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Old 01-11-2013, 3:30 PM
strlen strlen is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Bay Area
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First, I acknowledge Kestryl's disgust at violence in current games, as well as graphic torture pornography that we call movies. I don't play first person shooter games (although I appreciate the software engineering work that has went into them) for many reasons, their graphic nature a core one. I'd argue it isn't the stylized torture in Saw (never watched it, never will), but the "necessary evil" torture in 24 and movies like Taken that is most pernicious to society. I fell physically ill after watching the Taken torture scene: the real result would not have been a pin-point location but a tall yarn telling Neeson something that he wanted to hear, but that wasn't quite true (or even verifiable at all).

However, there are many legitimate reasons to display a torture scene in a movie: Pan's Labyrinth and even Reservoir Dogs have done this in a way that creates anti-torture opinions (people quoting Nice Guy Eddie during debates about this issue was actually useful: "if you beat this ***** long enough, he'll tell you about the start of the Chicago fire"). Perhaps movie makers can agree that if a movie has a scene where torture yields useful information, it should be at least identified as such, so that parents could prevent their children's exposure to this morality if they so choose. Likewise, again, I can find plenty of justified examples of Violent Games as useful free speech -- in other words, I can make a moral (and not just a constitutional) case for both. It's up to the parents to inform themselves and decide (based on their child's development, mental health, academic performance, etc...) what games they should be allowed to play (I'll probably be "that dad" as my answer would be: any game you program yourself).

Of course this doesn't touch on the point that "violent video games cause violence" is a statement akin to "conceal carry laws will lead to people shooting each other in bars": both make perfect sense to someone unfamiliar with the issue and both are utterly wrong. Facts simply don't agree with either of these sentiments:

Practically speaking, I identify far more with Gura than I do with the NRA. However, I think Alan Gura may also be over-estimating how many principled liberals and libertarians there are: his arguments ring strong with the ACLU/EFF crowd (which includes me) that believes in principled individual rights, but disagrees with the proper size and scope of the government (liberals believing in a duty to provide a safety net, libertarians believing in a more minimal scope). However, there are just as many people calling themselves "liberal" or even "libertarian" (because there's no other political label applicable to them) who are more interested in equality aspect of gay-marriage (defending it on those grounds) and reproductive rights (which also have tangible societal benefits, beyond liberty or equality), disagree internally about the scope of the state (but generally based on "greater good" and not "duty to the poor" or "individual right to make choose" arguments) and don't mind the kind of Nanny-state that bans not wearing seat-belts (ACLU actually fought seat-belt laws in the 1999s on a principled stance -- they were some of the first laws that created unambiguously victimless crimes), transfat, sugary soda, and certain drugs. For them, the principled rights rhetoric doesn't mean much: I even know many who enjoy owning and shooting weapons, but just don't think ordinary civilians should own them. I am at a loss as to why that faction is rising in mindshare and how to best counter their arguments that seem to disregards rights of anyone but themselves.

Last edited by strlen; 01-11-2013 at 3:42 PM..
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