Capitalism vs. Evil?

I just saw the film Batman Begins, which was a lot of fun. In an article by Ann Hornaday in today’s Washington Post, “Batman’s Laissez-Faire-Weather Fans,” my colleague David Boaz offers a libertarian appraisal of the film.

David summed it up rather well:

Boaz was happily struck by the fact that the hero was a businessman, he says, “but I think what was more interesting . . . is that the movie takes a strong stand that some things are evil, some people are evil. Crime is bad. And criminals need to be punished, not to be understood and coddled and let out of jail for more therapy.” Boaz says he was gratified as well to see a heroic portrayal of individualism and the idea “that it’s up to each person to take a stand and [that] each person has his own talents abilities and opportunities. Bruce Wayne, because of his money and training, has more talent and opportunities to do these things than most of us, but it’s made clear that it’s important for everybody to take a stand.”

7 Responses to “Batman”

  1. I liked the responsibility theme, but especially the way it is individualized. I don’t want to give anything away, but there is a clash between ideas about group responsibility and individual responsibility in the movie and the focus is on individual/personal responsibility.

  2. Tom,

    A general comment. You’re a good and intelligent man. You should take care, however, not to descend to the level of your nastiest opponents when you disagree with people. Your screeds against Hoppe do not put you in a good light, no matter how right you may be. Your piece on the Supreme Court was not served by cheap slights about people who favor states’ rights. If you want to be taken seriously you have to remain dignified in the face of opponents who may themselves be very undignified.

  3. Anthony

    I though this was about the Batman movie.

    It looks like the statement above is about the connections between Hans Herman Hoppe and Lew Rockwell and neoNazis. Maybe it should be posted on that thread. But why does Tom (not Tom Palmer) think that “no matter how right he may be” Tom Palmer’s comments on the connection between Rockwell and Hoppe and German neoNazis and American bigots and racists “do not put him in a good light”? If the remarks are true, it does put him in a good light, because it’s good to know those things. I’ll invite Tom (which ever one) to continue in the comment thread on the previous item. (Just in case anyone else wants to comment here on Batman, of course.)

    But about Batman Begins, I read and have heard some of the Randian commentary and it seemed exaggerated. The movie isn’t all that individualistic and promotes public transportation as a way to save a city, which is pretty unlikely. Also, it promoted the war on drugs, which doesn’t show much understanding of the economics of prohibition or the rights of individauls to consume whatever they want. Finally, did anyone notice how the science was all screwed up? Microwaves that heat up water will heat up people, too. The film should have been full of exploding people, given the scientific premise. I thought that “Objectivists” liked both “reason” and “individualism”. “Reason” didn’t do too well in the film. Maybe that’s picky, but it annoyed me.Of course, the filming was good, the fight scenes were excellent, and it did have some acting, which the other Batman movies lacked.

  4. good god man, its a freakin’ comic book. the science isn’t supposed to be perfect, and it *is* supposed to support simple ideals. sure, transportation was ONE of the things Wayne Enterprises hoped would help unify the city, but it wasn’t the only thing.
    you expect a hollywood blockbuster (attempted) movie to support drug legalization? c’mon, they’re trying to get the money of the american public not make a politcal stance!

  5. kate duree

    The only libertarian/objectivist-ish part of the movie that struck me at the time was the Katie Holmes character and the message that in the face of overwheliming corruption and evil, cute, young attorneys who are dedicated to change and justice, need to continue fighting, even if they are a lone voice.
    But maybe that is because I am a cute, young, recent law grad with aspirations to one day work at the Institute for Justice. (If only Batman fought Eminent Domain abuse…maybe in the sequel).

  6. One thing I liked about the movie was that the jerk CEO at the end turned out to be… just a jerk. I was expecting him to be revealed as the ultimate villain behind everything, because that’s what happened in every other movie I’ve ever seen with a jerk CEO.