In 1993, then Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan published a paper in which he coined the phrase "defining deviancy down."
He was ringing an alarm about what he saw as a dangerous social unraveling as a result of our redefining deviant behavior as normal, rather than doubling down on traditional standards of behavior.
It's through this lens that we should view the Obama administration mandate that employers provide free contraception and sterilization and its refusal to grant an exemption to morally opposed religious institutions.
Our audacious president, as part of his ongoing enterprise to transform America, has gone beyond defining deviancy down. Abortion, sterilization and sexual promiscuity have not just been redefined as normal. They are considered "reproductive rights" for which we all should foot the bill.
Consider Rush Limbaugh's much ballyhooed verbal assault on a Georgetown law student for testifying before Congress in favor of forcing her Jesuit university to provide free contraception to students.
In a 1969 Gallup poll, 68 percent of respondents said premarital sex was wrong and 21 percent said it was not. Few young women then would have felt comfortable to publicly declare they slept around and it's doubtful that any politician or media personality would have condoned the behavior.
By 2009, in response to the same question, 32 percent said premarital sex was wrong and 60 percent said it was not.
Are we a fairer and more progressive nation today, or have we defined deviancy down?
If you think we're a better nation today because sexual promiscuity is viewed as normal and acceptable, you must also be comfortable with the social developments that go along with this -- most notably, the transformation and breakdown of the traditional American family.
In 1960, 72 percent of American adults were married. Today, 51 percent are.
The most dramatic transformation has taken place in communities most likely to support Democrats and President Barack Obama: blacks and Hispanics.
In 1960, 14 percent of white adults had never been married -- not much different from the 17 percent of never-married blacks and Hispanics.
By 2008, the percentage of never-married white adults had increased to 23 percent. But the proportion grew to 44 percent among blacks and 34 percent among Hispanics.
If you see family breakdown as a negative development, it is clear that defining deviancy down has had the most deleterious effects on those communities in which traditional institutions were weakest to begin with.
As part of the process of defining deviancy down, the words don't change -- only their meaning does.
So the website of Law Students for Reproductive Justice, the organization of Sandra Fluke, the young woman Limbaugh attacked, says "all people are entitled to equal protection of the law, the free exercise of rights, and the enjoyment of economic, political and social well being."
These noble words, which sound as if they could have been written by Thomas Jefferson, are perversely interpreted to mean religious freedom may be denied to a Catholic university, while forcing it to pay for contraception and sterilization for students.
Our nation is drowning in debt, with unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare programs estimated in the range of $70 trillion.
Yet Fluke's idea of injustice is a student relating "how embarrassed and powerless she felt when she was standing at the pharmacy counter, learning for the first time that contraception wasn't covered..."
This warranted a personal call from the president of the United States to assuage her hurt feelings from Limbaugh's tough language.
Today, deviancy has been defined so far down it has been turned on its head. The Obama administration's idea of deviant is any presumption to religious liberty and any sense that individuals should be personally responsible for the costs and consequences of their behavior.
The growing percentage of our voters is not white and they largely vote for Democrats. (comments)
Free choice and private initiative seems to violate the religious convictions of liberals. (comments)
Why does America convey neutrality between a nation that is indisputably free and a government that is not? (comments)
In a Pew Research survey of last October, 25 percent of blacks expressed favorability toward the Tea Party, just 6 points less than whites. (comments)
Everyone, except the teachers unions, seems to grasp that public education in America, particularly in low-income communities, suffers because of lack of competition. (comments)
Mainstream means shrugging your shoulders at $17 trillion in federal debt, $4 trillion in federal spending, and a tax code of over 73,000 pages. (comments)
Cochran's agenda is to serve up government pork and protect the interests of his friends in Washington. (comments)
Thought police have no place in a free society. (comments)
Americans elected a president, twice, who was not afraid of being bold, of taking on hard issues, and of being ideological. (comments)
Religion and the institutions of traditional marriage and family are being challenged and, rather than being seen as enablers of our freedom, are now regularly portrayed as obstacles to it. (comments)
No Americans have suffered more from the improper use of government and abuse of political power than black Americans. (comments)
Democrats and the left wing press know that fanning these still racially sensitive flames is the way to turn out black voters. (comments)
Should conservatives pander to the current liberal trends of the country to try and win votes in the short term? (comments)
The incidence of black conservatism is far deeper and widespread than most believe. (comments)
Congressional Budget Office report in February projects that Obamacare will shrink the American economy by 2.5 million jobs. (comments)
Limiting the amount of funds that free citizens can contribute stifles competition and protects incumbents. (comments)
Liberal code word for 'racist': someone like Paul Ryan, who wants to make Americans better off by giving them freedom, choice, responsibility, and less government. (comments)
Real political leadership means pushing public opinion toward one's conviction of what is right. (comments)
My colleagues find in their investigations around the nation that Kermit Gosnell was by no means one of a kind. (comments)
When Mitch McConnell and Republicans controlled the House, Senate and White House, government grew. (comments)