Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Right to Violent Video Games Upheld

According to the NYT here, courts around the country are protecting the right of minors to purchase violent video games.

This is good news for a couple of reasons. First, the government should not be telling parents what their children can and cannot consume. The anti-video game laws would make sense if there were hoards of children invading video game stores and bringing them home to their parent less abodes. The reality is that they may be able to buy the game without their parents, but they cannot play it without parental supervision. Maybe there are some kids sneaking their television and xbox into a dark alley to play but in most cases their parents know exactly where they are and what they are doing when they are playing. Mom and Dad can easily pull the plug. Lazy parents should not be allowed to abdicate their duties to a government for convenience sake.

Secondly, kids cannot be shielded from life. Maybe someday the government can turn us all into bubble boys but until then it doesn't make sense to nuder every kid in the name of "safety" or other undefined lofty goal. In the words of the Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals...

“Violence has always been and remains a central interest of humankind and a recurrent, even obsessive theme of culture both high and low,” he wrote. “It engages the interest of children from an early age, as anyone familiar with the classic fairy tales collected by Grimm, Andersen, and Perrault are aware. To shield children right up to the age of 18 from exposure to violent descriptions and images would not only be quixotic, but deforming; it would leave them unequipped to cope with the world as we know it.”

Quixotic is a good explanation. He also said that if an outlaw of violence is constitutional then it must logically extend to books such as "The Odyssey" and "War and Peace". A slippery slope.

In the end it is simply a populist knee jerk reaction to a minor issue. Makes good headlines that politicians crave.

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