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Notes & Comments

April 2011

Groves of depravity

Academic freedom debased.

Longtime readers of these Notes will recall our fondness for Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s essay “Defining Deviancy Down,” which appeared in The American Scholar back in 1993, before that magazine descended to its current state of politically correct irrelevance. In that essay, Senator Moynihan outlined some of the manifold ways in which our society has attempted to deny deviancy by redefining it as normal or even, in some instances, as glamorous. In case after case, he showed how behavior that would have been considered unacceptable just a few years ago is excused or championed as normal. The result has been a blunting of our sensibilities and an increasing impotence in the face of social breakdown. Inured to the outrageous, we can barely recognize deviance as such, much less take effective action against it.

Senator Moynihan was concerned primarily with such glaring urban pathologies as illegitimacy, drug abuse ...

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 29 April 2011, on page 1

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