Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

Conservative gadfly Phyllis Schlafly put together a list of New Year’s resolutions that incoming freshman republican lawmakers on the state and federal level should adopt, in her estimation. Schlafly tackles all the usual conservative bullet points including school choice, healthcare, the Boy Scouts and video games. Here is one of the resolutions she proposes in her column:

"VIDEO GAMES: ‘There shall be no sale, rental or arcade-playing of extremely violent video games by children without parental consent.’ Explanation: Video games are increasingly graphic and harmful."

Commentary: It is interesting that conservatives want the government out of our healthcare, parent’s choices for schools and our pocket books, but not when it comes to content they deem immoral. Schlafly adds the phrase "without parental consent" but the use of that term is disingenuous. Why would I say that? I need only look at her September 2010 editorial on video games to see that she believes today’s parents are simply not smart enough or wise enough to understand video games and she wants the government to intervene:

"Parental control isn’t the solution because parents typically have no way to fully review these games before giving or denying permission to their children to play them. Some games are programmed to become more violent while the game is being played, and parents usually don’t or can’t play the games."

In other words, parents need the government to step in and hold their hands or do the heavy lifting for them. At least Libertarians are consistent in their view that the government should stay out of every aspect of our lives, not just the areas some political-leaners designate as "off limits."

You can read about Schlafly’s career as a political activist on Eagle Forum.


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  1. hellfire7885 says:

    "Parental control isn’t the solution because parents typically have no way to fully review these games before giving or denying permission to their children to play them."


    Let’s see here, asking the clerk, reading the ESRB website, seeing if there’s a demo you can try, going to the game’s website and viewing screenshots or trailers or gameplay movies, reading the rating on the box, hell, even going to Youtube and viewing independantly posted gameplay footage.

    Ah, wait ,the old bat would probably write those off as industry controled or something.

  2. C. Aaron Browbowski Jr. says:

    great, more embarssment to my GOP, and i don’t even believe a word she says now!

    Jesus Jack Jones Thompson loves you, so kill for his amusement so we can get money for the new "People’s Temple of Jesus Jack Jones Thompson"

  3. Andrew Eisen says:

    A reply four months later?  The odds that anyone would ever see it are almost nil but hey, here I am.

    If you’re not feeling up to sex with your spouse, you have the right to simply say no; you don’t have to up and get divorced.  That’s silly.  After all, you may be up for it later.

    Marriage is not a promise to have sex with your spouse whenever they want it regardless of your feelings on the matter.  And no, being that way does not make it a sexual harassment trap.  Forcing sex on someone is not sexual harassment.  It’s rape.


    Andrew Eisen

  4. Nerd42 says:

    Right. And the way they are able to excercise that right to say "no" by appealing to the law is by filing for divorce. Otherwise you are turning every marriage into a potential "sexual harrasment" trap.

  5. Nerd42 says:

    Whether it’s OK with me personally, whether I think it’s right or not, is not the issue. Whether it’s a criminal action is the issue. And when two people are married, it makes no sense for either one of them to be able to file rape charges against the other, because they’re MARRIED. If they got divorced or legally separated or whatever, then it would make sense for the government to listen if either one of them files rape charges about things that happen after that. But when people have gotten married, it means they’re gonna be having sex and I see no way to objectively prove that anything they do was a case of rape at the time. The marriage ought to count as a consent, legally speaking, at least to the sex, but not to physical abuse. Assault is a different matter than rape.

  6. Andrew Eisen says:

    There’s no issue here.  Forcing sex on someone who doesn’t want it is a criminal action.  Being able to "objectively prove" it happened has abolutely no bearing on that fact.

    Marriage does not void either spouce’s right to say "no." 


    Andrew Eisen

  7. Tacticus says:

    Wait wtf?

    Is assaulting your wife also fine?

    In what absurd world do you live in that some gives up all rights to make determinations about their body when they marry?

    If one party does not want it it is rape. maybe they were too tired that night, maybe something else hell there doesn’t need to be a reason, but none of that changes the fact that it’s rape?

    It might be grounds for divorce, but not rape and assault.

  8. Erik says:

    I’m not so good at detecting net sarcasm.  Are you being sarcastic?

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  9. Erik says:

    Bronze Age or Dark Ages?  You seem to be losing the plot.

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  10. HarmlessBunny says:

    I think the Bronze age had more common sense than this nut-case. Hell, even the Romans were far more progressive, wise, and knowledgable than her. I agree with you, even as a Christian myself, that her version Christian-Right movement should be opposed all the way…


    James Fletcher, member of ECA Canada

  11. Zerodash says:

    When these fools finally emerge from shitting their Bronze-Age mythology into our laws and society, then I’ll give a damn about their opinions.  Until then, the only important thing is opposing the Christian Right before they send us all back to the Dark Ages.  

  12. CyberSkull says:

    I can’t think of a game that gets "more violent" as you play. Rather it is just more of the game’s tools and mechanics become available to the player, and usually the player skill improves as the game progresses as well. And most of the time, the level of violence is up to the player based on how they choose to pursue the their goals, be it the game’s objectives or just their own foibles.

    I can’t say that I’ve played any modern ESRB-rated game and been surprised at content not mentioned in the ratings box on the back.

    Demagogues like her use every logical fallacy they can while ramping up the emotion and "save the children" to push their views. Just because she is unable (or unwilling as this case may be) to tell the difference between Gears of War and New Super Mario Bros. doesn’t mean most parents can’t.

    I have to agree, her regressive agenda would best be served with her getting back in the kitchen and leaving the rest of us alone. The ESRB works better than the MPAA or RIAA ratings and I don’t want to see another Hayes office.

  13. Soldat_Louis says:

    I actually don’t understand the sentence. Does "become more violent" refers to the game itself (in this case, the sentence means nothing), or does it refer to the people who play the game ?

  14. Neeneko says:

    Isn’t that kinda normal?  

    Futher you go into a game the more enemys you encounter and bigger weapons you get.

  15. Andrew Eisen says:

    "Some games are programmed to become more violent while the game is being played…"

    Give a modern example.  I dare you, Schlafly.  I double-dog dare you.


    Andrew Eisen

  16. Erik says:

    How is bashing people to death with a wrench less violent than anything?  Your examples are not more violent, they are different violent.  So you and Phyllis still need to prove this point.

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  17. Andrew Eisen says:

    And Hot Coffee doesn’t count either: for one, the content was not part of the game (as you pointed out), and two, it was completely in line with the rest of the game anyway.


    Andrew Eisen

  18. HarmlessBunny says:

    I agree with you on this one Andrew. The only time ‘hidden inappropriate content’ was found in a game was GTA San Andreas, but that is still arguable as it had to be unlocked through a 3rd party mod/hack to the game.

    Just because more bodies (and thus more blood) show up later in a game, to up the difficulty near the end, it was still bloody through out. Nothing hidden. Unless a game like Mario all of a sudden has a graphic sex scene and Bowser getting disembowled (now saying that, that would be quite disturbing and perversely funny 😛 ), there is no such game getting progressively more violent/more adult as a game continues.


    James Fletcher, member of ECA Canada

  19. Andrew Eisen says:

    And I disagree.  Bloody, sadistic murder is bloody, sadistic murder.  Plus, it’s not like the stuff you mentioned is at the end of the game.  You get to do that stuff pretty early on.

    The point Schlafly and Yee are making, and what I’m calling them on, is that games are hiding the inappropriate content in places parents can’t evaluate it.


    Andrew Eisen

  20. Neeneko says:

    No, I don’t beleive they go from "T" to "M".  But that isn’t what you claimed. You claimed that the amount of violence does not increase. 

    For instance, in BioShock, I think a case can be made that hitting people with a wreach at first and then pinning teenage girls to a wall with a drill till they die  or setting people on fire while you fling them in the air and send a hoard of deadly insects after them represents an increase in violence.   Still in the range of M, but it is not simply ‘more difficult’.

  21. Andrew Eisen says:

    I do know…

    BioShock, Doom, and the God of War games did not get more violent.  Again, simply upping the difficulty by adding more enemies or bigger guns does not up the violence.  Everything in the back half of those games was, from a ratings and age-appropriateness standpoint, completely in line with everything in the front half.

    Do you really think the front halfs of those games are on the level of a T rating while the later halfs are M?


    Andrew Eisen

  22. Neeneko says:

    I don’t know.. BioShock got progressively more violent as the game went on.  More bodies, more death, more killing.  I would call that an increase in the amount of violence. DOOM got more violent as the game went on as you got bigger guns and increasing numbers of opponents to use them on. And of course the God of War games.

  23. Andrew Eisen says:

    The difficulty increases sure but not the level of violence.  Turok 2 didn’t introduce the Cerebral Bore until halfway through the game but that weapon and the havoc it wrote was completely in line with everything that came before it.


    Andrew Eisen

  24. Andrew Eisen says:

    Sorry but no.  You’re smacking things with a crowbar about 10 minutes in (half an hour if you’re taking your time).  I see what you’re saying but that’s kind of like comparing the violent content of the title screen to the rest of the game.

    Not fighting totally human enemies (as opposed to aliens and other humanoid monsters) until later in the game is an interesting point though.  Still, I’d argue that how you deal with them is no more violent.  To me, bludgeoning a head crab with a crowbar is the same as bludgeoning a SWAT guy (or whatever they’re called in that game).

    Plus, Half Life came out in 1998.  I wouldn’t consider it a modern game.


    Andrew Eisen

  25. Erasmus Darwin says:

    "Give an example of a modern game that’s violent content in the later areas of the game is out of line with the beginning areas."


    The beginning is violence free.  Even once you’re off the tram and fully in control of your character, there isn’t really any violence.  The violence starts with a crowbar versus monsters and zombies.  It’s only much later that violence against regular humans is generally required of the player.

  26. Andrew Eisen says:

    And what I said was calling into question what they mean.  If that wasn’t clear in my initial post, boy howdy, it ought to be now.


    Andrew Eisen

  27. Andrew Eisen says:

    The only game I can think of where there’s violence at the end that is completely out of line with anything that came before it is in 1988’s Bionic Commando.  Hitler’s head explodes in a gory fashion at the end.  Nothing like that previously.


    Andrew Eisen

  28. E. Zachary Knight says:

    In Bioshock, you have the option of killing people all through the game. It is only the method of killing people that changes during gameplay. With that in mind, it is normal game progression that brings about that change. So if a parent were to play Bioshock andactually stick with it they would see all that content.

    I understand what Andrew is saying. He is saying that Yee and Schlafly claim that parents are not able to find all the most violent stuff because it is hidden. He is claiming that they are wrong.

    Let me ask you this, is it more violent to shoot someone with a rocket launcher than to bludgeon them to death with a wrench? Personally, I would say the wrench death is more violent and those kinds of deaths are more likely to be found in the beginning of a game.

    Personally, when I think of games getting more violent, I think of a progression from simple killing to torturous killing. Such as going around killing people with guns in the early stages and then in the latter half, skinning people alive and eating their livers.

    Currently, there are no games that have that kind of progression.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  29. Andrew Eisen says:

    No, it’s nothing like that.

    Both Schlafly and Yee are saying that video game are hiding the truly violent stuff in places where parents won’t find them.  Stuff that, if they knew it was there, they would never have let them play the game in the first place.

    And I don’t agree that your examples are more violent in the end than they are at the beginning.


    Andrew Eisen

  30. Neeneko says:

    That is a differnt question.   This is a bit like if you had said ‘there are no cats!’, someone responded ‘yes, there are cats’, and you came back with ‘fine! show me a 20 foot purple cat with laser beam eyes’.

    ‘Increases as gameplay goes on’ and ‘out of line requiring a higher rating’ are not the same thing.    That is why I said you have to attack the connection rather then claiming there is no increase.  Your argument make  you sound like you are saying there are no cats, which is trivial to disprove, therefor your debunking of Yee and friend

    I already gave 2 examples of where violence increases as gameplay goes on, neither represent an increase from one rating to another.


  31. Andrew Eisen says:

    Okay, then I offer the same challenge to you that I offered to Schlafly.  Give an example of a modern game that’s violent content in the later areas of the game is out of line with the beginning areas.  In other words, name me a game that hides its "inapproriate for the kiddies content" in places parents are unlikely to ever reach if they decide to ignore the ratings and other tools and evaluate the game themselves.


    Andrew Eisen

  32. Neeneko says:

    These are two separate things, and the flaw in Lee’s argument is in going from one to the other.   Gameplay does get more violent, trying to say that it does not make it sound like you are pretending games function differently then they do simply to discredit Lee.  Attack the connection instead.

  33. Andrew Eisen says:

    I see Leland Yee and his ilk throw this horse pucky around quite often.  They allege that the gameplay itself gets more violent further on in the game such that, the age appropriateness of the first few hours of the game are completely out of line with the age appropriateness of the later hours of the game.


    Andrew Eisen

  34. dsparil says:

    If the court rules in favor ofthe industry I wouldn’t at all be surprised if she tried to blame it on those "evul libruls".

  35. Left4Dead says:

    Coming from someone who has never played a video game in her life.  Next.

    – Left4Dead

    Why are zombies always eating brains? I want to see zombies that eat toes for a living. Undead-related pun intended.

    -- Left4Dead --

  36. Kincyr says:

    see my sig for my 2 cents on Schlafly’s anti-feminist views

    岩「if Phyllis Schlafly wants to undo Women’s Rights, she should lead by example and get back in the kitchen」

  37. Nerd42 says:

    OK that’s a little weird. A wife files rape charges against her husband? I just don’t see it. If she didn’t want to have sex with him, don’t marry the guy! Get some kind of legal separation. Is that so much to ask?

  38. BearDogg-X says:

    Phyllis Schlafly’s resolution should be to learn to shut her mouth before someone sticks an apple in there.

    Considering that she believes it’s OK for a man to rape his wife without consequence says all anyone needs to know about the intelligence of a gargoyle with no feminine qualities whatsoever.

    Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra. Hell will stay frozen over for quite a while since the Saints won the Super Bowl.

    Proud supporter of the New Orleans Saints, LSU, 1st Amendment; Real American; Hound of Justice; Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always

    Saints(3-4), LSU(7-0)

  39. Andrew Eisen says:

    No (at least not in the first hour, I don’t think), but so what?  That’s no more violent than what you do earlier.


    Andrew Eisen


    P.S. – Use the reply button.

  40. sqlrob says:

     So you were ripping the eye out of the cyclops and using the socket to steer really early in GoW?


  41. Soldat_Louis says:

    Phyllis Schlafly. What else ?

    (well, in fact, I found her more reasonable than usual. The first sentence looks like it was written by Captain Obvious, but at least, she mentions parental consent)

  42. Neeneko says:

    I say retro progressive because what people like her advoate is not ‘concervative’ in the traditional sense, but instead is implementing a new set of laws and standards.  Her group is ‘progressive’ in that they want to change things, but ‘retro’ in that they want to change things to conform to a fantasy image of a past state.

    Concervative generally means ‘keep things they way they are until they have been tested on small scales and proven’… her group is big on change based off unproven ideas.    Modern concervatives like her have nothing to do with being concervative…. they are just a differnt breed of progressives.

  43. Cheater87 says:

    Another person calling for government censorship/bannings of video games. What a surprise. Although she is trying to sugar coat it so it doens’t directly say that.

  44. Nerd42 says:

    I’m not saying she’s right or even that she’s really thought through the proposal but it seems to me that neither have you. What do you mean by "retro-progressive"? Doesn’t whether something is "progressive" or not depend on which direction you’re going? And if you’ve taken a wrong road, just like if you’ve made a mistake in mathematics, the quickest way forward is to go back and fix what went wrong – to keep going in a mistaken direction is not progressive.

    I also think it’s important that kids under around 16 shouldn’t be able to get some of the more extreme video games (or movies) without parental consent and no sensible parent ought to be giving that consent. However, I’m not convinced that the way in which many conservatives are trying to get the government to help solve this problem is the best solution. But I certainly don’t see a contradiction between this and school choice or getting the government out of health care. They’re separate issues.

  45. Neeneko says:

    Pretty standard retro-progressive attitude….. ‘choice’ when they want the power to be with specific industries or religious groups, remove choice when they want the power to be with the government.  Both are about restricting what other people can do, all that changes is how they go about it.

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