect that in my caller's view, my opposition to this man being allowed to fly constituted a "hang up."

So the god of tolerance is one reason for the death of the concept of "public decency."

Dennis Prager

Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”

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