Notes From Babel

Isn’t This How Vigilantes Justify Themselves?

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I’ve been trying to get away from current events political blogging, but I think this is important. Schwarzenegger recently said this regarding the economy and “bipartisanship”:

The horrible thing about politics is that, the more they attack each other, the more that they try to derail each other, the worse it is for the people. That’s why … you know, you’ve got to go beyond just the principles. You’ve got to go and say, “What is right for the country right now?”

Forgive me, but isn’t this lifted straight from the vigilante calling card? This is Hollywood justice. Now, I liked The Dark Knight as much as anyone, but Arnold is not appreciating one of the key nuances. Although we sympathize with the vigilante Batman, we can only do so upon realizing, as Bruce Wayne does, that he can only do so as a pariah to ordered civil society: he is a “super” hero because he is outside the natural order of justice. Human justice is means-oriented; Batman’s is ends-oriented. We can root for those ends where we happen to agree; but his values, analyses, and decisions, are always cloaked from the people he aims to serve. And that is why he is always so scrutinized, why the public turns on him the instant he produces an undesirable result–when the integrity of decision making processes are cloaked, results are all we have to go by.

Arnold fails to grasp what millions of Batman fans did. He thinks he can trample means with ends. He thinks he can flout the principles of civil order with his personal ones. He thinks he can wear his cape in the light of day.


Written by Tim Kowal

February 22, 2009 at 6:25 pm

Posted in Politics

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