Friday, August 10, 2012

Kotaku, Super PACs and Games as Propaganda


Ya know, when I first started this blog I was doubtful that I would have much fodder to work with on a day to day basis.  It really was just a lark for me to combine two of my passions - politics and gaming.  However, if the last two weeks or so are any indication, it looks like I might be on to something as I haven't been at a loss for material lately.  Even more interestingly, others have begun to mine the political-gaming angle since I started this blog - you can thank me later. ;)   The most recent foray into the world of politics comes from Kotaku.  In a recent entry entitled Some Americans Think A “Super PAC” Is A Video Game. Most Don’t Know What One Is, they write the following....


Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, and even Super Pac-Man... all video games. But not Super PAC—despite its similar name, a Super PAC is in no way related to Pac-Man. It's a term for a controversial type of political action group that's able to accept an unlimited amount of campaign donations and in so doing get around some campaign finance laws.

Now, I respect a pop-culture site trying to get in some political analysis, but that first paragraph has two glaring errors right off the bat.

First off, Super PACs  - short for super political action committees - formerly organized, politically active citizens coming together to pool their resources - are not "controversial" for the majority of Americans.  I mean, the title of the article sort of gives this away from the get-go, i.e., how can something be controversial if "most" American's don't know what they are?  The truth of the matter is that "super PACs" are only controversial with the American Left, as demonstrated by President Obama reading the riot act to the SCOTUS Justices during his State of the Union address (and getting a sub-vocal rebuttal from Justice Samuel Alito):



Why would the American Left, the often loud proponent of the 1st Amendment which almost absolutely protects political speech, find this so distasteful (not "controversial") when it's just American's using their own money to support political campaigns with ad buys?  Isn't that the essence of political free speech?  Well, the Left has a habit of defending the Constitution...but only when it serves the utopianist purposes (remember, these are the people who believe in the "living, breathing" non-constitution Constitution).  Super PACs hurt the Left. You see, when the United States Supreme Court ruled that Super PACs are perfectly legal in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case,  suddenly the American Right had a counter-punch to the billions of dollars the Left collects from their union friends.  Now the Right has the ability to raise millions,  providing them with a very vocal voice, via TV and radio ads,  that they didn't have before.  In effect, the Right can now go around the Left's trusted allies in the establishment media (what Edmund Burke referred to as the "Fourth Estate" , which today includes such liberal loudspeakers as CNN, NBC, CBS, The New Zork Times, et alia) and speak directly to the American people.  The long short: Super PACs have allowed balance to come to political campaigns, hence the reason why the Left finds it "controversial".  

The second mistake in Kotoku's paragraph is this:

...and in so doing get around some campaign finance laws.

Again, this is sort of a weird thing to say when the highest legal authority in the land, the United States Supreme Court, has held Super PACs to be perfectly legal.  From the ruling:

When Government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control [**793]thought. This is unlawful. The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves.

But you see, when the statist Left gets a ruling it does not like, they immediately call it a "loop hole" or "getting around" some such law.  In this case (literally), Super PACs are perfectly legal and in keeping with the best tradition of American free expression...whether or not the Left feels otherwise.

Admittedly, these are two small points, and I suspect they weren't made as much as they were inculcated from left-leaning media.  But I'd just thought I'd point it out for the benefit of all.  Remember: when it comes to politics, always think critically!

However, I think the most troublesome portion of the article is this suggestion:

If a game designer (M**** perhaps?) [edit: I've removed the game company's name and link because I don't promote Left wing hate sites] could come up with a newsgame about campaign finance, it could likely help people understand what everyone's talking about. The closest I could come up with was this classroom game about campaign finance, though I'm about to play The Political Machine 2012, so we'll see how that game does with PACs and Super PACs.

While I applaud the idea of encouraging game developers to tackle serious issues seriously, I denounce the explicit call of political propaganda disguised as gaming.  Perhaps that was not the intent of Kirk Hamilton, but when he specifically suggests a developer who specializes in Marxist and anti-Catholic bigotry as gameplay fodder, I begin to fear the worst.  We can do a lot better than that studio, Mr. Hamilton!  The last thing we need is a non-serious look at contemporary politics...there is enough of that on Comedy Central already.

Regardless of the reason, I am becoming increasingly concerned by the influx of radical statist politics into gaming (if I have to play another one more game with global warming themes....), which, of course, is why I started this blog.  Sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat after having a nightmare that George Clooney and Mark Cuban got together and made a game, and I was forced to play it (shudder).  I mean, does anybody really want to play the game version of Syriana?  Or An Inconvenient Truth?  Or Brokeback Mountain?  Well, if we keep encouraging political hack developers to work on such projects we will wind up with such dreadful fare sooner or later.  If you think gaming is bad now, just wait until you get a shooter without any guns, or a Minecraft where a government bureaucrat comes along and confiscates your masterwork of a mansion so he can "spread the wealth around".  Marxist lectures are bad enough as it is when you have to to sit through one from your communist professor, so I doubt very much we want to get them from our games, too!   

Lastly, I find it interesting that after all this angst over Super PACs, nobody has mentioned that a) Barack Obama, after denouncing Super PACs, has now eagerly embraced them, and b) he is the beneficiary of a dispicable Super PAC ad that even his own side is denouncing but he will not!  Hey, Mr. Hamilton, do you think M*** will make a game about that?

Probably not.

I do, however, want to thank Kotaku and Mr. Hamilton for bringing this article on Super PACs to my attention.  It is pretty funny that the term "Super PAC" reminds people of a video game!

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