Have you ever heard of the "No Guardrails" theory of public morality? I hadn't, but Radley Balko has a nice piece about it.
"No Guardrails" basically blamed society's elite — and the leftist elite in particular — for adopting the ever-sliding mores, values and morals that cultural conservatives blame for most of modern society's maladies.
Elitists can afford to lack values, "No Guardrails" thinking says, but the underclass can't. So single motherhood may be fine for Murphy Brown, who is wealthy, well-connected, and educated (not to mention fictional), but fatherless child rearing is a devastating example to set for low-income communities.
Perhaps elites can afford to flirt with drugs, with indiscriminate sex, and with excess personal liberty, the editorial explained, "but for a lot of other people it hasn't been such an easy life to sustain. Not exceedingly sophisticated, neither thinkers nor leaders, never interviewed for their views, they're held together by faith, friends, fun and, at the margins, by fanaticism."
"These weaker or more vulnerable people, who in different ways must try to live along life's margins, are among the reasons that a society erects rules. They're guardrails."