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If you recognize the title, congratulations! You know of the Mortal Kombat-like game “Injustice: Gods Among Us” and might have even played it (it’s not a terrible game). If you don’t know it, here’s a summary: The Joker (Batman villain) tricks Superman into killing his own wife and unborn son. In a fit of rage, Superman kills the Joker and the rest of the game’s plot revolves around Superman’s Regime, who is trying to save humanity by controlling it and Batman’s insurgents, who are trying to free humanity.
Along with the game, there is a comic book series that explains the story leading up to the game’s plot. It’s still underway, but already it has introduced themes that seem oddly appropriate to our conversations about the IRS, NSA and the balance of power tipping too far toward the governing and out of the hands of the governed.
Superman and his Regime go about killing evildoers instead of just beating them up, taking down violent, tyrannical governments and pronouncing themselves peacekeepers of the world. The aim is to control everything, top to bottom, to ensure peace and happiness. Instead, the people of the world are fearful and quiet, terrified of earning the scorn of their new masters.
And we look to today, when the IRS is restricting the ability of groups they see as ideological enemies from having their say, the NSA’s means of watching over the populace has grown exponentially and the administration that runs them both sits high above us, assuring us it’s going to be okay without any proof and certainly without allowing dissent. It is truly an Injustice.
Part of why this is so scary is because of what liberalism means to government. In order to assure that everyone gets their fair share, they must micromanage every aspect of the lives it governs. To micromanage every life it governs, it must grow to accommodate those needs (whether they be true needs or made up in the interest of its proclaimed “fairness”). To fight every “evil” in the world, the very nature of liberalism is reactionary.
So, too, is the nature of Superman’s Regime.
They only go and fight once they see an issue. Nothing they ever seem to do is preventative because they are so busy fighting the evils of the world. The closest they seem to get is when Wonder Woman forces the surrender of all the military men in an unnamed village and gives their guns to the women, who in turn commit an evil of their own by killing the now-defenseless men in cold blood – an act that Wonder Woman ignores.
Big government ideologues do the very same thing. They can only react and build another silver spire of Government to reign over another aspect of our lives. And, whether it is in the name of “fairness” or “national security,” it takes a devastating toll on the freedoms we as Americans have worked since the establishment of the Constitution to maintain.
Compare it to small government ideology. With small government, there is a calling for personal responsibility and clear right and wrong answers. There is the rule of law that is followed and consequences, good or bad, for each and every action. It strives to instill within us a sense of personal pride and accomplishment when we make our way. The idea of rags to riches is not a completely dead idea, it is simply harder and those who achieve the goal are eventually scorned as cheaters and the unfairly successful by those who did not do the work.
But, when we look at big government, we see no inspiration to succeed. If you fail, don’t worry! As Mitt Romney said, there’s a safety net for you. One that, in the current climate, you could almost live on permanently. Consequences? The only consequence is who pays you. Will it be an employer or will it be the office that hands the benefits of failure to you each month? The idea of rags to riches? It’s some distant fantasy you don’t have to worry about because someone other than you can always pick up the tab.
In “Injustice,” Superman aims to take care of everyone (just like big government does), but to do so, he has to take liberties and encroach on freedoms in a way that scares the populace (just like big government does). The people distrust Superman, but none will say a word against them.
The Regime is insulated, protective of one another in a way they can’t be with the average person, because they are so far beneath them. Don’t the people in the world below know what they do is for their own good? Why wouldn’t they want it?
Re-read those last two questions. Then think about the Washington D.C. of this political cycle. Can you not hear them asking that to themselves?
So, in a roundabout sense, I guess I’m asking if you’d rather support Batman or Superman. You shouldn’t even need this post to decide. Superman sucks.
As a rule, I don’t play fighting games. However, I do talk about games and other things here. Follow me on Twitter: @joec_esquire