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National Review Defends Gaming 67

Posted by Zonk
from the never-thought-i'd-see-the-day dept.
The National Review has a piece up entitled National Born Regulators, in which they lay out the problems with legislator decision-making processes when discussing videogames, and lay to rest some of the most common misconceptions around gaming. From the article: "Those games are the exception to the rule. The vast majority of video games sold each year do not contain intense violence or sexual themes. The Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), the video-game industry's self-regulatory labeling body, places ratings and numerous content descriptors on almost every game sold in America today. These ratings and descriptors are remarkably detailed and displayed prominently on all game cartons, making them easy for parents to evaluate."
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National Review Defends Gaming

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  • Gosh! You mean...read the labels? On the games our children play? ..But...but...that sounds scarily like Parental Responsibility! Nonono...we need laws to deal with this. The government should be looking after our children!

    Ok, ok...couldn't resist. But is is refeshing to see a little common sense and objectivity for a change. Politicians are just far to eager to legislate and jump on the latest turbo-charged bandwagon these days. On both sides of the Atlantic...
    • Demagoguery gets votes. Sadly there is WAY too much of it.
    • Parental responsibility... what's that? I once had a roommate's mom chew me out for working on children sport games at Atari (Backyard Football GC, Backyard Baseball GC, and Backyard Hockey AGB) because the kids were staying inside playing video games instead of going outside. She got mad when I pointed out that it was the parent's responsibility for how their kids spend their time and it's not society's fault if the parents screw up. When I was growing up in the 1970s, all the kids in the neighborhood got
  • by stlhawkeye (868951) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:38AM (#15067759) Homepage Journal
    National Review is basically a conservative think-tank. It's amazing what people steeped in theory come up with when there's no voters to satisfy. Only readers. And people who read think tanks are (typically) more interested in ideas and debate than demagoguery (although, admittedly, not always). Look at what a conservative publication says - "family values, shmamly values, no more government interference, it's not necessary." How do you think Republicans in Congress would vote on this, though? 100% pro-Family Values pro-regulation, 100% voter pandering.

    It gets harder and harder to defend these people every year as they shift away from free market economics and individual self-determination and towards more big-government nanny-state big brotherism. If only the Democrats had the guts to step in and fill the void instead of likewise pandering to its base...

    • Isn't this "ban games" talk mostly on the Republicans-under-another-name (Democrats) agenda?
    • by nelsonal (549144) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:15PM (#15068159) Journal
      Most conservative think tanks tilt toward the libertarian end of the conservative specturm, which is very different than conservative politicans.
    • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:26PM (#15068293) Journal
      I think this is maybe missing the point of publications such as National Review (and its equivalents from across the political spectrum) a bit. Before I go any further, I should probably put my own cards on the table. I'm a conservative and a subscriber to National Review's digital edition, so I can't claim to be free from bias.

      Assuming we accept that the publication's role is, effectively, a Republican think-tank (which is disputable, but perhaps not worth disputing here), you have to bear in mind what a think tank does. The most successful think tanks aren't the ones that try to shape policy in the present, on a scale of weeks and months, but rather the ones that try shape political movements over a matter of years. If you want an example from the other end of the political spectrum, look at the UK's Labour Party in the late 80s and early 90s, where a few think tanks, with Tony Blair as their figurehead (although decidedly not the leading intellectual light), formulated what was to become New Labour. This took place at time when most of the party was still wedded to programmes of nationalisation, punitive taxes for high earners and a ban on private schools. Although much of what the think tanks were saying was heresy to much of the party at the time, it formed the basis for a successful political movement that has already dominated the UK for over a decade.

      If you look at the history of National Review, a similar pattern can be seen. It played a central role in the formation of the modern conservative movement back in the 50s and 60s, when the conventional wisdom was that conservatism was dead. It identified Reagan as somebody to watch and support in the days when the idea of him as President would still have provoked gales of laughter from across the political spectrum. More recently, it predicted much of the present brand of conservatism, with a strong emphasis on moral values, that we see under Bush, back in the days when Clinton was in office. Rather than criticising the divide between what the think tanks are saying and the party is doing, it's more useful to look to the think tanks to discern the possible future directions the Republican party can take. It's interesting to note that there's a near-uniform consensus in such think-tanks now that while they are glad Bush won the last 2 elections, US conservatives would not tolerate another big-spender of the same ilk.

      The exercise is made a bit more difficult by the very nature of a think tank. There is no one consistent strand to its thinking. Indeed, if you read the articles and the associated blogs regularly, you can see some persistent and often heated areas of dispute. "Intelligent" Design is one area that keeps coming back up, although fortunately the editorial view seems to have shifted largely against it. However, you'll also find disputes on social and education policy, immigration and relations with the Islamic world. We've seen both sides of the videogame debate put forward on NR, although I think the more libertarian line seems to be winning out. Does this indicate the future direction the Republicans will take post Bush? Not necessarily, but don't rule it out.

      As a closing note, don't underestimate the power of these publications, which is growing all the time. A decade ago, they were read only by the more academic of the party-faithful. Today, they've got a much wider reach. National Review in particular has been extremely successful in establishing a widely-read online presence and its blogs in particular have become extremely well known. As these publications gain a wider base, their power to influence the base as well as the elites starts to grow.
    • Yep. All the Republicans are going to go "family values".

      And yet, who tries to regulate gaming ??

      Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman, notorious conservative Republicans [gamespot.com]

      And where did they try to limit games ? Michigan. As I recall, a Democrat signed that into law.

      Heck, let's fire up the Wayback Machine. Remember the Communications Decency Act ??? [wikipedia.org] ???. Sponsored by Senator James Exon, D-Nebraska. . .

      Yep, look to the GOP to censor games and the Net. . . You keep forgetting the real rule of polit

    • If only the Democrats had the guts to step in and fill the void instead of likewise pandering to its base...

      Never happen.

      At least the Republican party has Giuliani, Bloomberg, McCain, Schwarzenegger, Specter, Colin Powell.. Folks who are just as happy as Democrats (and me, frankly) to see DeLay get DeFrocked.. Who do the Democrats have that isn't a complete tool of the left, besides possibly Ron Wyden? Where are the principled, moderate Democrats? (answer: retired or Republicans, or dead like the late g
    • This is a problem for me. I agree with conservative theory and am fed up with the Republican pandering for votes. However I don't neccessarily agree with what the Democrats do which leave me voting for third-party candidates with a slim chance to do anything. I still vote for them though because they stand for what I stand for.
  • by iocat (572367)
    So does the lack of comments to this story indicate that the average slashdotter's head am explode by conservatives defending videogames, while Hillary Clinton bags on them?
    • I just have to step in here. I'm pretty liberal, but I have a lot of respect for real conservatives. That means people who believe in smaller government, lower taxes, and less governmental interference in the private lives of citizens. The real conservatives I know are decent, intelligent people who just want to live quietly, work hard and build good lives for themselves.

      The "social conservative" and "religious conservative" groups that have co-opted the term are practically anathema to the real meaning
      • You actually sound fairly libertarian if you're socially liberal but want smaller government. Even if you don't support the whole platform, you still should consider voting Libertarian. [lp.org] Libertarians believe in individual freedom & personal responsibility, which is at the core of most issues, including this one. Our kids are now in their mid teens. Up until this past year, they were only allowed to watch PG-13 movies and Rated "T" games. Unless we had a chance to preview them first, rated "R" movies and
  • A common theme in politics today seems to be that a loud minority of people want the US Government to act as a safety net for poor parenting. Honestly, if you bought your 12-year-old a copy of GTA San Andreas, it's not Rockstar's fault, it's not the US Government's fault, it's not the store's fault, it's yours, because you made a conscious decision to buy your kid that game when the title and the carton art tell the whole story. It's not as if the violent and sexually themed games are hiding among more "wholesome" games and trying to fool parents. They're clearly labelled and it's no one's responsibility but the parents' to take a proactive role in choosing the material to which their children are exposed.
    • Honestly, if you bought your 12-year-old a copy of GTA San Andreas, it's not Rockstar's fault, it's not the US Government's fault, it's not the store's fault, it's yours, because you made a conscious decision to buy your kid that game when the title and the carton art tell the whole story.

      Very true. However, there are plenty of cases where the child buys the game outside of the parent's presence. What do you suggest then? Following your kid 24/7, never letting them out of your sight? Weekly room sear
      • So your kid might be able to get a hold of GTA? Big fucking deal. Your kid can probably get a hold of illegal drugs just as easy as a video game if he really wanted to, and look at all the insane stuff governments do to restrict that. Your kid can probably have sex just as easy as he can get ahold of the Hot Coffee Mod for GTA, so is the government supposed to require kids to wear chastity belts? Do you think your kid wouldn't be able to get a hold of some beer, or ciggarettes, or porn magazines, if that is
        • The video game industry and the retailers are already doing a reasonable job in making sure video games stay out of the hands of minors. We don't need a police state to make it difficult for grown adults to purchase video games, or more expensive, which is what you want to happen.

          Of course, because enforcing age restrictions with legal penalties on retailers have made alcohol and tobacco so insanely expensive. Oh...wait. It's mostly taxes doing that, not age restrictions. Never mind.

          And the only ad
          • Guess what. Games are doing about a 3x better job than movie sales. Why no uproar about that?
          • And the only added difficulty you would see in getting games with legally-enforced age restrictions is having to have an ID handy to buy them. Big freakin' deal.
            This is not a small thing:

            1. By giving them personal identification, like a licence, they now can send me all kinds of marketing crap, track my purchases to create a marketing profile on me, etc.

            2. There is an increased chance of identity theft, because now I got minimum wage clerks looking over my ID.

            3. Now there is a way to link my purchases to my
            • 3. Now there is a way to link my purchases to my identity. Hillary Clinton is claiming that video games cause violence. What happens when they start looking up to see if you purchased GTA if you want to get a pilots licence, or a licence to own a gun, or go to get your passport renewed?

              Tinfoil_hat++
              also, Slippery_slope++
              Your other two points had some merit, however...though again, you don't see anybody complaining that ID checks for alcohol or tobacco are leading to identity theft, and calling for an e
              • ...unless there exists somewhere a Church of the Holy M-Rating.

                Damn, I might go to church if there was...
              • So no, the restriction of the sale of Grand Theft Auto to a minor is in no way analogous to the restriction of the sale of a Bible...unless there exists somewhere a Church of the Holy M-Rating.

                Are you kidding? The Bible, had it been published today (in game form), would have been rated AO, never mind M. We could play Gut the Canaanite and then pin the phallus on King Solomon's concubines.... I think that the proper way to consider the analogy is not "OMG teh Bible might convert my heathen childs!!!11!"

      • The parents still make the rules, and likely pay for the consoles and video equipment - make sure the game consoles are in a common area of the house. That way, you can always see what your kids are playing.

        If the child is old enough where thy buy their own console and TV and stick it in their room, then they're likely old enough to be playing Mature games anyway.

    • ...it's not the store's fault, it's yours, because you made a conscious decision to buy your kid that game when the title and the carton art tell the whole story.

      More to the point, if a parent decides to consciously purchase such a game for his 12-year old, it isn't anyone's "fault", because by making the purchase, the parent has at least implicity decided that the game content is not inappropriate for his child; there is no problem.

      One would think that someone truly devoted to "family values" would not gi

  • Passing the buck... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Onuma (947856)
    It's not unusual for people to want to pass of their responsibilities to others. Parents are no different.

    Just because someone has responsibilities, does not make them responsible in any fashion.

    Sad but true :(
  • Shock! (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by Rydia (556444)
    This just in! Anti-regulatory group against regulation! Film at 11!
  • It is indeed truly astounding to see the number of parents that want to blame their shitty parenting on someone else. That is today's fad, Pass the buck. I'm glad a publication of ANY type is saying it too. Parents are the fault in the rating system, not the ratings. Parents are how kids are getting violent games. Here's a hint, if you wnat to avoid ultra violent games... buy a gamecube and shut up. A big "w00t" out to the mag, Let the people know they have to be responsible for thier parenting actions.
  • Safety Nets (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Puhase (911920) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:24PM (#15068264)
    Some days you just have to sit back and dream because reality is far too confusing. Conservatives actually espousing their correct value set concerning government regulation? Democrats (Hillary and cohorts) trying to "save the children" with mindless studies that egrediously waste tax payer money that could go to something like education?

    Some days you just wish for a party that would be the proponents of a moderate and fiscally responsible social safety net and completely disregard this moral safety net idiocy. A long shot, I know. But since when did the government have the right or even the ability to make subjective judgements about morality? Religious people should be up in arms that the government is interfering with their baliwack (instead of just muddying up religion with politics). Church groups should be pounding the street protesting the latest GTA, not trying to get politicians to deal with it. I can ignore street protests...laws are a little harder.
  • The NRO is shamelessly **republican** and Thierier is more of a libertarian than a republican or conservative. Among old-style conservatives and libertarians, they are largely considered to be the whores of the national right wing media.

    For those interested, the author of this piece is also an occassional contributor to the Tech Liberation Front (www.techliberation.com). He's one of the few associated with the PFF who shows a tendency toward common sense.
    • I don't know about that. Poking around on NRO, it's not especially married to the Republican party. More than a few of their editors show strong libertarian leanings, and there's always Rod Dreher.
    • Ummm...NRO is its own creature. It's anti-drug-war, which is hardly the Republican party line. Although the vast majority of its writers oppose infanticide, a few regulars do not. There are those who are religious Christians, irreligious vaguely-Christians, Jews and atheists. On the whole, its perspective is right-libertarian.
  • by elhaf (755704) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @01:56PM (#15069320) Homepage
    Indeed, market surveys have shown that the average age of a video-game purchaser is 37, and that parents are present 92 percent of the time when games are purchased or rented.

    Yeah, the parents of the 37-year-old want to make sure nothing untoward happens in their basement.
  • Of course National Review writers support gaming. Especially those war games. Playing War games allows the National Review writers to feel like real warriors and patriots. Then they write their articles about supporting a war that they would never think of serving in themselves. That's why they're called the 101st Fighting Keyboardists by some and chickenhawks by others. War: its on the computer or in the imaginary land of neo-con theory. No blood, no fear, no death. Just democracy in the Middle East

    • Well said (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by Travoltus (110240)
      That was one of the few PERFECT and error-free posts I've seen on here :)
      • Yeah, except for the part where he spent so much time lovingly crafting his strawman just to knock it over again.

        Raise your standards. Grandparent is completely off-topic.

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