From Mickey Kaus at Slate, a blogpost about removing the stigma about receiving food stamps: "Stop Sitgmatizing Stigma!"). As Kaus writes:
"But a stigma placed on cash-like welfare (which food stamps are) remains a positive sign of a healthy work ethic. If you came across two societies--Society A, in which food stamps were stigmatized, with families reluctant to go on the dole even if they were eligible, and Society B, in which they weren't, you would want to bet on (and live in) Society A."
Stigmas against high school gilrls getting pregnant was a good thing too, bring it back! Stigmas against divorce and adultery - bring it back! Shame is a powerful deterrent to those activities which weaken our society. Shame and guilt - forces so well known by earlier generations of Catholics and Jews - they were forces for good! Without these forces, exactly what maintains morals in a society? What keeps us civilized?
Along these lines, Roger Scruton has a terrific essay, Bring back Stigma, from City Journal (August 2000 issue). Good review of how stigma operated in the past, how it's "evaporated" in our era, and what the consequences have been. Excellent treatment of this topic!