Defining Deviancy Down

I proffer the thesis that, over the past generation . . . the amount of deviant behavior in American society has increased beyond the levels the community can afford to recognize and that, accordingly, we have been re-defining deviancy so as to exempt much conduct previously stigmatized, and also quietly raising the normal level in categories where behavior is now abnormal by any earlier standard. This redefining has evoked fierce resistance from defenders of old standards, and accounts for much of the present cultural war . . .