On the October 23, 2000, issue of TAP, Wendy Kaminer argued that political calls for regulating "toxic media"--like violent movies or profane rap albums--can lead to dangerous censorship and repression. But what if there's a legitimate public interest in monitoring the cultural products kids consume? Michael Massing says that Kaminer's argument is typical of liberals' "reflexive disdain" toward the expressed concerns of parents on this issue. The two writers elaborate in the exchange that follows.
Last year, when the editor of another magazine asked me to write about the progress of welfare reform in America, I called around to see which state was leading the way. I ended up in Wisconsin. Under the direction of Republican Governor Tommy Thompson, Wisconsin had begun cutting its rolls earlier than most other states and had pared them far more sharply. During my visit there, almost everyone I met embraced the idea of welfare reform. Even longtime advocates for the poor said they had become convinced that too many people had become too dependent on welfare and that reform had given them a needed push.