When the Navy fired Capt. Owen P. Honors for having created and broadcast lewd, "morale-boosting" videos to the crew of the USS Enterprise, the explanation cited a "profound lack of good judgment and professionalism." Not, take note, conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.

So, now what? With the Navy promising to investigate who knew what when about the four-year-old videos, we once again embark, rudderless, into the dangerous waters of the hydra-headed purge, trolling for suspects.

But of what crime? Not the one I would charge the unfortunately named Honors with.

The post-Tailhook Navy fetish (Tailhook being a 1991 sex scandal involving Navy and Marine airmen), of course, remains sexually oriented -- or, more accurate, sexual-orientationally oriented. (Honors' video includes homosexual put-downs, and scenes of same-sex couples in the shower.) As one retired vice admiral put it, "What bothers me is that Capt. Honors' behavior set a standard that allowed for sexual innuendo."

Funny. What bothers me is that Honors' behavior didn't set any standard at all.

This shouldn't be a surprise. The Left's great triumph in the last 25 years has been the junking of military standards regarding the sexes, a set of traditional attitudes that was slow to dismantle itself in the wake of the 1960s sexual revolution.

Indeed, the military could be, and was, seen as a bulwark against the social changes wrought by a metastasizing feminism in the civilian world that would go on to kill, among other things, such concepts as "mixed company" and its prohibitions on "bad language" and other social shields.

These had allowed for the existence of now lost refuges such as reticence and discretion, which, in turn, provided shelter for a kind of privacy and intimacy that is all but unimaginable in our over-exposed world of TMI (too much information).

Which is more than sad. I think it has driven people a little berserk. Indeed, there is something quite possibly certifiable in the behavior of an aircraft carrier executive officer simulating masturbation on a "movie night" video to boost his crew's morale.

"It's nothing worse than `Saturday Night Live,'" one Honors defender commented online. That's true and not unrelated.

As sex roles were rewritten to check male dominance and expand the female role, and as women, in effect, were used to destroy the ideal of "officer and gentleman," other lines were crossed and blurred.

The entire culture became increasingly conditioned to break all of the old molds, adopting an "irreverence toward uptight, oppressive, hypocritical, old-fashioned norms of social propriety," writes Brian Mitchell, in "Women in the Military: Flirting with Disaster." By now, this means that putative defenders of "old-fashioned norms," such as 49-year-old Honors, are unwilling, ill-equipped and even unaware as to how to do so.

Indeed, the powers that promoted Honors to the captain's bridge would punish anyone who did.

Discussing the Tailhook investigation, Mitchell writes: "No one seriously expected them to be officers and gentlemen anymore." And, institutionally, no one expected more or better of the brave, new women, either.

After no raunchy female misconduct at the infamous 1991 Tailhook convention was prosecuted, after even some exonerated men continued to be punished, the true point of that historic purge became clear: not to check Animal-House-in-uniform across the board, but instead to target and eradicate traditional attitudes as the basis for criminal behavior -- "sexism" -- in violation of Pentagon policy.

In large part, this prefigured approval for open homosexuals in the military.

Now, consequences emerge. A society that rejects its officers and gentlemen is going to get crude clowns helming its nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. And who is left in command who can figure out how that happened?

Examiner Columnist Diana West is syndicated nationally by United Media and is the author of "The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization."