Guest Post By Breitbart News’ Michael Flynn
A new study released by a professor from Ohio State University confirms what many parents have known for a long time–violent content has increased in films and other media. The study finds that modern PG-13 films contain more violence than R-rated films did in the 1980‘s. While many good upstanding folks might applaud someone drawing attention to this fact and pushing the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to adjust their ratings, the goal of this study is more sinister.
Should this study result in a new calibration of the ratings system, most parents would support there being a better system to help them determine what their children are watching. It is, however, highly unlikely that the author of this study would be satisfied with simply changing ratings. Brad Bushman is a long time advocate for government censorship of violence in the media. He continues to push this position despite the fact that there is no actual science to show that violence in films or video games causes violent behavior.
Mr. Bushman’s most recent study asserts that the existence of additional violence may be making youth more violent saying, “Of course it’s not the only factor, and it may not even be the most important factor, but it isn’t a trivial factor–and it’s one we can change.”
Presumably, the “we” in that sentence is him and whatever politicians control the government at the moment and “change” is some form censorship.
Frighteningly, he isn’t a lone crusader. He has the support of some powerful people. Following the shootings in Newtown Connecticut, Rep. Frank Wolf, Chairman of a House Appropriations Subcommittee demanded that the National Science Foundation (NSF) conduct a study to “find” a link between video games and violence. Mr. Wolf oversees the funding for NSF so they hired a study author sure to find the results Wolf was seeking–Brad Bushman.
Few people would advocate for more violence, sex or coarse language in media. Many find the current level to be as repulsive as the “Piss Jesus” art of 1987. Yet most people understand the dangers of giving politicians and bureaucrats the power to determine what information or images the American public should be allowed to express or see.
The Founding Fathers understood that the right to expression must be sacrosanct and fiercely protected. Mr. Bushman’s willingness to use shifting grounds and leaps of logic to advance a political position is the perfect example of what the Founding Fathers were guarding against. Once the flood gates are opened to subjective government censorship based on assertions and accusations, there will be no end. Remember the calls to outlaw “hate speech” in the wake of the Giffords shooting? The only speech that qualified as “hate” was conservative speech.
Seeing or hearing things we don’t like is a by product of living in a free society. The MPAA rating system balances free expression with informed consent. Updating the ratings could be a useful endeavor. Nevertheless, Americans should not be fooled by Mr. Bushman. He once conducted a study that found that reading the Bible causes violence. Should he have his way, he and the government will be deciding what all Americans should and shouldn’t see, hear and experience.