Libertarian Motifs in a Captain America: Civil War Review.
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
We begin the show with a clip borrowed from the movie (full credit to Marvel and Disney and Movieclips Coming Soon and Youtube; we are only trying to help the audience understand the topic of the show).
The introduction shows Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Steve Rogers (Captain America) discussing a contract that the United Nations has put forward that the Avengers should sign and be governed by the UN. The premise of the contract is that the Avengers, through collateral damage, have caused a lot of devastation and loss of life in several countries.
The sub-text is that the US Constitution (social contract) is very similarly structured. If you think about it, the Constitution creates the government, but then it draws into question what is government? Well as most of us in the libertarian movement agree; government is an entity that has a monopoly on violence. So when you surrender your rights (as Cpt. Murica says “choice”) to a governing body you are now under the dictations of a someone else or a group of someone else’s. In a very real sense this is direct democracy or dictatorship, sacrifice your own self governance, sacrifice your own body and soul, and submit to the will of others who in large part outnumber you and through intimidation and threats discourage you from standing up for yourself and taking ownership of yourself and your actions and your responsibilities. Socialize/share/redistribute the costs, blame, and responsibilities.
Government is basically a group of people who outnumber you and agree upon on hurting you if you don’t agree with them (democracy). The unique thing about the Avengers is that they each generally possess superhuman features which makes them very hard to “govern” or more precisely “use violence, force, and intimidation” against.
Using the Cloak of Government to Shift Blame
When Cpt. ‘Murica says “this document just shifts the blame”, it can be inferred in a Constitutional sense, that when government does something horrible like nuking millions of Japanese or drone bombing brown people, the US Air Force personnel involved in the attack can sit there and say “I was just following orders”; the classic Nuremberg Defense – shifting the blame. Similarly, most citizens vote for various presidents and they can sit there and say “I’m not responsible for Obama’s actions or choices, but I did vote him into power”. This is not specific to Obama, but every congressman, president, politician ever voted for. You, the voter, empowered an individual or small group of individuals, via voting, to drone bomb brown people who only want to live their lives, but you happily say to yourself, “I didn’t make that specific choice to press the trigger.” Correct, but you legitimatized it by agreeing and voting for it. This is the problem with social contract theory as Lysander Spooner so correctly points out. Spread the blame and no one is immoral.
As the clips progresses, Cpt. ‘Murica, makes the most critical point that “the safest hands are still our own”. Which makes a very strong case of that you are responsible for your actions fully; you make decisions in life, good and bad, and if you have any sense of personal integrity; then you should own up to it. In the anarchist view we called this “self ownership” and this is a key philosophy of the Voluntaryist/Libertarian movement.
Interestingly, Iron Man makes an argument for the “collective good“. And this is one of the most dynamic and frustrating aspects of dealing with humanity, which is historically a tribal and social animal, in that how do we, as a species, build a society that benefits the rest of us but also respects my individuality, personhood, and property?
We at the Anarchy Roundtable highly encourage you to go see the Disney/Marvel film Captain America: Civil War and look at the subtext and subtle philosophies being discussed. Generally speaking, we all really enjoyed it. Again full credit to Marvel and Disney; well done, thank you for this movie! We really enjoyed it! Please don’t sue us, we’re broke!
As the show progresses we get into some the more technical aspects of the movie and also reference Captain America: Winter Soldier, which makes hyperbole of the US Govt and the NSA using surveillance technologies to spy on citizens for forms of dissent or criticism.
Regarding Winter Solider, there is a scene, demonstrated, that displays how government tries to be preventative of atrocity in the name of security, but while doing so, it inherently requires govt presence everywhere meaning “a gun to everyone’s head“.
Joe brings it back around to the third film. “What if this panel sends us somewhere we don’t think we shouldn’t go? What if there is somewhere we need to go and they don’t let us?” And that is what happens with war. As James makes the point the US Govt sent troops to Iraq for what we would later discover would be for no reason, yet lives were lost and dollars were wasted on machines of war.
“You’re all idiots” – James
As this discussion progresses we get into appeal of authority or appeal of expertise. And also another Marvel anti-hero: Deadpool. Great movie. Again all credit to Marvel and Disney and whoever was involved with the movie! Great hilarious movie! Highly recommended for those who entertain a sense of nihilism.
Confirmation bias vs. relying on expertise – One of these great problems that critical thinkers have to deal with. As Joe and James illustrate that there is necessity at times via the process of debate one must at times go back and reassess their own beliefs – even when it comes to the concept of anarchism.
Back to the Review
Back to the review of the movie and libertarian values and more spoiler alerts, as James points out exquisitely “Those who don’t consent to democracy end up in cages.”
Technocracy is brought into the discussion via The Vision. The Vision makes the argument of escalation, that “power invites challenge.”
This leads to a discussion of the Soviet Union and differing opinions of how or why it collapsed. As Danny discusses there is a movie besides Civil War and Winter Soldier that may be the audience should look into: Chuck Norris vs. Communism. Check out the Trailer!
Chuck Norris vs. Communism Trailer – Available on Netflix!
Danny gives an overview of the documentary and James brings up the similarly movies from the west were at one time being air dropped into North Korea as a means to subvert the North Korean govt.
And when is a cassette not a cassette? 😉 And if you want to know the origins of the term “banana republic.”
Continuing the the discussion on the Soviet collapse James asserts that the states collapse one of two ways. Overtaken by another state or internal collapse.
And enjoy the laughs as we end the show with “Big Black Gay Porn” and Mike confesses his true profession for everyone to enjoy.
Thanks again for tuning in. We give Marvel,Disney, Movieclips Coming Soon, and YouTube full credit for the clip in the beginning, we claim no ownership on it. Just using the clip as reference for the audience.
And Wes thanks again for the music!