I posted my blog entry about how video games subdue people’s ability to think for themselves on another site in addition to this one. I pointed out that such lack of thinking leads to complacency and basically accepting big government as a “savior.”
My blog entry mentioned a rating on a video game. On that other site, some on the left jumped and basically said “Hooray for big government! You hypocrites! See, you want big government when it suits your purposes and just don’t want it when it goes against your views!”
In the early 1990s as people became concerned about the violence in video games and its possible influences on society (a very legitimate concern), Congressional hearings were held. Congress told the industry either to police itself or the government would do it for them. Does anyone really think that we only have a rating system because of big government? Consumer groups never would have gotten together and pressured game manufacturers, retailers, and ultimately game developers to do something? Independent groups would not have formed to rate the games? Quite honestly, I’d prefer the latter where independent groups rate games rather than an organization that is associated with the industry. In fact, I’d like to see multiple groups doing ratings much as we have multiple credit rating agencies. But with intervention by Congress, the industry was ultimately given an opportunity to police itself. And a fox is great at guarding a hen house!
Sometimes, when people are forced to come up with their own creative solutions (in other words, the government does not step in and “save the day”), new ideas and opportunities emerge. Society benefits in the process. If nothing else, society learns a lesson. But often the results are far more than merely learning a lesson.
The reaction to my blog post is basically an attempt by big government cheerleaders to justify what is familiar to them: big government. I understand that when viewing the government as the “savior” for every ill faced by mankind, it’s difficult to think outside the box. Truly, I sympathize. Government is apparently here to provide everyone with an adequate, mediocre existence. No thinking required. Hey, maybe the government can get into deciding fashion trends too?
Let’s pretend for a moment that video games only became a problem in modern times. Let’s assume the industry didn’t decide to “police” itself. What would government oversight look like? Might it be something like this: Obama reads a speech (written by a lackey) from his teleprompter and introduces a bunch of former Senators for some “blue ribbon committee” in which they are well paid. The committee recommends a dozen new federal agencies with 500 new federal bureaucrats plus a plethora of assistants and staff for the assistants. The new collection of agencies has an organization chart that would make even the schematic for one of the most complex electronic devices in history seem simple by comparison. And then in a couple of years, we could add a few more agencies, more staff, and create more debt for future generations.
While we did not have this capability in the 1990s, we are now at a point where consumers have tremendous power over businesses, particularly when it comes to expensive products and services. Reputation is vital. The Internet provides numerous opportunities to write reviews. Let’s face it: It’s human nature to write a complaint more often than it is a compliment. Too many negatives and it starts to eat into business. What can big government do here? Well, I suppose they can bail out such businesses, artificially propping up failures. And they can pass the debt for the bail outs onto future generations.
Ultimately, we must get over the mindset that big government is the only way to solve our problems. If people would use their minds again, there are many problems that could be solved without the expense of gargantuan government. The costs of big government are simply unsustainable. The canned answer seems to be “tax the rich.” I submit that if every resource of “the rich” was seized and liquidated it would still not be able to fund the full appetite of big government cheerleaders. It’s time to think outside the box.