Category: Liberty

This is a post about SimCity, shooters, and spending money

Posted on April 10th, by Jordan Rivas in Liberty, Video Games. 2 comments

SimCity promotes risk taking. It’s not any less focused on risk than, say, Bioshock: Infinite or any other first-person shooter. It’s colored differently, the mechanics are obviously of an entirely different nature, but the elementary observations about what drives the games forward are the same.

I’m touching on this because of a misconception I carried in with me to play SimCity for the first time a few weeks ago. Delighted at the simulation and strategy involved in this city building (and managing) game, I exclaimed to myself how wonderful it was to be playing something free of all the shooting, bravado, and reckless daring seen ad nauseum in most triple-A titles. I told myself I was playing a game about methodical actions, and gauged responses. And while undeniably the level of strategy in the game outweighs most others, my compulsion to play SimCity is based on elements that likewise drive my desire to play most other games — even (especially) the shooting ones.

Actions drive the experience forward. Inaction, while part of the process in SimCity, isn’t nearly as prized as taking some sort of action. There’s a myriad of actions you can take in the game, but … Read More »

This is a post about games, guns, and politics

Posted on January 16th, by Jordan Rivas in Liberty, Politics, Video Games. 1 Comment

The vice president of the United States is not interested in video games, or what video game industry leaders have to say. He’s interested in politics, and appearances. And he’s interested in using both to further manipulate a frightened constituency into placated acquiescence.

Vice President Joe Biden didn’t meet with industry leaders across a wide spectrum of businesses and interest groups because he’s interested in cooperation and enlightenment that will lead to less gun violence, he held these meetings to give the appearance of cooperation and enlightenment. That doesn’t entirely preclude anything useful from happening, but to comment on the situation without an understanding of the underlying motivations of the White House is to reveal a startling naivete about Washington politics.

Whatever issues about violence and media are crying out to be discussed, and whatever arguments to be made about how, where and with whom we should be discussing them – when commenting on whether or not game industry leaders should have met with Joe Biden, you have to first understand the context of politics inside the Beltway.

When you take a meeting with the Vice President (or anyone in Washington, D.C.) and someone takes a picture, you’ve made a statement. When you … Read More »

Games and Liberty Part V: Free market and Kickstarter

Posted on October 31st, by Jordan Rivas in Liberty, Video Games. 3 comments

A couple of weeks ago, we looked at the demise of 38 Studios. The video game developer failed after receiving $75 million in bond loans backed by the state of Rhode Island. Last week, we touched on the benefits of less taxation (or no taxation), but highlighted the potential threats of inequality that present themselves in selective tax relief.

This week I’d like to close out the series on Games and Liberty by highlighting one final liberty-minded alternative to government interference. If the state of Rhode Island backing loans to a game developer (and ultimately leaving the responsibility for that defaulted on loan to the taxpayers) is an extreme of government involving itself in an industry that has done quite well without it, than the opposite of that is the phenomenon of Kickstarter.

The simplest thought I had when I first heard about the debacle in Rhode Island was — “if the people of Rhode Island thought 38 Studios was a good investment, they would have made it themselves.” To the contrary, private investors practically fled from 38 Studios.

Kickstarter doesn’t represent the traditional model of investment (selling equity of a company in exchange for capital), but promotes the “crowd-funding” model that … Read More »

Games and Liberty Part IV: UK Tax Relief

Posted on October 24th, by Jordan Rivas in Liberty, Video Games. No Comments

The proper purpose of government is to defend the liberty of its citizens. Liberty is the chief charge, and the only legitimate mission, of a just government. Every government endeavor that does not fall under the umbrella of defending liberty can be counted at best as superfluous, at worst as tyranny.

Last week, we discussed state interference in private industry. Namely, Rhode Island backing a $75 million bond loan to 38 Studios, and the subsequent passing of that financial burden to taxpayers when the studio failed.
This week, I’d like to discuss a positive approach towards taxation that can help not only businesses, but individuals as well. Namely, not taxing.

In the article last week, I discussed in the inherent immorality of taxation. If you haven’t read it, I urge you to check it out, at least reading the first portion on the unjust nature of taxation. With that as our basis, I’d like to move on to practically covering how lowering, and eliminating taxes helps everyone.

Frederic Bastiat, the French economist and author, said accurately, “By virtue of exchange, one man’s prosperity is beneficial to all others.” The simplest example: if the government stops taxing income of individuals, individuals keep more of their … Read More »

Games and Liberty Part III: 38 Studios and State Spending

Posted on October 17th, by Jordan Rivas in Liberty, Video Games. 1 Comment

“The state is the great fiction through which everyone endeavours to live at the expense of everyone else.”
— Frédéric Bastiat, from “The State” in Journal des débats

Two of our most essential liberties are the right to our life, and our property. When a portion of what a citizen earns and produces in his life — his livelihood — is taken by government without consent, a portion of his life and property has been apprehended. No matter the portion, if part of his earnings — what he spends a majority of his life producing; his livelihood — are seized, part of him is not free. If a part of a citizen is not free, then none of him is free. He is a slave to the state.

Another immorality of taxation is it allows one citizen to obtain the money of another citizen, without his consent. If I believe a certain cause or project is worthy of funding, and would like you to contribute, the burden is on me to convince you. I must present my case logically, and passionately, but if you still refuse, then I have to accept that and move on. You have the right to choose what you … Read More »

Games and Liberty Part II: ESRB, PEGI, and CERO

Posted on October 10th, by Jordan Rivas in Liberty, Video Games. 3 comments

Those of us who want liberty most also want, and feel at ease with, accountability. Critics dismiss the calls for liberty as petulance – assuming we don’t want to be told what to do so we can carouse around like fools. Rather, we’ve come to the conclusion that fools carouse around the capital and have a far away view of what we should be doing anyway.

The government has a responsibility to defend the liberty of its citizens, and has authority to place restrictions (in the forms of just laws) to that end only. Otherwise it has no right to tell you what to do.

Moreover, often the government isn’t smart enough to know what you ought to be doing anyway. At the state and local level there can be greater awareness, but even then we should be cautious. At the federal level, the less that is regulated and legislated the better. And in almost all cases, the people, when organized and educated, have a much better idea of which fair practices should be established and how order should be maintained.

But still, the same criticisms arise repeatedly from similar objectors – that especially in business, there must be regulation, and standards … Read More »

Games and Liberty Part I: Australian Censorship

Posted on October 3rd, by Jordan Rivas in Liberty, Video Games. 1 Comment

Liberty is the right we are all granted equally, but it’s the right we must be so vigilant in safeguarding. Through the natural course of things, our fellow citizen may try to infringe on it, our government limit it, and foreign threats seize it. It is the universal charge that we defend our liberty, and if possible the liberty of others.

Liberty unites us. Across all religion, ethnicity, gender, or age, liberty remains of universal benefit. We are all free to follow our own will, without violating the liberty of others.

Thomas Jefferson defined liberty as such:

“Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”

For most of my life I considered myself centrist, because I concluded that some amount of policy from the different ends of the political spectrum would provide the best result for everyone. That seemed fair. But a little bit of debasing currency, robbing citizens of value rightfully earned is not fair, no matter what political agenda attempts to … Read More »