Video games and libertarianism go hand in hand, poll finds

Gamers are in favor of legalizing marijuana and 3D printed guns in greater numbers than non-gamers.

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A new poll from the libertarian Magazine, Reason, suggests that gamers are more inclined to have libertarian political views in favor of smaller government and less regulations on what consumers can and can’t buy.

Reason’s latest issue focuses on how “gaming is making America freer—and more fun.” The data was also collected by its Reason-Rupe poll, so you should take it with a grain of salt, but it does offer some interesting numbers.

The correlation between video games and libertarianism comes down to a few question posed to polled gamers, most of which had to do with consumer choice.

“If there's any one trend to take away from a poll looking at gamers it's that gamers don't like to be told what to do with their lives,” Reason said. “Again, they may describe themselves as liberal, but they do not like government policies that control individual life choices, like what products they can purchase or consume. Video games are all about making choices, right? That's one mentality that does carry over in real life.”

A significantly larger percentage of gamers than non-gamers believed that they should be allowed to buy caffeinated energy drinks, play violent video games, and gamble in online poker games. They also supported legalizing marijuana and 3D printed guns in greater numbers. The biggest difference was gamers’ support for using Bitcoin as a currency. 55 percent of gamers were in favor compared to 30 percent among non-gamers.

On the other hand, the poll also found that gamers were more likely to support government subsidies for alternative energy sources like solar and wind, which goes against the libertarian belief in a free market.

The gaming-themed issue of Reason is filled with other articles that draw the line between games and libertarianism, like a list of games every libertarian must play, and a collection of “dumb” quotes from politicians against video games.

"People who game tend to be much more tolerant, pretty skeptical of state power and take a more grass-roots, bottom-up view of the world -- and are certainly more in favor of legalizing marijuana," Reason’s editor-in-chief Matt Welch told the Washington Post in an interview. "It's not that everyone who plays video games is a secret libertarian, but that their list of shared attributes is now mainstream, and it's importantly different than what we've seen traditionally."

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