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By Pascal

The urge to ban things we dislike or fear, “moral panic,” is a tradition in the US.  Someone someplace is always looking to ban something. Thank God for the Constitution’s framers because they understood this to be true. An article at, A Short History of Game Panics, is about video games. It has an interesting passage about Columbine and also former Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) Not only was he for banning guns, video game but also many books and still works for a group that wants to ban Huckleberry Finn and other such books, he has admitted that he would rewrite the 1st amendment if he could . . .

As you read Reason’s chronicle of the anti-game gang, a few things become clear. Anyone who wants to ban something has the following things in common:

1) They believe they have a moral right to impose their view on society and their morals, feelings and fears trump your rights.

2) They all lie. See the linked article, feminist Andrea Dworkin lied saying that a video game was causing hundreds of rapes of native Indian women when in reality there was only one loosely connected incident — ever.

3) It is pure emotional fear. They get an idea in their heads and they can’t get it out so everyone else is responsible for getting the fear out of their heads although the fear is purely theirs

4) The media elevates them and their cause to sensational effect (See the Columbine section) — and then the sheep follow.

5) Fear is their driving factor, but there is no evidence that there really is a problem except for isolated, outlier cases of which the connection is later proven to be false or dubious at best.

In short, from Prohibition to bans against video games to guns, these people feed on media attention, irrational fears and, above all, ego to believe that their views feelings and fears trump your rights.

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  1. As long as we can keep them screaming on the sidelines instead of running the show, we will be okay. And if we fail, well…

    “so long as men die, liberty will never perish.”

  2. The sign above says Gifford’s shooter bought his gun at walmart. I thought he bought the ammo at walmart, does Wal-Mart sell pistols anywhere except maybe Alaska?

  3. I have come to the conclusion that these people have completely lost sight of what America was intended to be. They have the RIGHT to not purchase any product or service that causes their little heads to spin. They DO NOT have the right to prohibit ME from buying it if I wish. Freedom. It’s really pretty daggone simple. You don’t like something, don’t participate, but leave the decision whether or not I wish to, to me.

    • But… they have to DO SOMETHING! Doesn’t matter what. Just DO SOMETHING.

      Doing something for the nation that allowed them to be such idiots isn’t in their frame of reference.

      • Doing something FOR someone else just never occurred to them. Only TO someone. And ONLY if it makes them feel good.

      • That’s the problem with an ideology that only considers input of resource, and never cares about outcome measures.

    • What this excellent article underscores is that the demand to ban violent video games attempts to use a single activity to explain quite complex ranges of behavior that occur in the larger society. Despite the fact that there is absolutely no empirical evidence (no surprise there) linking, say, Call Of Duty to otherwise normal people committing violent acts, emotionally aroused people still insist on making a causal linkage where none exists. They believe violent video games cause violence in society because it provides a simplistic answer that corresponds to their preconceived notions of reality. Like gun-controllers, that’s all they need for it to be true.

  4. Anyone who wants to ban Huckleberry Finn (or anything else by Samuel Clemens) is an idiot, and a traitor to the very meaning of our country.

    • “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” ~ Mark Twain

  5. Hey…we’re going to protest today, could you run inside the Walmart there and get some poster boards and markers, and oh yeah staples and its cold so get us some coffee too. We’ll be out in the parking lot protesting the Walmart for selling something they don’t sell because we’re lemmings.

    Oh..and snap the pic now so we can include the old guy walking by and make it look like there’s five of us.

  6. What are video gamers doing to save America? NOTHING, that’s what. Wake the hell up, my fellow Americans.

    • Well, when Mortal Combat was in the news i was around 5 years old. When Jack Thompson was still an attorney I was in high school. And there’s nothing gaming related going on politically right now, aside from the random ass jab from time to time by LaPierre and politicians trying to find something to blame.

      Gamers won’t save America. POTG won’t save it either. Americans will save (or destroy) America. And as a hardcore gamer and a gun nut, I am constantly writing/calling my Congress critters and attending rallies when the opportunity arises.

      You, sir, need to get medical attention for rectal/cranial impact every time you make a generalized statement such as that. But I understand, said impact probably occurred when you fell from your high horse.

    • Seriously?

      The gamer kids are the beginning of the Ender generations. Who do you think are doing the cold and remorseless death by drones from half a world away? Fighter pilots? SpecOps guys? Nope. This is the gamer kids. They’ve found a niche market and business is booming.

  7. This is exactly why the Republican Party needs to die in lieu of a “Freedom Party”. A group united in pursuing one like minded purpose: freedom from everything that “they” (they being all politicians) want to take away from us. I don’t care if it’s total freedom for guns, or to play video games, freedom of religion, freedom from taxes and big government, freedom to smoke dope, freedom to marry whoever you want, etc, etc, etc. It doesn’t matter what it is. As long as you are following the constitution and not intruding on my freedoms or anyone else’s, you’re good. Seems like a simple enough idea to me.

      • Well certainly to a degree. I really think that the only Achilles heal of the Libertarians is their lack of support for a strong military (or virtually any military for that matter). I get that they are just following the Constitution but, don’t necessarily think that is the way to go in the world we live in. Maybe a “Freedom Party” would be like the Libertarians with regard to personal freedoms but, with a more Republican inspired stance on foreign policy and national security. Just my two cents.

        • The constitution says “To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
          To provide and maintain a Navy;”

          “To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;”

          See what they did there? They have to maintain a navy but there can not be a standing army for more than 2 years. We’re not supposed to have a standing Army. Why? Oh, because it’s frickin’ expensive and can be oppressive. Then it goes on to say the congress must pay, organize, support and discipline a militia. The militia (You and me) are here to repel invasions, put down insurrections, amd execute the laws of the Union.

          The founders knew standing Armys are not good. At the best they’re expensive and a big money hole that infringes on economic liberty. At worst they are used to oppress the people.

          Standing Armys are histroically a bad thing and there is nothing new under the sun.

        • My problem with (most) Libertarians is their open-border mentality. Oh and it seems that legalized drugs is the ONLY issue some of them care about. Not all, but some.

        • @Yellow Devil

          Actually, the Libertarian stance on the borders, like all the rest of the Libertarian platform, is Follow the Constitution. There’s really no problem with open borders, as long as they’re paying their own bills and not voting and not forcing me to use some foreign language in my own country. SOMEBODY has to pick the strawberries, after all!

        • There is no justifiable need for any military at all. In the first place, if you don’t run around and piss everybody off, you’re not very likely to be attacked. And it would be literally impossible to militarily conquer the US, army, navy, or marines notwithstanding, because A Gun Behind Every Blade Of Grass.

          So what they do is take over the centers of government and make them do their ruling for them, much like Commissar Obama is doing today.

      • Well, Libertarians also have some problems explaining how they would fund any government at all. There are some problems there, extremism is (I believe) the only reason they have not taken over the government already.

        Just BTW, a “standing army” is one quartered in private homes, we do not have one and haven’t for at least a hundred years.

        • Well, the constitution does state how to raise money for the govt.

          A standing army is a permanent, often professional, army. It is composed of full-time soldiers (who may be either career soldiers or conscripts) and is not disbanded during times of peace. It differs from army reserves, who are enrolled for the long term, but activated only during wars or natural disasters, and temporary armies, which are raised from the civilian population only during a war or threat of war and disbanded once the war or threat is over. Standing armies tend to be better equipped, better trained, and better prepared for emergencies, defensive deterrence and, particularly, wars.[1] The term dates from approximately 1600, although the phenomenon it describes is much older.

          Nope, not an army housed in private homes.

          More here:

      • For some reason, people are afraid of us Libertarians. It’s probably just the Reefer Madness talking – their first objection (after the blood in the streets of the Wild West and anarchy and mayhem on the roads) is “you want everybody to become a heroin addict!”

        Which is silly on the face of it. Ron Paul has my favorite take on that:

  8. I can understand the desire to ban video games. 100% of youthful rampage killers have played video games, so games have to go. Also, 100% of youthful rampage killers have spanked the monkey, so buh-bye to self-gratification. And most of the same shooters have used Clearasil, so ban it. And bubble gum, iPads, underwear, and since all of the young killers have parents, ban them too.

    Now we’ll all be safe.

  9. First, I am not for banning, regulating or blaming games. Tens of millions of kids play these games with no ill effect.

    That said, first person shooters are a constant with most of the major mass shootings. there are peer reviewed studies that show an (transient) elevated aggression level as well as added aggression from forced withdrawal. Also he claim that less violent societies play these games is not true. Sales of COD fin Japan or example are nowhere near per capita sales here.

    There is difference between advocating banning, blaming or regulating these games vs parents being educated that certain small number of at risk kids especially with empathy disorders inkling asbergers (like brievik and Lanza) quite possibly should not be playing these games.

    Again, I am against the culture of blame, but that is a different issue from understanding risk factors, even when causality is not certain.

  10. Ban bans! Wait, if you ban banning, that means that the ban you did to bans won’t work, because of the ban…….I’m confused

  11. Taxonomy?

    If I knew I needed a PhD to understand the contents of this site I would have stayed with HuffPost.

    • What kind of school did you go to? I learned about taxonomy in 9th grade. It’s kind of like the Dewey Decimal System of living things: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species, Breed.

      And no, you shouldn’t need a PhD to have heard of the Dewey Decimal system either.

  12. It makes me despair even more when a community that can see and dissect the propaganda from one side so clearly and advocate for more level-headed, unbiased discussion even if their views on said subject may be different turn around and do their own doublethink blackwhite regurgitating. Sometimes in the same thread, sometimes this exact thread, I’ve seen it I tell you.

  13. The OP very nearly spelled out my axiom;

    Given that prohibition of any material thing has never worked, has always resulted in negative and even dire unintended consequences and given that by it’s nature prohibition is contrary to liberty one could conclude that any effort to ban anything material is an irrational pursuit. If this is true than proponents of banning fall into the three sided axiom of irrational beliefs:

    One cannot be honest, sane, and well informed simultaneously while also advocating irrational positions.

    This three sided problem exists anywhere illogical thought exists: Ignorance/stupidity, Dishonesty (intrinsic or extrinsic, or both) and/or insanity (typically of a delusional nature). That is, either a person is incapable of arriving at logical truth due to inadequate or incorrect information or the inability to cognize the information effectively, is being dishonest with either themselves or others or both, or else suffers from a mental issue, such as delusion, that precludes them from correctly perceiving reality.

    It doesn’t matter if it’s guns, alcohol or video games if one advocates banning it it’s almost certainly irrational given that bans have never and for various reasons cannot ever work while they will always generate negative unintended consequences.

    The simple three sided axiom helps both define irrational thoughts and behaviors while at the same time reveal the specific vector of the irrationality so that it can more effectively be addressed.

    What we see so often with prohibitionists is a blending of factors from the axiom combined with a tendency for one of the factors to eventually result in another within the same individual.

    Using video games to provide one possible example; a person perceives correctly that their may be a correlation between violent games and actual violence, then honestly wants to do something about the violence. However, flawed understanding (insufficient intelligence either cognitive or emotional) interfere with such rational processes as checking for causation, and basic checks on credulity such as verifying there is a significantly high correlation to bother investigating in the first place. This leads to commitment to what is at least at the surface an irrational course of action; ban video games.
    The commitment to irrational action can rapidly lead to confirmation bias which indirectly affects perception. If the course of action continues to be pursued this can result in loss of perspective and establish a second leg of the axiom, that is that the individual no longer correctly perceives reality and no amount of information can alter their position. The resulting cognitive dissonance can be described as a type of metal disorder and can rapidly lead to dishonesty regarding the issue both with ones self and outwardly. Now we have an individual who has managed to delude themselves into thinking they are doing something useful and effective about a real problem while they actually tilt at a windmill, way out on the periphery of the actual issue, ineffectually and even absurdly, all the while inflating the importance of their cause out of all perspective and thus elevating themselves in the process. This leads to more confirmation bias or else more cognitive dissonance and either way sets up a feed back loop from which the individual cannot escape and in which the person becomes increasingly irrational and divorced from reality.
    In order to protect both reputation and ego the individual must become increasingly dishonest while inadvertently becoming increasingly emotional and even less rational. At this point the issue is so personal that extrinsic goals are unimportant the issue is all consuming and an end unto it’s self regardless of it’s effects on the original problem. In this example banning video games becomes the most important thing in the individuals life even if it is shown that doing so will have no effect on violence and that such a ban would have significant negative consequences. Any evidence to the contrary is either summarily dismissed, ignored or rationalized in such a way as to support the original position and the individual moves further from reality and honesty.

    Skipping ahead a bit, this sort of process often leaves the individual so sensitized that even if they eventually leave the issue behind they are highly susceptible to fully and rapidly adopting a radical and irrational position on some new issue and immediately repeating the cycle.

    It also seems that there can be confluences between individuals on different ‘legs’ of the irrationality axiom. That is, a wholly dishonest person, who wants to ban video games perhaps for financial gain may attract and polarize both a delusional person for whom the cause of effecting such a ban becomes a central tenant of their delusional frame work and another person of low intelligence who cannot detect either the fallacy of the argument for the ban, the dishonesty of the originator of the cause to ban nor the insanity of the delusional devotee to the ban. Meanwhile, at least the latter two start the process of dissonance, bias and dishonesty and become increasingly irrational.

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