Another Setback For The Nanny State

Federal judge has thrown out a Minnesota law designed to fine youngsters who purchase video games rated for adults. (The text of the law can be found here.)

The Minnesota law differed from laws already struck down in other states in that instead of fining retailers, the Minnesota law tried to fine the minors who attempted to purchase the game. Obviously, that approach failed.

Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch once again demonstrated why we should all be glad he stands little chance of being elected governor:

Attorney General Mike Hatch said he was disappointed by the ruling and will probably appeal.

“There’s been some pretty good evidence that children who use these excessively violent video games really learn inappropriate behavior and they’re rewarded for inappropriate behavior – how many people do you kill and things like that,” Hatch said.

One wonders if AG Hatch ever played Cops and Robbers when he was a kid.

Unfortunately the ruling doesn’t appear to be on CourtsWeb at the moment, however, Judge Rosenbaum found little persuasive evidence of Hatch’s contention that violent video games are at all correlated with antisocial or violent behavior:

“There is a paucity of evidence linking the availability of video games with any harm to Minnesota’s children at all,” he wrote.

He also said: “It is impossible to determine from the data presented whether violent video games cause violence, or whether violent individuals are attracted to violent video games.”

This is another case of how the nanny state continually attempts (often with success) to infringe upon our civil liberties. Laws such as this are ultimately futile (how many violent video games are purchased by parents rather than children?), and only foster a climate of further government interference into the private affairs of citizens. Retailers can and should enforce the voluntary video games rating system and refuse to sell violent games to minors – but using the resources of the state of Minnesota to legally enforce such a thing is both an infringement on civil liberties and a waste of taxpayer money. There is no compelling government interest in such an affair, and Judge Rosenbaum’s decision to strike this law down was the correct decision.

6 thoughts on “Another Setback For The Nanny State

  1. A rare moment of political wrongheadedness on the part of Mike Hatch….and admittedly an ominous sign of the kind of nanny state he may seek to impose if he becomes Governor. Does that make the incumbent any more attractive? Hell no!

  2. But as an aside, how does this constitute “another” setback for the nanny state? From my perspective, anti-nanny staters don’t have a very good batting average lately.

  3. “Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch once again demonstrated why we should all be glad he stands little chance of being elected governor.”

    1. This law bears the signature of none other than Tim Pawlenty. So if Mike Hatch takes a stand on a law and that makes him a nanny, it would stand to reason that the person who actually made the law a law has slightly more nanny responsibilities. And I guess we should all be horrified that guy actually is the governor.

    2. How sure are you about that? Pawlenty’s approvals are high, but his performance numbers are low. It’s not a Republican year. The DFLers should know they need to lace into Pawlenty a little to take down other GOPers a little. He’s the first governor in modern state history to decrease money to education, and the white suburban voters know it.
    Pawlenty is likely to win, and I’m happy the GOPers are counting their eggs before they are hatched (there really was no pun intended when I started writing that sentence), because this one has the potential to get close. Keep in mind both Dem and GOP incumbent guvs in the upper Midwest are in a little trouble this year.

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