Government restricting our constitutional rights in the name of “protecting the children,” is, sadly, nothing new. But when a guy who has made well in excess of $100 million making violent movies seeks to ban the sale of violent video games to minors – that’s individuals under the age of 18 – well, we are being treated to a truly breathtaking display of hypocrisy. As Governor of California, Arnold “the Governator” Schwarzenegger is the lead plaintiff in a case to be argued before the Supreme Court this fall that seeks to uphold a California law banning the sale of violent video games to minors.
I’m a little puzzled as to why SCOTUS even accepted this case. The law in question and similar statutes in other states rightly have been found unconstitutional by 12 different courts, including federal district courts and most recently, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. I’m hoping that the Supremes are simply taking this case to end this foolishness once and for all. But I digress.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ultra-violent Terminator, Predator and Conan series alone have reaped him tens of millions of dollars. And in case you didn’t notice, all of those movies spawned video games which I can only assume brought more money into Arnold’s pockets. And lest we forget, Arnold’s action hero flicks are routinely marketed to kids. Don’t believe me? Forgot about your Terminator action-figure that you left in your parent’s basement when you left for college?
The California ban is beyond legally dubious. It’s downright laughable.
As the appeals court judge wrote in a major smack-down, Arnold and the Attorney General, who happens to be former Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown, are asking the court to “boldly go where no court has gone before.” I’m not certain how I feel about a judge quoting Star Trek, but it at least, in this case, it is fiting.
As the court rightly pointed out, “[T]here remain less restrictive means of forwarding the State’s purported interests, such as the improved ESRB rating system, enhanced educational campaigns, and parental controls.” In other words, give parents the information they need to do the parenting and keep the government out of it. And this comes from the 9th Circuit – not exactly a hotbed of conservative or libertarian thought!
Seriously, can we just agree that we have bigger problems to deal with than a sixteen year old playing Warcraft III? Arnold, buddy, I loved your movies. You made saying things like “I’ll be back,” cool for high school kids. You were never the wimp or the ‘girly man’. So what gives with this wimpy nanny state move? How about you get back to getting California out of the red and stem the flow of regulations and taxes that are driving away the state’s most productive citizens. Oh, and why not be little more welcoming to the creative community that is the foundation of California’s economy and identity.
I hope the Supreme Court affirms the 9th Circuit decision and finds this assault on the 1st Amendment to be, well, an assault on the 1st Amendment. Note to whomever writes the majority opinion: you could be really cool and start with “and so, to use a famous phrase, we say, “Hasta la vista baby” to the California ban.”