Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003), American sociologist, politician and diplomat, published an essay titled “Defining Deviancy Down” in 1993, while he was a Democratic U.S. senator representing New York from 1977 to 2001. The gist of his essay was:

“There is always a certain amount of deviancy in a society. 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.”

The Honorable Edwin Torres, a judge on the New York Supreme Court, is quoted as saying in 1993:

“A society that loses its sense of outrage is doomed to extinction.”

Form your own opinion as to whether or not what both men said 30 years ago is still applicable to the USA today.

— William Greenwell

Terre Haute

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