John Stossel

If we banned every activity that had the potential to become addictive, we'd have to ban fatty foods, sex, alcohol and investing in the stock market. Life means risk.

Sometimes puritans want to ban things without any evidence that the activity is harmful. After every mass shooting, someone wants to tax, or ban, violent video games.

Yet violent offenses by youth fell by more than half over the past two decades, while video game sales doubled. If there's a causal relationship, maybe playing video games prevents kids from behaving violently.

Japan spends much more on violent video games than the U.S., but its crime rate is much lower. Maybe the Japanese get it out of their system through make-believe? I don't know. But I do know that a lack of evidence rarely stops the puritans.

The puritanical panics of today may look silly someday. In the 1950s, a psychiatrist testified that Superman comic books inspire juvenile delinquency.

After hearing about those moral panics, you might feel like relaxing with a cold beer. But don't try buying one from a convenience store in Indiana. The state requires that the beer be sold warm.

In theory, warm beer will discourage drinking on the road.

I doubt that such laws help. Perhaps puritanical laws don't have to make sense. They just have to leave us feeling righteous because we've done something to crack down on bad behavior.


John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. ©Creators Syndicate