In an age when we have cast off most restraints -- from restrictions on abortion, to sanctioning same-sex marriage, to normalizing the use of nudity, crude language and sex in Hollywood films, not to mention wisdom -- why is anything off limits? Who decides where the limits are these days? 

Haven't some federal judges been eviscerating the U.S. Constitution for decades? Haven't even some clergy made attempts to rewrite or ignore Scripture to conform to opinion polls and align themselves with contemporary trends?

Many Republicans and conservatives are joyfully berating and belittling Harvey Weinstein and his fellow leftists, but they should remind themselves that sin is not exclusive to one party or political persuasion. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-PA, resigned his office last week after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette obtained text messages between Murphy and his mistress in which he told her to have an abortion if she thought she might be pregnant. Murphy, who claims to be "pro-life," co-sponsored a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks.

Much newspaper ink is being spilled and nightly news time spent discussing Weinstein after an investigative story by The New York Times in which many women, who claim to have been harassed in the most disgusting ways imaginable, have come forward to tell their stories. On Sunday, Weinstein was fired by his own company.

Lisa Bloom, who resigned last Saturday as an adviser to Weinstein, made the laughable claim that he is a "dinosaur" who came of age at a time when such behavior was more acceptable. Really? Acceptable to whom? Hugh Hefner, maybe, who fired the first shot in the sexual revolution. 

Hypocrisy is a word that is thrown around a lot. Conservatives are guffawing that Weinstein, who is a Democrat, was also an enthusiastic supporter and donor to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. The Republican National Committee issued a press release demanding Democratic politicians who received donations from Weinstein return the money. Republicans are not immune from the temptations of the flesh and boorish, even criminal, behavior. 

Denunciations of Weinstein are coming from all quarters of the political spectrum, though the Hollywood crowd has been mostly silent. His critics presuppose a standard by which such behavior can be judged. But we are ridding ourselves of most standards faster than a snake sheds its skin. What did we expect the outcome to look like?

Is our moral life and collective notions of right and wrong to be decided by opinion polls and personal feelings, or is there a "Higher Authority" that should rule over individuals, as well as nations? The question should not be rhetorical. It demands an answer.

Once again, questions should be asked in this increasingly morally vacuous age: what is "vice" and what is "virtue"? Who gets to decide? On what shall the definitions be based?

Thomas is a columnist with Chicago Tribune. 

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