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"Moral panics are one of our favorite things," says Moynihan. "If there's nothing to be panicked about, what do you write about?" Being outraged is part of the media circus.
The danger is that the outrage undermines perspective. It creates a false impression of how risky the present is, and it fuels unnecessary, freedom-killing regulations.
Old people always talk about the good old days. But the good old days were not so good. When I was young, more kids were intolerant, racist, sexist and homophobic. They had little knowledge of life beyond their neighborhoods.
Today, thanks to the Web and other innovations, life is better, not worse.