The Nation: We're Being Watched

For decades one of the special delights of childhood has been to hack the tops off cereal cartons, stuff them into an envelope, pound on a stamp, and send away the lumpy packet. The boxtops, plus a coin or two, eventually elicit a "prize." The agony of the wait is exquisite, and the day some ticky-tack gadget arrives can be a private little Christmas.

Now Lewis Engman, the earnest chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, has proposed a ban on TV advertising that entices kids to send in for notions. Engman worries that such a sales pitch is unfair to children in...