Batman Like Bush? – Tilly

Yes, its true…I went to see The Dark Knight once again.  Some will probably call me a nerd for seeing now four times…But I am amazed everytime I see it, not just because of the brilliant film making (and yes, it is stunning) but mostly for the philosophical and political depth to the movie.  As Jared has already mentioned, one of the major themes in the movie is that of sacrifice.  Batman is willing to sacrifice so much for the good of Gotham.  In fact, it is easy to see Batman as a Christ figure, taking the sins of Harvey Dent upon himself to save Gotham.  But there is much more to grasp from seeing this movie, which certainly makes it so compelling.

After seeing it the second time I read an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “What Bush and Batman have in Common.” I highly encourage those who have seen the movie to read this piece.  The preface is that Batman and President Bush share a common belief on defeating terrorism.  Batman does whatever possible, even cracking into every person’s cell phone to stop a terrorist called the Joker.   President Bush takes similar actions in the name of defeating Islamic terrorism.  He pushed through Congress the Patriot Act (which gives the government easier access to telephone, medical, library records, etc.).  And his administration supports wiretapping so the government can listen in on phone calls to terrorists around the world.   Both Mr. Bush and Batman take away certain liberties of citizens to protect them. And as Batman is viewed as the villain by the end of the movie, Mr. Bush has been hated and despised by a countless number of Americans.  Yet, both are willing to do the “right” thing even if that means being hated by the ones they seek to protect.  Of course, it is more than a stretch to say The Dark Knight is a perfect allegory of the the Bush administration’s War on Terror.  But the movie poses a question which is ever so pertinent to our time:  When a free society’s safety is being threatened, are there ever times when such a nation must suspend at least some freedoms to protect itself?  For Batman and President Bush the answer is a clear yes.

My take:  It is impossible for a nation to be completely free and completely secure.  For the government to provide security, citizens must give up some freedoms. The difficulty is finding a balance in which freedom is preserved and protected.  Today, our United States faces a new kind of threat.  Islamic Fascism is breeding terrorists who desire nothing less than our destruction.  And in such a complex world, Americans cannot expect to stay free without sacrificing some freedoms.  Do I want to give the U.S. government full control of my life?  Of course not.  But I am more than willing to allow the government to search me at airports and see if I regularly visit websites or check out books which promote terrorist activities.  Have I given up some personal freedom?  Yes, but I will sacrifice some of my personal freedoms to preserve the republic.  The Dark Knight provides a valuable lesson which Americans should consider.  They cannot expect to have freedom without sacrifice.  If Americans are not willing to sacrifice some freedoms when we face such threats as we do today, then I fear there may soon be no freedom left to protect.

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One Response to Batman Like Bush? – Tilly

  1. Jared says:

    Our freedom’s are so sacred in the American Republic, and to give them up for anything is such a challenge to rectify. But the government, from the beginning, has removed freedom’s and granted others, only to create more and remove them again, etc. It is a never ending cycle it seems.

    I place myself in the group of people wary of things such as warrantless wiretapping, but I have confidence that our government is capable of not overstepping its bounds. A true public servant will refuse to examine someone without the proper authorization and proof. Of course, how many of those do we have left in Washington or anywhere else in government service? I am leery.

    And Batman got it wrong. Caesar was never appointed to the position of “temporary tyrant/dictator by consent” as Rachel Dawes claims. Pity they didn’t get their history right. The Consul was not that position.

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