Daniel Patrick Moynihan could never have imagined how far down America might define deviancy when he penned his seminal essay Defining Deviancy Down.
The diplomat, scholar and four-term Democratic Party senator from New York theorized that deviant behavior had become so pervasive, we must redefine it simply to cope as a nation.
“I wrote that there is always a certain amount of deviancy in a society,” Moynihan said of his 1993 essay. “But when you get too much, you begin to think that it’s not really that bad. Pretty soon you become accustomed to very destructive behavior.”
Millions of Americans are now accustomed to some of the most destructive behaviors imaginable, and recent examples of this demonstrate a breathtaking repudiation of human morality.
An American president publicly expressed support for the surgical mutilation of children. Taxpayers are funding drag queen story hours for three year olds. High school girls are banned from their own locker room because they are uncomfortable sharing it with a boy. A teacher badgers her students not to “judge people just because they wanna have sex with a 5-year-old."
What used to be defined as medical malpractice, criminal molestation, voyeurism and rape is not only acceptable, it’s encouraged and, in some cases, required. It is deviancy defined so downward, it’s positively subterranean.
This descent into cultural mayhem has been a long, slow grind. We like to blame politicians and the news media and Hollywood for this catastrophe but it’s also important to look inward.
The laws, policies and mores of society are written by humans but we have been too willing to permit bad law at the expense of the laws that are written on the heart. These are laws that people innately understand, most simply described as knowing right from wrong.
Your neighbor irritates you but you don’t vandalize his home because that’s wrong. The guy who stole your parking space at the grocery store is a jerk but you don’t key his car because that’s wrong. You may consider taking somebody's stuff when nobody is looking but you don't because that’s wrong.
These laws are written on our hearts by God. Jeremiah the prophet wrote how the Lord declared, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.” The new covenant foretold by Jeremiah was validated in the epistle to the Hebrews, in which God says, “I will put my laws on their hearts and write them on their minds.”
People can have reasonable disagreements over things like tax policy and immigration law. But some things, like raping children and mutilating youngsters, have never been topics of debate in civilized society. That’s because the laws governing such behavior are among those written on our hearts.
Or so we thought.
America today is reflecting what the apostle Paul knew when he wrote in his letter to the Romans, “Since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not be done.”
When we abandon the law written on our hearts, we invite moral hazards. Killing becomes commonplace. Theft runs rampant. Lies and slanders are expected and countenanced. The protection and nurturing of children is supplanted by abuse and exploitation for the pleasure of evil adults.
There are indeed laws that are written on our hearts. But perhaps the time has come to demand civic recognition of these laws rather than simply abide by them. We’re tempted to remain silent because vocalizing these laws might be seen as confrontational, but we become complicit when we refuse to denounce some of the most heinous deviancy in the human experience.
Those promoting and defending the mutilation and rape of children are not simply misguided people. They are malicious individuals whose advocacy on behalf of evil is creating a culture that would horrify Daniel Patrick Moynihan. His analysis of America nearly 30 years ago was wise and the passage of time has revealed his prescience. But not even he could have anticipated what is happening today.
These cultural defects are not normal. This is not a subjective judgement but an objective observation, in that these defects are outside the statistical norm. But the statistical norm is shifting, rapidly. It is shifting because deviancy is being vigorously promoted by the American Left. It is defining deviancy so far down, our fundamental morality as a species is being obliterated, one perversion at a time.
Historians bicker about who said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” but there is no bickering about the truth of that observation. Every shred of this deviancy is coming from the political Left and it is designed to destroy America. Good men must do something about the destructive behavior of which Moynihan warned us before it’s too late.
Scott Hogenson is a political and cultural commentator.