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Supreme Court OK With Violent Video Games; Porn Still Illegal (for Minors)

Is it hypocritical of the Supreme Court to allow violent video games to be sold to minors, while continuing to ban depictions of sex?

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He cites the fact that “The patriarchal family was the basic building block of Puritan society” as a basis for his argument, more than 200 years later, against the access of children to violent games. Thomas Jefferson's parenting style also makes an appearance, though no mention of the children Jefferson had with his slaves.

Alyssa Rosenberg at Think Progress sees the connections between Thomas and Scalia's arguments and the recent debate over “dark” young-adult literature: 

“Read together, these arguments form sort of a rough continuum. Thomas’s nostalgia for Puritan parenthood is a remarkably honest statement of the cultural world many conservatives seem to wish they lived in. And Scalia’s deft history explains why cultural censors can’t turn back the clock — and perhaps why they don’t really want to. Children can’t be protected from darkness, disappointment and pain by keeping them away from culture that contains those themes. But they can figure out how to move through a world in which those things are inevitable with the help of art and literature.”

In the end, I believe the Court made the right decision in striking down California's law. The problems with violence in American society are not going to be solved by banning video games or even by banning the nightly news. They could be addressed by considering our attitudes toward violence and force as solutions to far too many problems, from the death penalty to extrajudicial assassination to invading country after country.

They could also be addressed by answering some of the questions Justice Breyer raised in his dissent. Just why is porn so much scarier and worthy of regulation than violent games? Blogger and professor Scott Lemieux agrees with Breyer that it's not, but, “It’s just that the right answer is to level up to more free speech rather than leveling down to less.” 

Sarah Jaffe is a contributor to AlterNet and a freelance writer.

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