Nearly every time a politician opens his mouth, something characteristically empty-headed falls out of it. Sometimes I wonder if they're actually surprised by how insane they sound, but I seriously doubt it. Luckily, the Internet is always around to catch their lunacy and turn it into front-page news.
Ralph Nader is most recent politician to achieve celebrity status for his lack of education on video game violence. In an interview with Politico on Monday, Nader criticized President Obama's 23-point plan to reduce gun violence. “We are in the peak of [entertainment violence],” Nader said. “Television program violence? Unbelievable. Video game violence? Unprecedented. I’m not saying he wants to censor this, I think he should sensitize people that they should protect their children family by family from these kinds of electronic child molesters.”
Yes. Nader used the phrase electronic child molesters to describe video game and television violence.
It's this type of hyperbole that deteriorates a much-needed political dialogue and forces people like me to shine a spotlight on capital hill's stupidity. I've said this before, and I'm sure that I'll be forced to say it again; there is no link between violent behavior and violent entertainment. In fact, the FBI keeps track of violent crime in the U.S., and there has been a significant decrease over the last five years.
Just so we're all on the same page, within the same time period that Call of Duty sold 100 million copies, violent crime was reduced by 15.5 percent. If anything, there's an inverse relationship between CoD sales and violent crime. So, Nader should be sending Activision a thank you card, not accusing them of pedophilia.
I understand the desire to stop violent crime from happening, but I'm getting really damn tired of listening to a group of out-of-touch, geriatric nut-bags talk about violence like they actually understand the statistics.
Nader, and everyone like him, needs to take a cue from the president. Obama might not understand the relationship either, but at least he's using the innate humility of the scientific method discover the truth. And he doesn't make idiotic, sweeping proclamations about the state of American children. If we truly are at the peak of entertainment violence, like Nader seems to think, it's having a positive effect on our culture.
Or, and this is far more likely, it has no effect whatsoever. Education is probably the key to reducing violence, but as long as politicians are singularly focused on video games, we're never going to solve anything.
Date: January 23, 2013