Sobering Thoughts

Comments on politics, the culture, economics, and sports by Paul Tuns. I am editor-in-chief of "The Interim," Canada's life and family newspaper, and author of "Jean Chretien: A Legacy of Scandal" (2004) and "The Dauphin: The Truth about Justin Trudeau" (2015). I am some combination of conservative/libertarian, standing athwart history yelling "bullshit!" You can follow me on Twitter (@ptuns).

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018
I don't have time to read or write everything I want about Theresa May's Brexit deal. The Prime Minister will speak outside 10 Downing any minute now. Her comments to reporters follow a five-hour cabinet meeting. As Lib Dem leader Vince Cable tweeted, "If Theresa May is still struggling to get this deal past her own cabinet in No. 10, how will it win support in Parliament or the country?" Jacob Rees-Mogg is leading Tory and DUP opposition to May's Brexit. That should be enough to kill May's deal with the EU.
Two columns about the deal, made public earlier today.
Cap X's Andrew Lilico says no deal is better than this deal:
Was this what Conservative MPs entered politics for? So they could gift Northern Ireland to the indefinite jurisdiction of a foreign power and have the rest of the United Kingdom’s social, environmental, economic, competition and state aid laws made for it in another land with our having no influence over the key laws that govern our everyday lives, until that power graciously decided it didn’t fancy doing so any more? When they are old and their great grandchildren ask: “So, when you were an MP, what was the most important thing you did?” do they want to say: “I voted to break up my country and make the remains subject to laws set by others”?
The Daily Telegraph's Tom Harris says "Mrs May's deal is as good as it gets." Harris supported Leave and is unhappy that Brussels will have as much control of British policy as May has conceded. He also thinks that some of the open-ended agreements means that people will be able to read "if" or "when" greater independence from the EU will be achieved, depending on their preferences. Harris writes:
When we’re very young, we’re told fairy tales and encouraged to believe that everything works out in the end, that living happily ever after is only what we should expect. And then we grow up and we learn that sometimes – most of the time, in fact – we have to settle for the least bad option, that we have to compromise with people with whom we do not agree. It’s annoying but it is also a fact of life.
And since when was politics exempt from grown-up rules? I would prefer a withdrawal agreement that gave us full control of our laws, as well as full control of our seas and our borders. I would prefer an immediate right to forge trade deals with other countries. I also want to be 30 pound slighter than I am, but we can’t always get what we want. That isn’t an admission of failure, it’s an acceptance of reality.
Negotiating Brexit was never going to be easy. But Theresa May, who never faced a vote of her caucus or the Tory membership before becoming leader, made it more difficult that it needed to be. Her calculations were always based on domestic political survival rather than negotiating the best deal with Brussels. Now we'll see if she can survive the political fallout of the deal she was cornered into signing because she was committed to any deal despite her 2016 rhetoric that no deal was better than a bad deal.
The policy question for MPs (as opposed to the political calculus for opposition and Conservative MPs) is whether this deal is worse than no deal. I'd vote against May's deal if I were an MP. If the government falls, it falls. This deal is bad enough to risk a Jeremy Corbyn government. The reason is best described by Anne McElvoy in The Evening Standard:
[T]he quest to “take back control” is now rapidly sliding into vanishingly little control of anything outside of EU immigration and a few matters of which flag flies where. Most of the other decisive stuff will be rubber-stamped by the body we are trying to leave.
Is Corbyn really worse than the eurocrats? Are a few years of Corbynite socialism really worse than continued surrender of sovereignty?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
'I'm from the government and I'm here to help'
The Kansas City affiliate of Fox reports:
The Kansas City Health Department threw away and poured bleach on food meant for homeless people.
The food was going to be distributed by a group called Free Hot Soup KC. The Kansas City Star said that the food, which included home-cooked chili, foil wrapped sandwiches and vats of soup, was destroyed on Sunday, Nov. 5, during a coordinated sting at several parks where volunteers had gathered.
The Health Department said the group did not have a permit and was putting people at risk.
"E. coli or salmonella or listeria can grow in the food," department director Rex Archer said. "And then you give that to homeless people who are more vulnerable, they will end up in the ER and even die from that exposure."
The mayor also agreed with the Health Department, tweeting that "Rules are there to protect the public's health, and all groups must follow them, no exceptions."
Yes, improperly stored food can cause food poisoning -- there are about 70,000 E. coli 0157 cases a year in the United States. It is not clear how many are caused by soup kitchens and other charities helping the homeless or otherwise indigent. But the alarmist worries about death are a little much. E. coli causes about 60 deaths a year in the United States, and even if the homeless are at greater risk, the possibility of poisoning should be weighed against the benefits of providing a meal to those who need it. There is never any indication that a cost-benefit analysis of potential risks measured against the very real benefits are ever considered. Instead, we get city officials raising hypothetical cost-cost alarm bells while destroying what might well be perfectly good food.

2020 watch (HRC edition)
The (London) Times reports that Clinton family pollster and confidant Mark Penn says Hillary is in for 2020:
Mrs Clinton, 71, will “take down rising Democratic stars like bowling pins” in the race for 2020, said Mark Penn, who worked closely with her when she lost to Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination in 2008.
There was a widespread expectation that Mrs Clinton would win the 2016 election and two years after her defeat to Mr Trump she is preparing to embark on a six-month speaking tour with her husband Bill. She has given mixed signals about a return, both ruling it out and musing on how she would like to be president.
“She will not allow this humiliating loss at the hands of an amateur to end the story of her career. You can expect her to run for president once again,” Mr Penn wrote in a joint article in the Wall Street Journal with Andrew Stein, 73, a Democratic politician and former New York City Council president.
Yet polls still do not include Hillary Rodham Clinton among their potential 2020 Democratic contenders. Respondents to the Politico/Morning Consult survey find Dems prefer other septuagenarians, Joe Biden (26%) and Bernie Sanders (19%), who top the list, followed by Beto O'Rourke (8%) and Elizabeth Warren (5%), who will be 71 on Election Day 2020. But HRC's name does not appear among the options.

Saturday, November 10, 2018
John Cochrane on carbon taxes
Hoover Institute economist John Cochrane looks at possible ways to "sell" a carbon tax to voters. Here is one intriguing possibility: give citizens themselves carbon emissions which they can in turn sell:
Rather than a tax, give each American a right to, say x tons of carbon emissions that they can sell on a carbon market. That also gives everyone an incentive to vote for the system. And it states the issue squarely. You, a voter, are having your air polluted. You have a right to collect on that damage. It makes it clear that carbon is a fee, a penalty, not a "tax." The point is to disincentivize the use of carbon, not to raise revenue for the government to spend. "Tax" is a loaded word in American culture and politics. Carbon rights takes the whole discussion away from "tax."
A key point being lost amongst pro-carbon tax politicians, especially in Canada but also in other jurisdictions: if the carbon tax is being sold as a market mechanism used to incentive lowering emissions, the trade-off really needs to include a reduction in environmental regulations:
[P]air the carbon tax and fee with a trade: A hefty fee, in return for elimination of all the other carbon subsidies and regulations. To those who don't believe in climate change: ok, but our government is going to do all sorts of crazy stuff. Let's cut out the rot and just pay a simple fee instead. No more electric car subsidies -- $15 k from taxpayers to each Tesla owner in Palo Alto -- HOV lanes, windmill subsidies, rooftop solar mandates, washing machines that don't wash clothes anymore (hint: do NOT buy any washing machine built since Jan 1 2018), and so on and so forth.
As Cochrane says, voters in Washington state said no to a carbon tax that was designed to pay for further green initiatives. Voters quite correctly are skeptical of government-financed boondoggles (and crony capitalism) that seem to go hand-in-hand with many environmental programs. Economists who favour a "price" mechanism to lower carbon emissions view carbon taxes as an efficient alternative to regulations and subsidies. Whatever debate there is about the science of climate change, the debate over policy has been plagued by dishonesty and intellectual error.
In theory, I for one would trade a modest carbon tax (even though I think them unnecessary) in exchange for scrapping all environmental regulation tied to climate change, including the elimination of HOV lanes; the costs of regulations are still borne by citizens and the system can be gamed by clever consumers or companies that can afford lobbyists. My opposition to carbon taxes is based on the practical reality of how politicians work: the rates will go up or will not reflect the cost of "climate change," regulations will stick around or return, and in the case of "revenue-neutral" carbon taxes, that regime only lasts as long as politicians want it to.

WWE Power Rankings
Worst performance of the week: The Raw bookers. I understand that there a slew of injuries that the WWE is currently dealing with, but three consecutive weeks of a pointless Finn Balor-Bobby Lashley non-feud is brutal. Combined with back-to-back weeks of Ember Moon-Nia Jax on the heels of several weeks of Moon-Jax variations and yet another iteration of Riott squad vs. Bailey, Sasha Banks and Natalya that did not even conclude (suggesting more of these matches) is incredibly trying for viewers. Most wrestling pundits thought this week's Raw was boring. I almost couldn't watch the show. Yeah, there are injuries, but it seems that the writing team is so focused on the Seth Rollins-Dean Ambrose narrative, that they can't dream up any other storylines.
Honourable mention: Rey Mysterio (Smackdown) won his first round World Cup match at Crown Jewel and beat Andrade "Cien" Almas in an excellent match on Tuesday, as he continues to impress and earn a spot for the blue brand's Survivor Series match with Raw; Samoa Joe (Smackdown) beat Jeff Hardy to earn a spot on the Survivor Series Smackdown team before attacking Daniel Bryan who, as co-captain of the brand's five-man team, was ringside for the contest; Heavy Machinery (NXT) beat The Forgotten Sons in a fast-paced, quality match between two teams on the edge of seriously competing for the NXT Tag Team Titles; Lince Dorado (205 Live) teamed with Kalisto to beat TJP and Mike Kanellis is a funnish contest to kickoff the cruiserweight show, but the highlight was the Lucha star pulling out a new mask after TJP again de-masked him in the ring; Eddie Dennis (NXT UK) defeated the promotion's jobber Sid Scala to introduce this new talent to the WWE Universe -- looks like an interesting character who is wiry but mean; Pete Dunne (NXT UK) defeated Danny Burch in a perfectly serviceable NXT UK Championship defense; Mandy Rose (Smackdown) came out to point out why each of four women who appeared on the Tuesday show who will represent the blue brand at Survivor Series does not belong on the team and that as someone who beat her tag team partner Sonya Deville in the Battle Royale at Evolution, setting up (or at least teasing) a potential breakup; Daniel Bryan (Smackdown) did some good work the blue brand's Survivor Series team ready with co-captain The Miz, much of comic and goofy, but WWE is supposed to be fun and this week's Smackdown was downright entertaining in now small part because of The Miz and Bryan.
13. Brock Lesnar (Raw): If you win a title, you should probably automatically be in the power rankings. The Beast returned to the WWE to recapture the Universal title. He F5ed Braun Strowman five times to get the quick pin against the Monster Among Men who never got any offense in against Lesnar because acting Raw general manager Baron Corbin attacked Strowman with the belt before the bell rang. Strowman never recovered. Lesnar didn't win clean which is why he's so low on this list. Also, it means the WWE Universe will hardly get to see the champ on TV and the title won't even get defended at all pay-per-views. (Last week: not rated)
12. Jinny Couture (NXT UK): NXT UK had two shows again this week. In one, a brief video introduced fans to Jinny Couture and she looked like a potentially interesting character. In the second show, Couture attacked Dakota Kai and then informed the audience and Toni Storm that "this is my NXT UK." The sneak attack demonstrated that the fashionista is more than a diva. NXT UK's division is looking potentially quite good and Couture could be a star on the brand. (Last week: not rated)
10. (tie) Authors of Pain (Raw): Akam and Rezar beat Seth Rollins for the Raw Tag Team Championship. It's always good to win the titles, but beating a single wrestler -- Rollins' partner Dean Ambrose did not join him in defending the belts -- made them look weaker than they should have considering how dominant they have been over the past month or so. I understand that the story in this match is more about Seth than Akam and Rezar, but AOP was a casualty of the Rollins-Ambrose feud. I expect them to be Raw's top tag team for a while so its good to get the titles on this dominating tag team even if the way the WWE did it wasn't great. It would have been better to have them beat Rollins a little more easily. (Last week: not rated)
9. Drew McIntyre (Raw): Drew McIntyre beat Kurt Angle in the main event of the Monday show. Perhaps there is nothing special in that, but he won by employing two Angle finishers -- the Angle slam and ankle lock -- to defeat the Hall of Famer in his return. (Last week: not rated)
8. Dolph Ziggler (Raw): Dolph Ziggler won two matches in the Crown Jewel World Cup, cleanly against Kurt Angle although he had Drew McIntyre's help against Seth Rollins, but lost in the finals against Smackdown CEO Shane McMahon who didn't wrestle until the final match. On Monday night, Ziggler gave a great promo about how it went down unfairly (which is true, unusual for a heel) before being interrupted by Elias, whom he went on to face in a good match although he lost. Pretty good week for Ziggler and he made Elias look pretty good.(Last week: not rated)
7. Nikki Cross (NXT): When Smackdown Women's Champ Becky Lynch said she was ready to fight on Tuesday night and issued an open challenge, Sanity's music played and the male trio made their first appearance on the show in months. Then came out their NXT mate, Nikki Cross, who repeatedly asked the champ is she wanted to play. Lynch said she doesn't play, she wrestles. The two had a good match. Cross was a strong challenger against one of the two best female talents on the main brands. That's good for Cross' future in the WWE. Her character is interesting, she's a tough wrestler, and she can go toe-to-toe against the best. This match might mean Cross is coming to the main roster, but it definitely demonstrated she's ready. Here's hoping she's reunited with Sanity because when the men and women interact (without wrestling), sometimes it works; in NXT, this combination worked magic. (Last week: not rated)
6. The Miz (Smackdown): The Miz won two matches at the World Cup at the Crown Jewel but was forced out of the final contest against Dolph Ziggler due to "injury" setting Shane McMahon up for the win in the finals to be declared the Greatest Wrestler in the World. (That whole thing was silly.) Two wins in one show is impressive. On Tuesday night, The Miz was named co-captain of the Smackdown team for Survivor Series, alongside his nemesis Daniel Bryan. This is a great way to continue the feud storyline without having them fight each other in the ring. There is also some comic play here and the gimmick gave fans the chance to see The Miz in non-wrestling action even more than usual; considering promos are his strength both The Miz character and the WWE Universe benefit. (Last week: not rated)
5. Dean Ambrose (Raw): The Lunatic came out this week after Seth Rollins lost the(ir) Tag Team belts to Authors of Pain and met him in the ring. He asked Rollins if he wanted answers, Seth said yes, and Ambrose hit his erstwhile partner with Dirty Deeds. Ambrose leaves the ring, leaving both Rollins and fans in suspense. This is a great way to put heat on this feud without them actually fighting and keeping everyone wondering why he turned against his Shield brother. (Last week: 3rd)
4. Seth Rollins (Raw): At Crown Jewel, Seth Rollins beat Bobby Lashley in the first round of the World Cup and lost to Dolph Ziggler in the second round after Drew McIntyre interfered in the contest. On Monday night, acting general manager Baron Corbin made Rollins defend the World Tag Team championship alone against the Authors of Pain. Rollins lasted almost 10 minutes against a very strong tag team and I had some problem with how it was done. It would be one thing if Rollins held on for 10 minutes, but he did more than survive: he got in a lot offense and a handful of pin opportunities against AOP. That makes the new tag champs look weak. I understand that the point was to make Rollins look strong, but I don't think the WWE writers thought about the totality of the narrative in the ring. That said, Rollins remains near the top of the WWE despite losing the tag belts. (Last week: 4th)
3. Becky Lynch (Smackdown): Great promo saying she doesn't want to beat Ronda Rousey at Survivor Series, she wants to break her arm off. Then she faced NXT women's competitor Nikki Cross and was pushed but was ultimately victorious making them both look strong. Lynch is one of the top two or three absolute stars in WWE and showed why this week. Unlike the Rollins vs. AOP match on Raw, this contest made Lynch look strong but not at the expense of her opponent, who, even in victory, Lynch helped put over. Nice work. (Last week: 2nd)
2. Johnny Gargano (NXT): In a very strong promo, Johnny Wrestling admitted to attacking Aleister Black in August in order to have Tommaso Ciampa all to himself for the NXT Title at Takeover in Brooklyn. Gargano said that Black stood between himself and Ciampa and that he wanted to win the title (and presumably beat up Ciampa) on his own. Gargano said he's the same guy -- suggesting he is still a babyface -- but employing classic heel behaviour in justifying his actions as necessary for the larger good. If you remember the story that Gargano-Ciampa told in the ring at Takeover, this promo is even better, part of Gargano becoming just like the ruthless Ciampa -- becoming the person he hates. It's basically a Greek tragedy. Admitting he is not afraid of the dark was a nice touch, teasing a full heel-turn. (Last week: not rated)
1. Elias (Raw): Let's be honest: having a wrastler come out and sing and play the guitar weekly is silly. Or it should be. But Elias is a great character. The fans in Manchester were totally into the gimmick and the interaction between him and the WWE Universe as he strummed Seven Nation Army was marvelous. A great Elias promo puts him in the middle of the Power Ranking or higher, but this week he faced Dolph Ziggler, who just three days earlier, was in the final at the Crown Jewel World Cup. I'm not sure if the two lacked chemistry or the misses were part of the story, but it worked. More importantly, Elias, who usually only wrestlers briefly, went toe-to-toe with The Showoff for nearly 15 minutes. It was a great week for the fresh babyface. (Last week: not rated)

Friday, November 09, 2018
Victor Davis Hanson at American Greatness on November 11, 1918, and its aftermath:
What can we learn from the failed armistice of 1918?
Keeping the peace is sometimes even more difficult than winning a war.
For an enemy to accept defeat, it must be forced to understand why it lost, suffer the consequences of its aggressions—and only then be shown magnanimity and given help to rebuild.
Losers of a war cannot pick and choose when to quit fighting in enemy territory.
Had the Allies continued their offensives in the fall of 1918 and invaded Germany, the peace that followed might have more closely resembled the unconditional surrender and agreements that ended WWII, leading to far more than just 20 years of subsequent European calm.
Deterrence prevents war.
Germany invaded Belgium in 1914 because it was convinced that Britain would not send enough troops to aid its overwhelmed ally, France. Germany also assumed that isolationist America would not intervene.
Unfortunately, the Allies of 1939 later repeated the errors of 1914, and the result was WWII.

It was bad enough that a Liberal MP "fixed" the Maclean's cover and it should have been embarrassing for so many Liberals to retweet it. But then Catherine McKenna made it worse.
What the Minister of Environment is describing is more like the "elite consensus" than the resistance. What a silly, silly person she is.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018
Good luck fixing health care
I've talked to a lot of Republican voters in recent years (and GOP supporters outside America) who express a fair bit of frustration about the party's inability to come up with a health care fix despite controlling the White House and both houses of Congress in the first half of the Trump presidency. It won't get any easier now that Congress is divided between a Republican Senate and Democratic House of Representatives. But the divide goes beyond partisanship. The (London) Times reports on exit polling done yesterday in the midterms to see what voters want done with Obamacare:
Healthcare was the main reason for Democrat supporters to vote but there is no clear view among Americans about how to improve it. A quarter of voters said that the Affordable Care Act, known as “Obamacare”, should be repealed in full and another quarter said that parts should be scrapped. About a third of voters said that it should be expanded and one in ten wanted it left as it is.
Repeal was never a serious option, but reform is tricky, too, when the populace is seriously divided. Over the past two years, surveys of Republican voters show a wide variety of views on how to proceed on the health file. Putting aside the myriad views of those in Congress, it will be extremely difficult to do anything big on health care when both the political class and voters can't get behind one idea or a set of compatible ideas.

I've had this chat with strangers and acquaintances several times, and it always gets the same reaction
Donald Boudreaux:
A few hours ago at the Detroit airport a bubbly young woman struck up a conversation with me as we both waited in line to buy coffee. “Where’s your ‘I Voted’ sticker?!” she asked with great enthusiasm as she pointed to the one she sported. “I don’t vote,” I told her. She literally looked as though I confessed to being afflicted with necrophilia.
“This makes me so sad. So sad. Why don’t you vote?,” she pressed, with a tone that revealed that she truly felt pity for me. I really wasn’t interested in having such a discussion then and there with this stranger, but she kept asking. So I eventually answered: “I don’t wish to legitimize politics by participating in its formal ceremonies.”
“But elections aren’t ceremonies; they matter!!!” Her verbally expressed exclamation points grew in number.
I replied that I agree that elections do indeed determine which individuals hold political power. But this fact for me is irrelevant, for two reasons. The first is that even if I did (which I don’t) strongly prefer one group of candidates over another group, because the prospect of my vote swinging an election one way or another is practically zero, I would waste my time if I voted. And my time is valuable. I refuse to waste it on futile activities such as voting.
Second and more importantly, I detest politics and all but a tiny handful of politicians. And so by voting in an election I would play along with the dangerous romantic myth that insists that “leaders” who are chosen democratically thereby legitimately gain the right to order me and other peaceful individuals about. Election winners certainly do gain the power to order me and other peaceful individuals about, but I’ll be damned if I believe that they are ethically entitled to do so. I obey their commands for the same reason that I would hand my wallet and car keys to a thug who presses a knife to my throat.
I’d gotten into the spirit of the conversation and ended by telling her that, while I do not judge her for feeling elevated and proud of herself for having voted, were I to vote I would feel compromised, unprincipled, grimy, and ashamed of myself.
The young woman, of course, wasn’t close to understanding where I was coming from. She was, as you can imagine, horrified.
Voting is for people who are not good at math and who enjoy virtue signaling or having a particular narrative about him- or herself.
And yes, a good part of my professional life is spent encouraging people to become politically engaged and voting for particular candidates. There is a difference between persuading hundreds or thousands of people to do something and doing something oneself. And, anyway, as Boudreaux says, I feel compromised, unprincipled, grimy, and ashamed when I vote. That's the story I like to tell about myself.

Purple wave could be what America needs
Instapundit Glenn Reynolds has a very good column in USA Today that has an amusing observation and two important points.
Observation: The midterm elections were a purple puddle, not a blue wave.
Point #1: The result of the purple puddle could be gridlock or cooperation. Either is a good thing. Gridlock is good because it prevents Big Government from doing more harmful things to people. Cooperation is good because it can lend legitimacy to the good things government should be doing to address serious problems (infrastructure, trade) that might be too difficult for a unified government to do. I am not optimistic that cooperation and compromise is possible in the age of zero-sum politics.
Point #2: There is too much politics and we care too much about it, and we wouldn't if government were smaller and less intrusive.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018
Costly midterms. So what?
J.J. McCullough has an excellent NRO article on the costly midterm elections. McCullough is correct to challenge the notion that merely reporting the campaign costs of an election cycle (about $6 billion for these midterms) represents anything meaningful. Other "facts" do not speak for themselves, either, like the OpenSecrets favourite stat that in about 90% of House races in 2016, the candidate who spent the most money won. These sort of facts ignore context, which McCullough very briefly explores. Contexts can include incumbency or competitiveness. Money raised and spent by safe incumbents, or the 13 candidates that had no opponent, can be superficially perplexing and may undermine the dominant media narrative about buying election wins. In reality, much of his political donating and spending represents something other than the electoral influence of money. They speak to what McCullough describes as politics as an identifiable industry: "it's a showy game that provides careers and livelihoods to a vasty array of people associated with building and sustaining all the razzle-dazzle" of "overproduced entertainment for candidates and voters alike."

Business policy
Kathleen Murphy, director of communication at the Illinois Opportunity Project, writes at National Review Online about the political machinery of Illinois and the self-serving collusion among government officials (elected and non-elected), business, and unions. It's a longish article worth reading for the details of Illinois politics, but this is a great definition of "business policy" that applies far beyond the Land of Lincoln:
“Business policy” in Illinois refers — almost exclusively — to heavy regulation and the occasional sweetheart deal or tax carve-out for politically powerful corporations. The same deals and carve-outs are unavailable to independent business owners.
Business policy is the outcome of crony capitalism.

Monday, November 05, 2018
It is hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys
Science Daily reported that a new academic paper finds that good guys in superhero movies are more likely to commit violence than are the villains. Science Daily reports:
An abstract of the study, "Violence Depicted in Superhero-Based Films Stratified by Protagonist/Antagonist and Gender," will be presented on Monday, Nov. 5, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. Researchers involved in the study analyzed 10 superhero-based films released in 2015 and 2016. They classified major characters as either protagonist ("good guy") or antagonist ("bad guy") and used a standardized tool to compile specific acts and types of violence portrayed in the films.
The researchers tallied an average of 23 acts of violence per hour associated with the films' protagonists, compared with 18 violent acts per hour for the antagonists ...
"Children and adolescents see the superheroes as 'good guys,' and may be influenced by their portrayal of risk-taking behaviors and acts of violence," said the abstract's lead author, Robert Olympia, MD, a Professor in the Departments of Emergency Medicine & Pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine and an Attending Physician at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center/ Penn State Children's Hospital. "Pediatric health care providers should educate families about the violence depicted in this genre of film and the potential dangers that may occur when children attempt to emulate these perceived heroes," he said.
The most common act of violence associated with protagonists in the films was fighting (1,021 total acts), followed by the use of a lethal weapon (659), destruction of property (199), murder (168), and bullying/intimidation/torture (144). For antagonists, the most common violent act was the use of a lethal weapon (604 total acts), fighting (599), bullying/intimidation/torture (237), destruction of property (191), and murder (93) were also portrayed.
There are more murders by heroes than by villains (168 compared to murder), which is stunning. If you don't including bullying and intimidation, the violence gap grows even wider.
I'm not wild about the recommendation made by the authors. I'm not sure if it is the job of pediatricians to talk to parents about movie violence and how it is portrayed. I'm pretty sure that children who go to pediatricians (usually under 12 and most of them under 10) shouldn't be watching violent superhero movies.