Any computer game designers out there? We’ve got some core values to sell

do-smartphones-smart-kidsI had the pleasure today of having lunch with Dennis Koller and his quite lovely wife. (And since she’s not a published author, I’ll keep her name out of here to preserve her privacy.) You may recognize Dennis’s name, since he wrote The Oath, a book I enjoyed a great deal and reviewed here. It didn’t come as any surprise to me that I liked Dennis. He was as I expected him to be: the best kind of native San Francisco Catholic. What that means is that he is extremely well-educated (parochial schools all the way, when that still meant something), has classical liberal values (raised in a family that fought for real civil rights, when that still meant something), and is a delightful conversationalist (I think it’s the nun thing again).

One of the things we spent a lot of time talking about was messaging. How, we asked each other, can conservatives sell themselves in the next 2.5 years? We concluded that today’s generation lacks intellectual curiosity and any analytic skills. For the past 40 years, they’ve been taught to think by using their navel as a guide. Small wonder, then, that the avatar of their generation announces that his definition of sin is “Being out of alignment with my values.” Despite knowing this, we conservatives keep thinking that we can convince people through evidence — including the evidence of their own eyes — and analysis that conservativism works in the real world.

Looking at the teenagers in my world, they get most of the data that they value through their smart phones. Unlike adults who use Facebook to share ideas (shallow, but still ideas), the kids use Facebook for gossip about each other. They also like to visit sites such as Buzzfeed and Gizmodo. But most of all, they like to play what I call “thumb games,” in which they zip objects around in a frantic effort to best other players out in cyberspace.

If I had any imagination at all, and even the slightest inkling about how to design a game app, I would design games that look like ordinary games, but that sell ideas such as free market competition. Here’s what I mean:  Years ago, I was able to turn my daughter against Obamacare when I asked her to imagine a world with only one clothing store. What would happen, I asked her, if it didn’t have her size or her style or if it had really horrible sales staff? She shuddered in revulsion. Remember, I said, it’s the only store there is. What’s your recourse? When she realized she was trapped in a fashion shopping nightmare, it clicked. She recognized then and, seemingly, forever, the value of a free marketplace.

Wouldn’t it be great to create a game app that starts with the player (presumably a girl) in a place with there’s only one lousy store selling gross clothes, and then makes them figure out ways to increase their shopping options? It wouldn’t be a game called “Socialism versus Capitalism,” or “Communist Fashion Nightmare,” or anything else so obvious. Instead, it would be an innocuous-sounding game (“Fashion Race” or something like that) and it would be presented entirely as a fun competitive game. However, while the girl is thinking she’s competing against other girls in cyberspace, what she’s really doing is learning about the value of real competition.  One could do exactly the same for boys, with the open market competition element in the game having to do with cool weapons or sports activities or anything else where the point of the game is for the kid to engage in market-based competition — offering more of a better product — in order to win the game.

Games such as that are going to resonate with kids a lot more than some documentary about what shopping used to be like in the Soviet Union.  Kids simply aren’t interested in some abstruse discussion about the sort of free medical insurance market we once had (ignoring all the government interference that already existed) versus the whacked out world of Obamacare, which is being sold as something good, but actually functions badly.

If conservatives really want to know what we should do, we should all go re-read Ben Shapiro’s Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV. There, Shapiro relays in their own words the techniques used by Hollywood’s movers and shakers in the 1960s through 1980s to turn our popular culture sharply left. It’s like a primer for taking over the unthinking mind.

Also — and this is totally unrelated to the above post — did you take a minute to read and listen to Canardvark’s Reagan 180 : Peace Through Strength? Not only is it really good, but I’m just thrilled that my site now offers original multimedia content. And Reagan’s words truly are as appropriate now as they were then. Facts may change, but values remain the same.

And thinking about those last words, I realize that the Canardvark’s post is in fact entirely related to what I’ve written here: It’s not the facts that matter; it’s our ability to sell the up and coming generation on core values and eternal truths. We need to use facts that resonate with them to make this sale, and we need sell these facts through their favorite media.

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  • Ymarsakar

    Eve Online is known as a very difficult game to play, but rewarding for those that like life simulators.
    Also economic simulators like SimCity or Civilization, often have capitalism inbuilt as part of the model that people aren’t aware of.
    In terms of personal autonomy, it doesn’t really matter how a person connects the dots. They may go swimming one day and realize the world doesn’t need lower sea levels or colder temperatures. They may go out to the range shooting one day and realize that they prefer being a fighter rather than a peasant that relies on others for protection. Things like archery, martial arts, and other club like activities were used by Japan to promote youth culture and national competitiveness.  They start building the social creature very early over there, conditioning the kids to resist foreign invasions and unhealthy ideas.
    A significant turning point for resisting external propaganda is learning a different language than the one you used when growing up. Such as when kids now a days watch Japanese anime and only hear the Japanese audio, never the English. They are forced to begin thinking in Japanese, which in fact negates or bypasses a lot of the propaganda they have in life that is in English. A different language, when taken to the pure thought level, can check the internal workings of the brain to detect any tampering with it from propaganda. To do so using the language you grew up in, involves too much emotion, like detecting if you live in a matrix. By having a different language to check your own thoughts from a third perspective, it is stepping outside the box and looking back in. Easier to parallax compare things.
    A physical activity like martial arts, art/music education, a physical hobby in the arts, and learning a different language. Those were often considered Renaissance virtues. As humans found that doing certain things, in a certain order, produced strong individuals. And strong individuals ultimately made for a stronger society. For most humans, they seek to copy, not create. Thus they copy techniques and call it martial arts. It is not. Thus they copy music and artwork and call it art, which it isn’t. Copying the sounds of a foreign language, but always thinking in the format of your 1st, is not enough. To transition across the divide, for a paradigm shift, one’s entire world must shift in relation to one’s field or craft. It is not mere proficiency that produces strong individuals, but mastery of self and fields.

  • Ymarsakar

    From my own personal experience, I’ve de-constructed and re-engineered several conceptual scapes that I never realized I had, because I grew up with it imbibing it from the society that raised me.
    For example, things like feminism or anti chauvinism. I used to think that if you went out of your way to protect women, you would get negative consequences or be considered a chauvinist/sexist, one level above a sexual predator. I never thought about why that was, merely that all the women on tv acted like that and everyone talked about equality and such. If you went out of your way to protect a woman being abused, she would attack you, or sue you, or you would get in trouble some other way, seemed the expectation of society.
    It wasn’t until looking at the Japanese that I saw the other side of things, where protecting women was considered a virtue and that equality between the sexes was considered unrealistic and even sub optimal at times. I did a retro active compare and contrast between every English word on the subject vis a vis the Japanese usage of their words, and re-engineered the social context. I saw how a person could make a decision in an equality zone based upon sexism and I saw how a person could make a different decision based upon virtues of protecting the weak. I am much more egalitarian than the Japanese, considering how much physical violence has been researched and re-engineered by AMericans that taught me. But I am nowhere near as biased in favor of sexual or gender equality as it is normal for white middle class Americans. Originally, I wasn’t all that satisfied with society’s chosen morality, but merely accepted society’s doctrine as being correct without thinking about it. Thus Japanese culture was quite the cultural shock. I kept expecting the usual Western retort against chauvinism or sexism or something, when ever a character does something that in my eyes, was extremely sexist. It took quite a few years to understand why that was and resolve it. Btw, these events included escorting a girl home all the time, and the expectation by the other girls and society itself that a man has to escort a woman home if it is getting late. That was what my emotions and my instinct said was right, and that was the kind of value found in Western romance novels, but it was not modern Western gender thought at all.
    That’s just one example of how two languages can be used to check each other on an intellectual, as well as emotional, level. It is not merely a debate about facts, which is the weakness of American patriots. Patriotism was originally an emotion, love of country. Thus arguments from patriotism should be about emotion, not facts. Since a lot of human emotion, such as male emotion, is geared towards dealing with women in a certain context, the Left has had to surgically remove Western civilization’s respect for emotional intuition and emotional knowledge. That leaves the weapon of emotion in the left’s hand, when everyone thinks of emotion as the Left thinks of a gun, an evil totem to be warded off.
    Even in Australia, I hear that boyfriends of college girls get told off with, “you aren’t the boss of me” and “you don’t get to tell me what to do” and various other things like that when the male tries to lead the female in an activity. On American campuses, you have administrators that prime a traumatized girl to accuse her boyfriend of rape, when all that happened was that she woke up in the middle of the bed with her boyfriend and had a panic reaction. Probably due to the combination of drugs and alcohol at fraternity parties where girls are repeatedly gang raped for social entertainment and enforcement, a flashback to that. The boyfriend locked himself out of the room, left her to herself, and she reported to the community counselors. Which sentenced the boyfriend in for rape. So if you try to lead a woman, you’re a rapist in training, they think. And if you don’t try to lead a woman, they’ll mind control the girl and make her accuse you of being a rapist. Or maybe Duke Lacrosse 2 happens. In a Regency culture, the male was supposed to be the leader of any romantic coupling, with all the perks and responsibilities of being a leader. Thus a woman obeyed her husband or lover in the same sense that Americans obey Hussein. Hussein’s the designated leader. If that is bad… why do we still have leaders? Getting rid of obedience to husbands due to abuses doesn’t do anything if you just replace the leader with a single tyrant at the top that nobody ever even sees. At least with people you see and have a relationship with, you can influence them. But that’s another topic on mind control which I won’t get into yet.

  • David Foster

    NYT 4/22….”A festival highlights video games that effect social change”
    (although not the sort of social change that most of us here are looking for, I’ll warrant)

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