DEFINING. DEVIANCY. Do,l. How We’ve Become Accustomed to Alarming Levels. Of Crime and Destructive Behavior. BY DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN. Pat Moynihan, the great politician-intellectual, warned about the dangers of ” defining deviancy down,” in which worse and worse behavior. NEW YORK CITY — The late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan caught the decline of the culture two decades ago, observing that we’re “defining.

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Tis the season for the Mefi Mall – shop fine products by Mefites! Defining Deviancy Down June 16, 1: As the amount of deviancy increases, the community has to adjust its standards so that conduct once thought deviant is no longer deemed so.

Consequently, if we are not vigilant about enforcing them, our standards would be constantly devolving in order to normalize rampant deviancy. Shortly after Moynihan’s article, Charles Krauthammer offered his now-famous response to Moynihan’s article in which he argued that the corollary is that society can also “define deviancy up.

One might feel compelled to ask, ” Do standards even mean anything?

I plan to browse all these links when I get home. Not much here for us pro-deviancy types Seth, this is a fantastic and very complex and well-thought out post. Thank you for sharing these links with us.

Put me on the pro-suits list. Of course, I’m required by law to dsfining that “social acceptance of behavior that a few decades ago would have been firmly condemned” is moynijan many cases a very good thing. So basically, so many people have nose rings and tribal tattoos that they are no longer deviant, and deviancy has been defined up to body mutilation and facial tattoos excluding Ta Mokowhich are culturally accepted, culturally defining even, if you’re Maori Does that frame the concepts?

It’ll all end in tight high collars and bowler hats, you mark my words. ASCII has withstood the test of time. No word yet as to whether those other freaks will be sticking around.

Some are already largely gone. Is it socially acceptable to have that many links in a first post? I come in here expecting at least a snark or two about a FPP which includes a link to an article which starts off with a discredited bit of nonsense this is in Charles Krauthammer’s article, the 6th link: Ina survey was taken of teachers asking them to list the five most important problems in school.

Fifty years later, the survey was repeated. The list was substantially revised: Moyninan could cite a mountain of statistics.

One could supply one’s own anecdotal evidence. But this list will suffice to make the obvious point that there has been an explosion of deviancy in American society over the last fifty years. Things have gotten out of hand. Please to see snopes.

Defining deviancy down essay

Any discussion which starts out with assumptions about what constitutes “decency” and whether “standars have declined” is surely asking for a bit of rigour in its research, no? I have to say it: So does this mean that you can just do what you want as it will soon be normal?

But I too wish to patronise the newbie – very interesting links, well put together. So basically, so many people have nose rings and tribal tattoos that they are no longer deviant, and deviancy has been defined up to body mutilation and facial tattoos excluding Ta Moko, which are culturally accepted, culturally defining even, if you’re Maori I’ve heard that the Hip Urban Crowd in India shuns piercings and tattoos.


They associate such behavior with their conservative old grandparents and the ever-so-far-from-cool rurals. Shortly before Bloom’s article appeared, that same paper ran a news story about yet another instance of sliding norms—in this case, involving how the military deals with its deserters. I remember reading about a scholarly conference in Belgium some years ago on the subject of executions for desertion during World War I.

One of the participants argued that it would be wrong to regard the fleeing soldiers as derelict in their duty; they weren’t deserting, silly, they were “merely exploring the boundaries of consent and personal motivation in a democracy at war” the moynihn being somewhat to the rear. That argument has now been embraced in spirit by the U. Army, which today—even under the Bush Administration and in time of war—almost never prosecutes deserters and, according to the news account, takes a “passive, cown approach to its runaways.

No American has been shot for desertion since I find it shocking, shocking that the US military no longer executes deserters. Can social chaos be far behind?

One diwn feel compelled to ask: Is the idea that “things are getting worse” nothing more than an ideologically driven meme? Things don’t get worse or better: The two links I’ve seen so far here are hardly credible evidence of a “decline in standards”.

But I too wish to patronise the newbie Can’t tell if this is double-layered or triple-layered irony, but it sure is tasty. It suggests that if we don’t get back to the good old values of our ancestors, things will just go to hell shortly.

It suggests that we must adapt to the brave new world in order to take advantage of all of the wonderful new opportunity. It is easy to find specific examples that illustrate either meme. It devlancy much harder to demonstrate that things are getting better or worse at the global scale.

Oh, and please to provide a definition of “deviancy”. That would be much appreciated.

Seeing as the way I live my life single mother, lotsa homo friends, ex-husband now living with current partner but not married, all of us friendly, me partaking in various pleasures that are more common amongst people half my age– running off to Coachella for the weekend to stand in a crush of people just to see the Pixies, for example– and sending my son to an alternative school that doesn’t give grades or have exams would have been seen forty or even thirty years ago as deviant, I have a bit of a vested interest in this.

But isn’t it possible for change to have a net negative effect on “hapiness” for lack of a better word or phrase?

Defining Deviancy Down

The problem is that saying ddefining given trend is “bad” often feels uncomfortable. A feviancy pregnancy is a tough thing and the girl in question needs support, not lectures. But what to do about teen pregnancy the trend? One is left with something along the lines of “hate the sin, love the sinner” that we laughed at when it was voiced by previous generations.

Everything can be “normal” and we can cefining no standards so as not to offend those who fall outside our bounds, but there are consequences of that choice. The fourteenth link is a book by Robert Bork, of all people.

From the Publisher’s Review: Bork sounds a very sobering alarm. We can accept our fate and try to insulate ourselves from the effects of a degenerating culture, or we can choose to halt the beast, to oppose modern liberalism in every arena.

In the view of Robert Bork, an understanding of our problem and the will to resist may be our only hope. Moynijan will argue that this is a bad FPP because it is essentially contentless.


This is “backed up” by anecdotal opinion pieces citing dubious to say the least statistics. This isn’t really a post sharing the “best of the web”; it’s a propaganda tract. That raises the question: Does the problem lie with Bono’s use of the word “fuck”, with the corporate traders of Deviandy joking of how they were jamming obscenely overpriced power up one of Grandma Millie’s orifices, or elsewhere?

Defining deviancy down – Washington Times

But, I like this post for the fact that it poses a deep question which will never go away – it will only be wrestled over by contending societal forces I mean, not in the terms outlined by this post, which have to do with changes in social attitudes towards behaviours once considered “deviant”.

I’m not sure what even constitutes “deviancy” in this argument: I’m not exactly sure what the “deviancy” referred to in the FPP moyinhan supposed to be. The trend, in Canada at least, is that teen pregnancies are declining, mostly due to better education and access to condoms.

And it should feel uncomfortable to say that a given trend and one has to be definjng careful about the perception of what is a “trend” and what is not is “bad”. It indicates sloppy thinking. My age forbids me from making statements over a few words long so I will just say that somewhere in all this there ought to be a reference to the notion of a Tipping Point, ie, when divorce was not socially acceptable, few divorced. Increasingly people divorced and now of course it is right to the point that some long-marrieds wonder if in fact there is something wrong with them.

You don’t have to be a “Conservative” to decry Defining Deviancy Down. Tom Tomorrow toon on Salon, nuisance required to see last 3 panels posted by wendell at 3: And back when divorce was definung socially acceptable, there were many, many, bitterly unhappy couples. Is it a bad thing that such couples can now be free of each other? Congratulations on your first post, Seth! I will only say this, because the post exists for you to arise your own conclusions at: The post is regarding Moynihan’s theory.

It shows various applications of it. It shows one writer’s counter-argument. It shows some that agree with Moynihan’s theory, and some that don’t. Some think it is a irreversible downward spiral Borkand some believe that our community can overcome anything. I know you are not used to seeing a post with various viewpoints, but that is what I tried to offer. It has no political leaning and doesn’t relate specifically to any type of behavior. Definkng other words, the post is not my endorsement of everything in every one of the links, but rather different views of it that you can choose from.

It is not one coherent argument, but different glimpses of a theory. But for what it is worth, how can something be contentless and propaganda?

No, I’m not saying that, unless what moyinhan mean is that badly constructed Mefi FPPs should be considered deviant. I’ve already noted why I think the FPP is a bad post; but it would never occur to me to ask Matt to delete it.

Otherwise, let me look at this again

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