By Mark S. Latkovic, S.T.D.
We are all aware of how fast and sweeping the moral, cultural, political, economic, and technological changes have been in Western societies, especially since the end of World War II. The “New Morality”—which is really not so “new” anymore—has a long history that pre-dates the war. In this article, I would like to briefly trace the various phases of how we got from the Old Morality to the New Morality in the post-war period in the United States. Essentially, I will sketch the five phases or stages of what we often call the Sexual and Cultural Revolution.
Five Phases or Stages
Phase 1: In the first phase, traditional morality is largely dominant—even if it’s often honored in the breech, thus the common charge of hypocrisy—and various forms of sexual libertinism such as pornography are heavily restricted to certain areas of town, alternative bars, brown paper bags, and the like. Vice is seen as sinful, or at least morally wrong. During this first phase, society does not condone but merely “tolerates” perversion, deviancy, and immorality—at least when censorship and criminal prosecution failed. But of course this stance presumes that there is a moral good to protect and promote and a moral bad to prohibit. One can only pervert something —make it abnormal—when that something is seen prior as normal.