The cultural scapegoat fallacy, resurrected

An argument that I thought had been more or less settled years ago has raised its ugly and nonsensical head, most vocally by a man who in so doing has been dubbed the Craziest Man On Earth – and rightfully so.

Stephen Marche at The Culture Blog says:

Common sense says as much as any study, though. Widespread mass slaughter by guns is an American disease. Everywhere else in the world consumes American culture voraciously, and yet they don’t have murder as a public-health problem. Canadians and Koreans play more video games than Americans, but manage to rein in their shooting impulses. Ever seen Japanese slasher movies? Or Japanese pornography? It redefines exploitation and disgust. Japan has virtually no gun deaths. Why? One answer — I’m just saying — is that it has virtually no guns.

The study Marche refers to, reported by the Atlantic Wire, concordantly backs him up:

26ae3fa8e130bd1a591e5bad36638189_623x330A more detailed, thorough report by The Washington Post concordantly backs the Atlantic Wire up:

So, what have we learned? That video game consumption, based on international data, does not seem to correlate at all with an increase in gun violence. That countries where video games are popular also tend to be some of the world’s safest (probably because these countries are stable and developed, not because they have video games). And we also have learned, once again, that America’s rate of firearm-related homicides is extremely high for the developed world.

So, case settled. Again.

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2 comments
  1. Kim Dance Schauble said:

    Well-justified. I will use this when I hear old folks saying, (and if you could hear me, you’d hear an exaggerated crotchety old fogey voice), and yes, they’re still saying it: “all this violence is because of all those video games the kids play these days!”

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