Western culture is crumbling?

I just started reading Lynne Olson’s Troublesome young men: The rebels who brought Churchill to power and helped save England. I’m just getting over the flu so I’ll probably finish it today in bed. 

The book not only describes how Churchill was vaulted into power despite extraordinary circumstances by rebellious young Tory MP’s, but also does a good job describing the culture of the British upper class. 

Apparently, affairs were the norm. It was expected. The only rules governing affairs were that they were to be conducted in private where they couldn’t create public scandal. Although the press might not have reported the affairs, they certainly knew about them. Everybody did and nobody seemed to care. (This was a common theme in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited). 

Olson describes the curious case of British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan. MacMillan, before he was PM, was a rebellious progressive Tory who helped Churchill become PM during World War II. Now while the British people might have enjoyed MacMillan’s leadership, MacMillan’s wife didn’t. MacMillan married Lady Dorothy Cavendish in 1920. Not satisfied with her relationship with MacMillan, Lady Dorothy had a longstanding affair with one of MacMillan’s Tory colleagues (and friend), Robert Boothby. 

Everyone knew about the affair. It was even suggested that MacMillan’s last child, Sarah, might have actually been Boothby’s. Now the affair was somewhat scandalous as Boothby and Lady Dorothy carried out the affair in public. Yet it wasn’t so scandalous as to affect Boothby’s career or lead to social censure.

I wonder if this attitude towards affairs is still the norm for the upper class. Any ideas? My gut instinct is that it isn’t, although what do I know? I’m clearly not a part of Canada’s upper crust. If not, at least there is one more instance of Western mores improving since the dawn of the 20th century. And with the way things are going that’s definitely an encouraging thought.