You’d think that, with the Brown Vs. ESA decision making video games protected free speech, that politicans would just pack it in.
Instead they’ve been going after video games even more vociferously. Even people who really should know better, like Diane Fienstein, have been insisting that Congress must regulate video games.
Brown Vs. Entertainment Merchants Association is one of the stranger cases to come out of the Supreme Court. The lead opinion was authored by Justice Antonin Scalia, not exactly a guy noted for leading the charge on freedom of speech in the court system, and is essentially unassailable. Here’s what would need to happen for the court to reexamine Brown Vs. ESA:
- There would have to be strong scientific evidence that playing violent video games actually causes violence.
- The lawmakers would also have to demonstrate that parents were completely powerless to keep inappropriate audiences from playing a video game.
- On top of that, they’d have to prove the industry is not properly regulating itself.
If that seems like an impossible standard… why, yes. Yes it is.
The irony is that impossible standard makes it ideal for politicians to blame video games, if they’re even aware of the ruling in the first place. Politics is a discipline where no matter what you do, you’re going to make somebody angry, so, to keep your job, you have to enrage the right people.
So video games are perfect. Old people are scared of them; old people vote at a much higher rate than young people; and, most importantly, you don’t have to actually do anything. You can talk tough, do nothing, and if a constituent angrily asks why you aren’t controlling video games, you just tell them that the Supreme Court is tying your hands.
But don’t worry, you’re sure evidence will come through about how video games are totally the cause of murder aaaaaaany day now.
In short, politicians have free license to blame video games because it gives them the ability to pretend to be doing something. So, if they’re representing your district or state, write them a polite letter informing them of the Supreme Court’s decision. But if you don’t, just ignore them. The less attention they get, the less likely they are to waste their time and your money.