Ed Driscoll

Defining Deviancy Further Downward

Back in 1992, the late Pat Moynihan wrote “Defining Deviancy Down“:

Moynihan argued that deviancy – crime, mental illness, out-of-wedlock births, etc. — had become so rampant, had so thoroughly soaked into the culture, that we simply had to redefine the abnormal as normal to cope. By setting the bar lower, we comforted ourselves with the notion that the percentage of abnormal behavior was still manageable.

Moynihan’s most famous example was the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. That event was a major turning point in American history, credited with helping to convince Americans to abandon prohibition. It warranted two entries in the World Book Encyclopedia. The actual details? Four gangsters murdered seven gangsters.

The CBS affiliate in Chicago notes that this weekend saw 32 shot, two stabbed, and six dead.

Related: “If I want a job cleaning your company