Board Game Offends, Amuses, And Educates
Dave Killion — September 14, 2012
This satirical and anti-liberal game debuted back in 1980, and has gained attention recently as an album of images showing the board, the rules, and some of the game pieces has made its way around the net (see album here). Despite being denounced as callous, sexist, and racist, Public Assistance enjoyed some measure of popularity, and an attempt to ban the game through the courts failed on constitutional grounds. You can find a defense of the game by one of its producers here. From the article –
“Our lampoon was based on street knowledge and common sense. My partner and I saw ourselves more as packaging experts than game inventors. We often told people, “We didn’t invent this game; government liberals did. We just put it in a box.”
I must confess, the album had me laughing from time to time, but the game appears to be more critical of the recipients of public welfare than most libertarians will find fair. After all, poor people respond to incentives just like everyone else, and their conduct is often a rational response to the circumstances they’re in. Our true condemnation is reserved for the coercive government policies that create those incentives. Once we get rid of social welfare, no one will ever have to worry about banning Public Assistance.
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