The End of (Misplaced) Hope

Fictional villains often give us some of the deepest insights into the human condition. Writers are freed to venture outside the bounds of what they think is civil society and explore new modes of thinking that may or may not, in fact, be malevolent. In doing so they sometimes, purposefully or inadvertently, stumble across uncomfortable truths that the layperson would recoil from in horror.”, reprinted here.

The author of this article uses the movie, The Dark Knight Rises, as an analogy to what is occurring in our own real world today. Batman has been captured by the evil Bane, and is imprisoned in a place known only as The Pit, from which there is no escape except death. However, hope is always held out that escape while living is possible and it is this hope which keeps the prisoners trying to stave off and delay the inevitable death which cannot be avoided. Hope becomes a weapon which is used against them in order to slowly poison their souls, to drive them gradually into a demoralized insanity from which they will never recover. Batman is told that he will be forced to watch helplessly while Gotham City is destroyed and turned into ashes, after which he will be allowed to die. The unspoken message is that Batman will try to keep his own hope alive so that he can effect a change in his situation and save the city, but will be unable to…in other words, a misplaced hope.

He then concludes that this is what life looks like in reality.

“Here Bane is a representation of the Deep State, the true ruling force of our world, existing beyond all bounds of morality, law, and order. Batman is the free-thinking rebel, enjoying the same philosophical freedom as Bane but committed to a life of principles and justice. The people of Gotham represent the citizenry of Planet Earth over whom absolute dominion is being sought – the power of life and death itself.”

While I agree with much of what Mr. E has written and I applaud and support his ultimate conclusion, this is where I part company with him. Some may see this as semantics, a technicality, splitting of hairs, but it is important to clearly define this issue. Batman and Bane both represent an ideology which seeks total control over the people of Gotham. The only difference between them is that one is a “legally recognized rule of law” while the other is a competing faction striving to gain the upper hand, both using whatever means is necessary to reach the end goal–unlimited power and control. Batman is portrayed as an Agent of Good, working hand-in-glove with the established authorities to maintain the Status Quo, while Bane appears as the ultimate personification of Evil seeking to destroy everything which is good. Meanwhile, the people of Gotham (Earth) suffer extreme hardship and pain while these behemoths battle for supremacy.

“When two elephants fight, the grass gets trampled.” — ancient African proverb

Considering that Donald Trump has just been indicted (and may be convicted of a criminal act) in Gotham, er, I mean New York City, by a District Attorney who has sworn to destroy him, the irony here is unmistakable. Batman, er, I mean Trump, is being forced to defend himself in the hope that he will be be able to escape his predicament so that he can come to the rescue of all the poor, besieged peoples of the USA and, ultimately those in the rest of the world, setting them free from the hopeless chains which the forces of tyranny are forging around them.

To which I say, “Bullshit.” Pure bullshit.

Trump is seen in the eyes of many, tens of millions at least, as a Savior, someone we hope will ride in on a white horse and save us all from the death and destruction which faces us at the hands of a ruthless, implacable State. These millions (minions?) have set their sights on a revolution which will upset the ruling regime and allow a new System of Government (SOG, or perhaps more accurately SOGGY) to be set up in its place, administering peace, justice, and righteousness over the nation and world. Unfortunately, all revolutions revolve around one thing and it is not called liberty. Instead, every revolution has the intention to overturn the existing form of government and institute a new one, with the now successful revolutionaries acting as the Dear Leaders, forcing everyone under their jurisdiction to submit to their own brand of “law and order.”

Contrary to Mr. E’s assertion, Batman is not a rebel, free-thinking or otherwise. He is not even a revolutionary. He is a functionary of established government. He lives and breathes to protect the existing political regime, not from the people who are being driven into chains of tyranny, but from those outsiders who want to take over the reins of power. In this instance, Bane is that outsider, the dreaded revolutionary, but even he is not a true rebel. Revolution is not the same as rebellion.

According to Merriam-Webster, revolution is,

“…a fundamental change in political organization, especially the overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed…”,

while rebellion is defined as,

“…opposition to one in authority or dominance…”

Note: this definition is not exclusively correct. A coup which overthrows one government and institutes another is not necessarily done with the consent of, or by the will of, the “governed”.

Following this line of thinking, there are only two kinds of people in the world today — those who want to control others around them and those who do not want to be controlled. There are revolutionaries who want to impose their own rule and there are rebels who refuse to be ruled. There are those who want to overthrow existing governments so that another, more to their liking which they control, can be instituted and there are those who wish to see the end of government entirely. In the words of Robert Higgs, there are statists and there are anarchists.

“Anarchists did not try to carry out genocide against the Armenians in Turkey; they did not deliberately starve to death millions of Ukrainians; they did not create a system of death camps to kill millions of Jews, gypsies, and Slavs in Europe; they did not fire-bomb scores of large German and Japanese cities and drop nuclear bombs on two of them; they did not carry out a ‘Great Leap Forward’ that killed scores of millions of Chinese people; they did not kill more than 500,000 members of the Indonesian Communist party, alleged party sympathizers, and others; they did not attempt to kill everybody with any appreciable education in Cambodia, murdering one fourth of the country’s population; they did not kill as many as 200,000 Mayan peasants and others in Guatemala; they did not kill more than 500,000 Tutsis and pro-peace Hutus in Rwanda; they did not implement US and Allied trade sanctions that killed perhaps 500,000 Iraqi children; they did not launch one aggressive US war after another. In debates between anarchists and statists, the burden of proof clearly should rest on those who place their trust in the state. Anarchy’s mayhem is wholly conjectural; the state’s mayhem is undeniably, factually horrendous.”

Robert Higgs

This last line must be explored. In history, it is absolutely certain that states have created and carried out policies which inevitably resulted in death, destruction, and chaos on a massive scale. The 20th-century alone experienced extreme horror in the murderous actions of governments everywhere in which possibly as many as 200 million people died and multiples more were wounded, assaulted, and scarred. It did not matter what political philosophy these governments operated under: democratic, republican, monarchic, Communist, Nazi, Fascist, totalitarian, business as usual, et al., they all participated in the orgy and mayhem which shaped our modern world, all for one purpose–to gain power at the expense of everyone else, especially those poor souls who could not get out of the way. There is no question that established States have been guilty of immense criminal activity and the States of the 21st century promise to be no better, and in fact, may be responsible for the complete destruction of the world through unlimited war between competing nuclear powers.

Contrast this with the way Higgs describes anarchic mayhem–wholly conjectural. All that anyone who objects to the idea of anarchy and personal liberty can do is to point out the possibility that “something bad MIGHT happen”, which simply cannot be allowed. Yet these believers in the Statist religion do not understand and deliberately refuse to even consider that pure anarchy has the potential to bring human relations to a point where we can peacefully co-exist with each other without being afraid that some nebulous, nefarious “other” will try to attack, overcome, and destroy our way of life. They cannot imagine that any group larger than one (themselves) can associate and cooperate voluntarily without the implied threat that an armed, uniformed Agent of the State is constantly lurking in the shadowy background, ready to pounce and punish any wrongdoing or aggression. They cannot imagine living life without someone coming to their rescue whenever they are in (real or perceived) danger. They need a hero, a guardian, a pale rider.

This otherwise astute article is concluded with this bit of truth, which I wholeheartedly agree with.

The State isn’t broken, it’s doing exactly what it’s designed to do. And for that reason, it must be left behind to die. Stop letting yourself be tortured by sociopaths. Withdraw your support now, your life depends on it, and there is no Batman coming to save you.

No, Batman is not coming to save us, but we always have Trump, who will make everything right. Again. Forevermore. Amen.

Yeah, right, and Jesus is coming back real soon to “rapture” us out of our own self-induced predicament.

“Gentlemen, the time is coming when there will be two great classes, Socialists, and Anarchists. The Anarchists want the government to be nothing, and the Socialists want the government to be everything. There can be no greater contrast. Well, the time will come when there will be only these two great parties, the Anarchists representing the laissez faire doctrine and the Socialists representing the extreme view on the other side, and when that time comes, I am an Anarchist.”

William Graham Sumner

I like the conclusion Sumner reached, but I differ with it in one point. I will not wait until the time comes when there are only two opposing views or classes. I am an Anarchist now.

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