Monday, June 27, 2011

Free Speech for Video Games Upheld

I am happy to report today that the Supreme Court have upheld a lower court ruling striking down the California law sponsored by Democrat Leeland Yee (figures it would be a Democrat) which would have banned the sales of M-Rated games to minors. While I certainly don’t think little kids should be playing God of War we need to analyze this a bit in order to understand why this was the right call.

Justice Skullia (A Republican appointee) opined basically that many of the Children’s stories out there often are just as gory or disturbing as anything in a modern game and if they are constitutionally protected free speech so too are video games.

Naturally the Democrats are in a huff. Democrat Leeland Yee (Remember kids this is a Democrat not a Republican trying to take your games away) issued a statement saying, “Unfortunately, the majority of the Supreme Court once again put the interests of corporate America before the interests of our children. As a result of their decision, Wal-Mart and the video game industry will continue to make billions of dollars at the expense of our kids' mental health and the safety of our community. It is simply wrong that the video game industry can be allowed to put their profit margins over the rights of parents and the well-being of children.”-1 Translation? “You need government to control your and your children! How can the Supreme Court not recognize the necessity of government regulation?”

Government censorship is never the answer. We need parents to censor what their kids have access to. Now personally I am no fan of Grand Theft Auto, but the fact is that it is the job of parents, not the government, to keep inappropriate materials out of the hands of their children. The tax payers should not be tapped to be your baby sitter and besides, the Free Market is once again way ahead of the government offering solutions they have implemented voluntarily and rendering government interference in this market once more superfluous. Why do we need government to regulate that which is already effectively self regulated? When we do that we surrender rights which we won't necessarily get back easily and I might not agree with how some people choose to express themselves in this highly innovative and high tech interactive art form, but I dare not trample on someone's freedom of speech and expression, lest they do the same to me.

First let us acknowledge the existence of the best voluntary rating system in history. The ESRB warning labels range from E for everyone to T for Teens and M for mature. There is also a detailed break down of the content which may be objectionable, such as drug and alcohol use, partial nudity, blood and so forth like the sample on the right.

To learn more about the ESRB rating system visit

In addition it’s all but impossible to buy an M rated game without being carded. If you are not of the age the game is intended for you ain’t buyin’ the game. In other words the market has your back on this. The parents made a demand, and the market created a supply.

Besides any honest analyst realizes these games are not targeted at children anyway. Those kids who grew up playing Pac Man and Donkey Kong are now in their late 20s and early 30s or even older. Many Generation X-ers STILL PLAY. Meaning there is a thriving market of adult gamers and games like Mortal Kombat, Call of Duty and GTA are meant and marketed toward us without exception.

As Conservatives we should be able to recognize the wisdom of this Supreme Court Ruling as a defense of individual liberty and first amendment rights. It’s time we remind the 18-30 crowd that it’s Democrats, not Republicans, who try to censor art and entertainment. A large numer of this demographic are gamers who have entered political activism to protect their favorite hobby, but they have somehow been tricked into believing that Republicans are their enemy. We on the right don't want garbage in the hands of children, but we expect self regulation, not the force of government to be the means by which we protect our children.

As it stands, Democrats have a much longer history of actively trying to use government to censor entertainment than we do: Tipper Gore for music, Hilary Clinton, Joe Liberman, Leland Yee and many many more progressive Democrats for video games. On our side we have Arnold Schwarzenegger and he’s not a real Republican. As much as the media wants to pretend that it’s us who like to strip people of their freedom of expression we on the right understand that it is unwise to ask the government to do what the market is already doing of it’s own volition, nor should we grant them the power to assume responsibilities that belong to no one but us. In the end it is up to us to shield our children from harmful material using guidance from our Churches. We simply have a long history of government messing up everything we ask them to do and they can't be trusted with this responsibility.

-1 Games Industry Reacts to Supreme Court Decision-Jim Reilly Accessed 6-27-11

No comments:

Post a Comment