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McKenna, George : City College of New York
Feingold, Stanley : Westchester Community College
PART 1. Democracy and the American Political Process
New! ISSUE 1. Are Liberty and Democracy Good for Every Country?
New! YES: Michael McFaul, from "The Liberty Doctrine", Policy Review
NO: Robert D. Kaplan, from "Was Democracy Just a Moment?" The Atlantic Monthly
Professor of political science Michael McFaul argues that liberty and democracy are desirable for every country, that the conditions exist to increase the number of democratic nations, and that the United States can and should use its power to encourage and support liberty and democracy in nations that have never before enjoyed freedom. Foreign correspondent Robert D. Kaplan contends that recent experience demonstrates that not all nations have the conditions in which democracy can thrive, that some nations prosper without it, and that democracy may be less important in the future.
ISSUE 2. Do Political Campaigns Promote Good Government?
YES: Samuel L. Popkin, from The Reasoning Voter: Communication and Persuasion in Presidential Campaigns
NO: Anthony King, from "Running Scared", The Atlantic Monthly
Professor of political science Samuel L. Popkin argues that presidential election campaigns perform a unique and essential service in informing and unifying the American people. Political scientist Anthony King contends that American officeholders spend too much time and effort running for office, which detracts from their responsibility to provide good government.
New! ISSUE 3. Are the New Limits on Campaign Spending Justified?
New! YES: Paul D. Wellstone, from "Remarks on the Need for Campaign Finance Reform", U.S. Senate
New! NO: John Samples, from "Making the World Safer for Incumbents: The Consequences of McCain-Feingold-Cochran", Policy Analysis No. 393
Paul D. Wellstone, a Democratic senator from Minnesota, argues that the new campaign spending reform legislation constitutes an "enormous step forward" in lessening the undue power of wealthy special interests in U.S. elections. John Samples, director of the Cato Institute's Center for Representative Government, predicts that the new campaign finance law will reduce voter turnout, make it more difficult for challengers to win against incumbents, and stifle free speech.
New! ISSUE 4. Do the Media Have a Liberal Bias?
New! YES: Bernard Goldberg, from Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News
New! NO: Jim Hightower, from There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos: A Work of Political Subversion
Reporter Bernard Goldberg cites studies of journalists' attitudes and recalls some of his own experiences at CBS News to show that the culture of the news media is hostile to conservatism. Radio talk show host Jim Hightower cites a number of examples indicating that there is in fact a paucity of "actual liberals, much less progressive populists", with access to a national audience to counter the many conservative voices in the media.
PART 2. The Institutions of Government
ISSUE 5. Is Congress Barred From Regulating Commerce Within a State?
YES: William H. Rehnquist, from Majority Opinion, United States v. Lopez, U.S. Supreme Court
NO: Stephen G. Breyer, from Dissenting Opinion, United States v. Lopez, U.S. Supreme Court
Supreme Court chief justice William H. Rehnquist argues that Congress cannot regulate activities within a state that are not economic and do not substantially affect commerce among the states. Supreme Court justice Stephen G. Breyer upholds the right of Congress to regulate activities within a state if Congress has a rational basis for believing that it affects the exercise of congressional power.
New! ISSUE 6. Should the Electoral College Be Abolished?
New! YES: Daniel Lazare, from The Velvet Coup: The Constitution, the Supreme Court, and the Decline of American Democracy
New! NO: Richard A. Posner, from Breaking the Deadlock: The 2000 Election, the Constitution, and the Courts
Freelance writer Daniel Lazare argues that the electoral college is an undemocratic institution that no longer serves to democratically choose a president and that, if it cannot be repealed, it should be by-passed in future elections. Richard A. Posner, a judge and a legal scholar, sees more difficulties in abolishing the electoral college than in retaining it, and he maintains that the U.S. Supreme Court has the right to ensure that the casting of a state's electoral vote conforms with that state's laws.
New! ISSUE 7. Was Bush v. Gore Correctly Decided?
New! YES: Robert H. Bork, from "Sanctimony Serving Politics: The Florida Fiasco", The New Criterion
New! NO: Cass R. Sunstein, from "Order Without Law", in Cass R. Sunstein and Richard A. Epstein, eds., The Vote: Bush, Gore, and the Supreme Court
Former judge Robert H. Bork contends that, in denying the effort of the Florida Supreme Court to rewrite the Florida election law, the U.S. Supreme Court correctly prevented Al Gore from overturning George W. Bush's narrow victory in the 2000 presidential election. Professor of jurisprudence Cass R. Sunstein concludes that the intervention of the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the vote recount in contested Florida districts lacked precedent, was unprincipled, and raised questions regarding the denial of equal protection, which the Court was unwilling to confront.
PART 3. Social Change and Public Policy
ISSUE 8. Is Capital Punishment Justified?
YES: Robert W. Lee, from "Deserving to Die", The New American
NO: Eric M. Freedman, from "The Case Against the Death Penalty", USA Today Magazine
Essayist Robert W. Lee argues that capital punishment is the only fair way for society to respond to certain heinous crimes. Law professor Eric M. Freedman contends that the death penalty does not reduce crime but does reduce public safety and carries the risk of innocent people being executed.
ISSUE 9. Do We Need Tougher Gun Control Laws?
YES: Carl T. Bogus, from "The Strong Case for Gun Control", The American Prospect
New! NO: John R. Lott, Jr., from More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws
Writer Carl T. Bogus argues that even local gun control laws will reduce the number of gun-related crimes. Social analyst John R. Lott, Jr., argues that giving law-abiding citizens the right to carry concealed handguns deters street crime.
ISSUE 10. Does Affirmative Action Advance Racial Equality?
New! YES: Mary Frances Berry, from "Affirmative Action: Why We Need It, Why It Is Under Attack", in George E. Curry, ed., The Affirmative Action Debate
New! NO: Linda Chavez, from "Promoting Racial Harmony", in George E. Curry, ed., The Affirmative Action Debate
Mary Frances Berry, chair of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, contends that affirmative action is needed because minorities have suffered so much negative action throughout American history. Columnist Linda Chavez argues that racial preferences create a surface appearance of progress while destroying the substance of minority achievement.
ISSUE 11. Should Hate Speech Be Punished?
YES: Charles R. Lawrence III, from "Crossburning and the Sound of Silence: Antisubordination Theory and the First Amendment", Villanova Law Review
NO: Jonathan Rauch, from "In Defense of Prejudice: Why Incendiary Speech Must Be Protected", Harper's Magazine
Law professor Charles R. Lawrence III asserts that speech should be impermissible when, going beyond insult, it inflicts injury on its victims. Author Jonathan Rauch maintains that there can be no genuine freedom of expression unless it includes the freedom to offend those who oppose the expressed opinion.
ISSUE 12. Should Abortion Be Restricted?
New! YES: Robert P. George, from The Clash of Orthodoxies: Law, Religion, and Morality in Crisis
NO: Mary Gordon, from "A Moral Choice", The Atlantic Monthly
Legal philosopher Robert P. George asserts that, since each of us was a human being from conception, abortion is a form of homicide and should be banned. Writer Mary Gordon maintains that having an abortion is a moral choice that women are capable of making for themselves, that aborting a fetus is not killing a person, and that antiabortionists fail to understand female sexuality.
ISSUE 13. Are Americans Taxed Too Much?
YES: Amity Shlaes, from The Greedy Hand: How Taxes Drive Americans Crazy and What to Do About It
New! NO: Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel, from The Myth of Ownership: Taxes and Justice
Wall Street Journal editorial writer Amity Shlaes maintains that the federal income tax is too high, too complex, and too biased against high-income earners. Citizens for Tax Justice, a nonprofit research and advocacy association dedicated to fair taxation, concludes that taxes are relatively low, fair in distributing the tax burden, and necessary.
ISSUE 14. Is Socioeconomic Inequality Increasing in America?
YES: Paul Krugman, from "The Spiral of Inequality", Mother Jones
NO: Christopher C. DeMuth, from "The New Wealth of Nations", Commentary
Economist Paul Krugman maintains that corporate greed, the decline of organized labor, and changes in production have contributed to a sharp increase in social and economic inequality in America. Christopher C. DeMuth, president of the American Enterprise Institute, asserts that Americans have achieved an impressive level of wealth and equality and that a changing economy ensures even more opportunities.
PART 4. America and the World
ISSUE 15. Does China Threaten World Peace and Security?
YES: Lucian W. Pye, from "After the Collapse of Communism: The Challenge of Chinese Nationalism and Pragmatism", in Eberhard Sandschneider, ed., The Study of Modern China
NO: David M. Lampton, from "Think Again: China", Foreign Policy
Political science professor Lucian W. Pye warns that China is not to be trusted in its economic and political dealings with the United States and other nations. Chinese studies professor David M. Lampton maintains that popular assumptions about China's military, political, and economic objectives are wrong and should be corrected.
ISSUE 16. Should America Restrict Immigration?
New! YES: Patrick J. Buchanan, from The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization
New! NO: Daniel T. Griswold, from "Immigrants Have Enriched American Culture and Enhanced Our Influence in the World", Insight on the News
Political commentator Patrick J. Buchanan argues that large-scale, uncontrolled immigration has increased America's social and economic problems and deprived it of the shared values and common language that define a united people. Daniel T. Griswold, associate director of the Cato Institute's Center for Trade Policy Studies, while acknowledging the need to protect the United States against terrorists, contends that immigration gives America an economic edge, does not drain government finances, and is not remarkably high compared with past eras.
New! ISSUE 17. Is America's War on Terrorism Justified?
New! YES: Norman Podhoretz, from "How to Win World War IV", Commentary
New! NO: Thomas Harrison, from "Only a Democratic Foreign Policy Can Combat Terrorism", New Politics
Editor Norman Podhoretz maintains that America must not only eliminate the Al Qaeda network terrorists but also overthrow state regimes that sponsor terrorism. Editor Thomas Harrison argues that America's war on terrorism is simply an attempt to preserve an oppressive status quo and that the only way to eliminate terrorism is to form a third party that seeks a more democratic and egalitarian world.
New! ISSUE 18. Is Free Trade Fair Trade?
New! YES: Douglas A. Irwin, from Free Trade Under Fire
New! NO: David Morris, from "Free Trade: The Great Destroyer", in Jerry Mander and Edward Goldsmith, eds., The Case Against the Global Economy: And for a Return to the Local
Professor of economics Douglas A. Irwin asserts that all countries benefit from free trade because it promotes efficiency, spurs production, and forces the least productive companies to reduce their output or shut down, resulting in better goods at lower prices. David Morris, vice president of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, argues that free trade is unnecessary because gains in efficiency do not require large-scale multinational enterprises and undesirable because it widens the standard-of-living gap between rich and poor nations.
New! ISSUE 19. Must America Exercise World Leadership?
New! YES: William Kristol and Robert Kagan, from "Introduction: National Interest and Global Responsibility", in William Kristol and Robert Kagan, eds., Present Dangers: Crisis and Opportunity in American Foreign and Defense Policy
New! NO: Benjamin Schwarz and Christopher Layne, from "A New Grand Strategy", The Atlantic Monthly
William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, and Robert Kagan, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, maintain that, as the only superpower, America must exercise a role of world preeminence to shape the international environment in order to protect American economic interests and national security. Benjamin Schwarz, a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, and Christopher Layne, a MacArthur Fellow in Peace and International Security Studies, conclude that the United States must encourage other nations to become partners in power because it is burdensome, risky, and ultimately futile for America to attempt to preserve its status as the only great power.
New! ISSUE 20. Should Terrorist Suspects Be Tried by Military Tribunals?
New! YES: Pierre-Richard Prosper, from Testimony Before the Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate
New! NO: Aryeh Neier, from "The Military Tribunals on Trial", The New York Review of Books
Ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper defends military tribunals as consistent with established law and as necessary to protect American jurors and court personnel from an international terror network. Aryeh Neier, of the American Civil Liberties Union, contends that the proposed military tribunals would deprive defendants of essential rights guaranteed under both American and international law.
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