Social Hypothesis

I hypothesize that MMOs and MGCs (Massive Gamer Communities – XBox Live and PS3 Online Community being examples) tend to make participants more liberal (US interpretation).

Colleges and Universities tend to make most students more liberal. There are studies about this but I don’t recall them, and I find I’m going to have to go digging. Take it for the moment as given.

There are a lot of people who like to argue it’s due to exposure to “all them liberal professors.” I seem to recall (thus the need to go digging) that the more likely culprit is exposure to so many people who aren’t of the same culture. It is not a universal effect; it is quite possible to stay within one’s culture and avoid exposure to others. Nonetheless the fact students are exposed to a wide variety of other cultures in a relatively non-threatening environment tends to make them more willing to accept the other might not be a threat. That different is not automatically the enemy.

MMOs and large gaming communities provide a similar opportunity. This has become more common as voice has supplemented and supplanted text messages. It becomes difficult to think of another as enemy when that person is your ally on whom you are relying to keep you (your character, actually) alive – and is succeeding at doing just that. We humans are good at holding conflicting opinions but matters of life and death undercut most. Yes, virtual life and death will often be as intense. While I cannot find studies (of course I haven’t searched yet) I suspect the adrenaline and focus involved for many games meets that of ‘real world’ high intensity events.

I think – do not know, but think – that this is a significant element in the tendency noted for modern young adults to be “liberals”. I don’t think it’s merely opposition to parents or reaction to a world situation. From what I’ve been able to track so far the lean is significantly greater than most prior generations with the exception of those who are true ‘Great Generation’ members (as opposed to having been alive but not particularly participating in WWII). That generation, now in its late 70s or older, also tended to be surprisingly liberal compared to later years.

There are other factors that can and do influence these leanings. Much has been made of the Reagan Swing; the effect that resulted in many then-18-24 year olds at the time of Reagan coming to office becoming die-hard Republicans. Again I note, however, that this is a larger swing.

In simple short paraphrase, WoW and CoD make kids Liberal.


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