Friday, October 15, 2010


The late U S Senator Daniel P. Moynihan remarked in 1993 that we were defining deviancy downward. But all things considered, we are a much freer and less deviant culture than we once were if we define deviancy as abnormal behavior. Contrary to Moynihan, we are not slipping into a moral morass from which we will never recover. One only has to consider how far we have come from stoning women for adultery as is the recommended punishment according to the bible.

In more recent times the blacks in our country were considered less than second class citizens. It was only with the passage of the civil rights act that they were given first class status. Women were not allowed to vote until 1920 when the constitution was finally amended. Women were sterilized in the United States as late as 1979 in the state of Virginia under authority of the United States Supreme court. Men of course were similarly fixed, but not to the same degree. Strange that the thought of sterilizing men was apparently never considered as seriously as for women. Divorce is now routinely allowed with just the consent of the parties. Previously, women especially, suffered in silence in unhealthy relationships because they were not allowed to divorce except by proving to a court there was infidelity or brutality of some kind. Divorce was not a good option for women because job opportunities were routinely denied to them in such professions as medicine, especially surgery, dentistry, law and they were denied mortgages and scorned if they had children out of wedlock. Women spent their lives as spinsters if not married, or divorced, unable to secure work except as school teachers or nurses. Witches were burned at the stake, but never warlocks.

Abortions were hidden, women forced by social convention to leave home and spend months in homes for wayward mothers usually giving up the child for adoption. Though even today, our wonderful Congress still would like to punish women who become pregnant by refusing to allow abortions. Congress and the administration would like to define who can get married, what research can be done with stem cells. Not too long ago the government decided on what we could drink and now they define what drugs we can consume. I needn’t cite other examples, the list goes on, and today in some countries these very same conditions and some even worse exist today, and we decry the fact that they exist, forgetting we supported them once. A great book like the bible which has spun at least three great religions allows us to stone women to death who have committed the sin of adultery. Who but Senator Moynihan and administrations such as we have now, want to go back to the old days? Thank God we have become a more tolerant society. Moynihan was right, we have not only defined deviancy downward but have gotten rid of a lot of it. Sure, there are problems with freedom, but on balance it has been good for us and for our children. They meet each other more openly and are more tolerant to diversity.

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