Taxing Violent Video Games Might Just Solve The World’s Problems


In a meeting with religious leaders that was ostensibly about gun control, Joe Biden agreed with Reverend Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham and leading beacon of morality and decency) that sure, there’s no legal reason that violent video games couldn’t have a slightly higher rate of tax on them, which would of course go to victims of gun crime (unlike, say, a tax on guns).

The questionable logic of making already violent people pay more for their violent video games, or restricting access to them altogether while allowing them to keep their cache of guns aside, presents a major of issue with the Reverend’s suggestion. The First Amendment (the predecessor to the Second Amendment, so arguably more important) guarantees the right to freedom of speech, which violent media falls under. Not moral speech, or right speech, or correct speech – free speech. The problems that arise whenever gun control is mentioned in any context must surely also arise whenever free speech control – for that is what it would be, were the Reverend’s suggestion acted upon – is mentioned in any context.

A lot of it comes down to age, too. To these elder statesmen, video games are the scourge of young people. They are the reason that the youth of today are so feckless and crime-happy. To these people, most modern technology is used exclusively for crime, or the facilitation of crime. The terrifying thing is that these people are in charge of making laws, and without the powerful lobbyists that the music industry has, the games industry may find itself in what law experts call “a pickle.”

Of course, Joe Biden might have just been saying that there’s “no legal reason” to seem like he was agreeing with the Reverend, without actually agreeing. There’s no legislation, nothing solid as of yet, just an interesting conversation between two very different people that seemed worth reporting on. The ephemeral beauty of conversation is sometimes its own story.