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Politicians Target Pikachu

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Tags Media and CultureThe Police State

07/15/2016

That didn’t take a long.

Just a week after the launch of Poke’mon Go, politicians are considering legislation aimed at restricting its use. Villainous Team Rocket may not have been able to stop Pikachu, but they are mere amateurs compared to the State.

Politico reports that New York Assemblyman Félix Ortiz is concerned about the risk to public safety posed by players walking around streets looking for Poke’mon, or playing while driving. While it’s unfortunately true that some players of the wildly successful smartphone game have engaged in risky behavior, the greater danger is in allowing government to further regulate our behavior under the assumption they know what is best for us.

Such a proposal is particularly absurd given the national debate over the past week on the current state of American policing. As Ryan McMaken and others have noted, America’s penchant for over-criminalizing minor transgressions have real consequences. The deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling were both national reminders that every police encounter is an opportunity for arrest and/or violent escalation. The last thing we need is to have police officers prowling the streets for Poke’mon trainers. 

As Lew Rockwell wrote in an article opposing similar bans on texting and driving:

The ban says, You don't know what is good for you so you must be forced to do what the government thinks is good for you. The ban gets support because people generally think that while they are responsible and good at calibrating what is safe and unsafe, others are not. Through this method, all freedoms could be abolished.

Of course, that it is a New York politician that would even consider restricting Poke’mon shouldn’t be a surprise. New York government temporarily shutdown similarly successful Daily Fantasy leagues until reaching an agreement last month to regulate the services.

So no matter whether it is bans on Poke’mon, fantasy sports, Uber, or AirBnB, government is why we can’t have nice things. No matter if you are Team Instinct, Mystic, or Valor — we should all be able to unite in opposing the nanny state in all its many forms.   

Tho is an assistant editor for the Mises Wire, and can assist with questions from the press. Prior to working for the Mises Institute, he served as Deputy Communications Director for the House Financial Services Committee. His articles have been featured in The Federalist, the Daily Caller, and Business Insider.

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