For a tong time after the settling of the United States by Europeans, many of whom were deeply religious, the American social order rested on a foundation of strict moral principles and a citizenry willing to follow duty instead of desire. That age has largely faded. The American ideal of democracy has fueled the drive for personal freedom and fulfillment, which blossomed in the 1960s with the civil-rights, anti-war, and sexual-liberation movements. Following the major value shifts of the '60s, Americans have increasingly made moral decisions based on their own needs and wants and less on traditional religious and governmental ideals. Institutions, used to dictating moral correctness, have been forced to become more flexible. Alan Wolfe, author of Moral Freedom, writes, “Never have so many people been so free of moral constraint as contemporary Americans.” This freedom may be exhilarating, but it is not without cost. Individuals have often paid a heavy price in their quest for personal fulfillment, indulging in behaviors that carry high risks. Moreover, where tradition once demanded that personal self-interest be restrained for the sake of the community and the public good, the me- first generation has brought rising crime rates and a plummeting work ethic. But one shouldn't assume that individuals are without a moral compass. In his survey of Americans, Wolfe found that the vast majority avoid being overly permissive. Americans want to live a good and proper life―but they want to decide for themselves what a good and proper lifestyle is. They also want to hear second opinions about moral judgments before they make up their minds on various issues facing them. Theirs is a new freedom in which morals and ideals are dynamic rather than dogmatic, and where conscience―rather than constraint―will hold in check the darker ambitions of human mature.