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Moynihan makes a compelling case that the 1960s' moral deregulation resulted in an epidemic of deviancy in crime, family life, and public displays of insanity. Moynihan has the endorsement of Charles Krauthammer, but he believes that is just half the story. He argues that today's concept of deviancy is based on child neglect, incest, and thought crimes. He claims that what was once considered natural is now considered illegal. The deviant has been normalized, and the regular has been shown to be the deviant.
In his essay The American Scholar, Daniel Patrick Moynihan provides an enthralling outlook on deviancy. He mentions deviancy of criminality, family breakdown and mental illness s some of the issues that have come to mark America's social landscape. Deviancy has reached alarming levels and hence call for one form of denial and that is to deal with it by defining away most of the epidemic. To do this, the levels of what is regarded as normal need to be lowered so as to maintain the volume of deviancy. The redefined deviancy needs to be within the manageable proportions.
The first is over the years cases of single parenthood has risen more than three times with nearly 30 percent of all American children currently born to unmarried mothers. A monstrous social problem arises from associating fatherlessness to poverty and crime among other things. The problem has grown since culture and mass media have redefined it among other as an alternative lifestyle. Secondly, according to Moynihan we have been hardened by crime that was not just acceptable some 30 years back. Today over half of all violent crimes are not even reported and crimes like homicide are seen as ineradicable making it part of the social landscape. Lastly, is a mental illness which has not witnessed a rise over the last thirty years leaving the mental hospitals empty. These mentally ill people have ended up on the streets of American cities. Like family breakdown and criminality this has been welcomed as part of the natural landscape. They are not sick but are just poor since they have been totally abandoned.
The explosion of deviancy is a result of the deregulation that marked the 1960s. we have addressed it by defining deviancy down to make it “normal” yet it what long ago the society would define as deviant. Charles Krauthammer supports this though he admits that this is just half the story. He argues that for the deviant to be normalized and it’s the normal who ought to be found to be deviant. For criminals, the deviancy has been defined down, but for the ordinary bourgeois it has been defined up. Ordinary behavior has been defined up and now innocent behavior is condemned as deviant making the ordinary middle-class exposed as home of violence and abuse. New areas of deviancy have been discovered like date rape and politically wrong speech while old ones such as child abuse have been validated through things such as reports. It’s a proof that deviancy is not for the crazies and criminals but rather blooms in the hearts of the middle class. They stand unmasked and have been object of ridicule but are now they are under indictment.
Moral deconstruction of the middle-class normality is a huge project and many people ae working on it and they have made some significant success in defining deviancy up. Moynihan identified the significant success have witnessed success as crime, family life and thought disorders. Family life in the ordinary middle-class family has been found to be, source of depressions, a cauldron of pathology and a mixed dysfunction of adulthood since child abuse lies as a worm in the family. Child abuse is not only a crime but also a tragedy and currently common than thirty years back (Krauthammer). It's unbelievable that improved treatment of children has been realized in just one generation, actually it hasn’t. The reason for this is over-reporting with nearly a third of child abuses cases being thrown out for lack of evidence while today up to two-thirds are dismissed.
Under-reporting is a measure of desensitization where out of three cases, about two are never reported. However, people have been over-sensitized on child abuse yet deviancy has been defined up. Two in three reported cases of child abuse are never shown to have taken place. Child abuse epidemic is brought about by factors like over-reporting and changing standards about corporal punishment in the society. The new ideology to of child abuse is search for cases and inventing them where they cannot be found. Popular culture is filled with cases of child abuse and it’s easy to suggest to the weak that their issues are brought about by long-ago abuse even when one has no recollection of any abuse (Krauthammer). Patient can make fiction to look like real memory to please a trusted therapist when he or she suggests so. They are pleased since it’s a new ideology for neurosis. Presently researchers and therapists promote the fashion that fantasies are true. They search for childhood sexual abuse even when a patient reports common ailments of modern life. New psychology is founded and reinforced on notions on pathology of ordinary family life.
Today neurosis is the outcome of the criminal acts taking place in normal-looking families. Rape used to be understood as involving threat or force but this is not so today since it has been expanded to include date rape which involve what for long was viewed as normal rather than criminal (Krauthammer). The figures of reported rape cases are so many even in colleges. The figures are marked with huge discrepancies from the figures availed by the different agencies. The reason for this is that deviancy has been defined up since rape has been expanded to include behavior one would not consider as rape. Even the victims themselves did not recognize some of the acts as rape and did not consider themselves to have been raped.
Calling when two minds reluctantly yet freely have sex when they did not really want to do so as rape would make many face the charge for rape. Rape has been radically defined up to include things like offering a drink leading to sexual deviancy epidemic. Sex is always coercive and can never be really consensual. The difference between intercourse (normal) and rape (abnormal) is that intercourse takes place more often and one cannot see it to be wrong. Intercourse is therefore rape is therefore 100% (Krauthammer). An extreme example of deviancy redefined is date rape which has been broadly redefined.
The third area of deviancy is thought crimes. The real deviance here is racial violence. Today overt racial actions are criminalized and punished. Again, the threshold deviancy has been pushed up and the project is to identify prejudiced thinking and attitudes. In the new dispensation, its insensitivity rather than insanity that is a real sign of deviant thinking that calls for thought control. Ordinary criminality that we are adapting to live with and cannot live with unrecognized violence towards women. The logical conclusion to this is that the deviant is declared normal while the normal unmasked as deviant. (Krauthammer)
Krauthammer, Charles. Defining Deviancy Up. 13 September 1993. Web. 7 June 2017. .
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