Political Independent New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a modern day prohibitionist. He has made national headlines for his crusade against salt, guns, soft drinks, Styrofoam cups, saturated fat, calories and tobacco. His government knows best campaigns have garnered the support of the likes of Piers Morgan who said “I agree with Mayor Bloomberg…He’s been big on gun control, big on smoking – he wants New Yorkers to be fitter and healthier. What is wrong with that?” Apparently Bloomberg and Morgan have found at least one Republican supporter in Congress — Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA).
Wolf has a history of using government to promote social policy he sees fit.
In 1998, Wolf went nuts trying to ban peanuts on airline flights because some passengers are allergic. Today, he is trying to censor and regulate video games. Wolf believes video games are a significant contributor to violence in society and is relentlessly pursuing government regulation and potential censorship of the industry.
In a clear conflict of interest, Wolf, a subcommittee chairman on the House Appropriations Committee, recently asked a government agency he oversees funding for – the National Science Foundation (NFS) — to examine the role of video games contribute to societal violence. He then “invited” the authors to testify before his committee to share their findings. One can’t help but wonder what would have happened to the NSF’s funding levels if they came back with a finding counter to Wolf’s position. Nevertheless, Wolf obtained his desired result.
The NSF answered Wolf’s request with a study by Professor Brad Bushman — the same professor who authored a report that claimed Bible passages could influence people to commit violent acts. If the Bible can contribute to violence, why can’t video games?
This logic leads one to ask — why stop there?
What about music?
Under the Wolf/Bushman logic, all contribute to a culture of violence and the government needs to get involved.
The problem is the facts show otherwise. Despite the widespread popularity of video games — 68% of all American households play computers or video games — violence is on the decline in America and has been since 1990. A former FBI profiler Mary Ellen O’Toole recently told CBS News, “It’s my experience that video games do not cause violence…It’s important that I point out that as a threat assessment and as a former FBI profiler, we don’t see these as the cause violence.”
Wolf’s attitude toward gamers was probably best summed by liberal Democrat Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) who said, “In today’s world, where kids can access content across a variety of devices often without parental supervision, it is unrealistic to assume that overworked and stressed parents can prevent their kids from viewing inappropriate content.”
To Rockefeller, Bloomberg and Wolf, it is the government’s job to be the nanny of our children even when there is no evidence to suggest their campaign is based on anything but a mistaken belief.
Government is big enough. We need another agency to regulate video games about as much as we need more RINO’s like Frank Wolf.