Goldberg: "Of Angels and Bats"


Haven’t seen the film yet but Jonah Goldberg’s (spoiler-free) review of Dark Knight Rises is interesting and worthwhile. He points out the movie’s strong anti-Occupy Movement message. This is an aspect that most reviewers are either blind to (slaves to the narrative) or simply refuse to acknowledge.

An excerpt:

In a society of ordered liberty the physically powerful cannot compel the physically weak for their own ends (at least in theory). Strength and the will to do evil do not grant the license of arbitrary power over others. The rule of law may seem more constraining than anarchy (or even pure democracy which, after all, can be just as tyrannical as any other system), but it’s more just and ultimately more liberating as well. If men were angels, then anarchy would be the only just system of governance, for we could all govern ourselves.

But men are not angels, and that raises the dark irony and appeal of Batman. The old saw goes that Marvel comics are about flawed humans grappling with superpowers while DC comics are about gods who fight other gods. While I think this distinction is a bit overstated, Batman was always the most notable exception. Batman believes that the rule of law, which is so vital for preserving society, can become its own worst enemy when it gives too much freedom to evil men. He is the bully who keeps the bullies at bay. He is the man of will who declares that we will not live in a society ruled by men of will.

(emphasis mine)