This isn’t freedom; this is fear.
“This isn’t freedom, this is fear.” That statement was uttered by an American hero and champion of the Constitution upon hearing of a plan to place drone-like devices over the earth. These devices would have the ability to preemptively take out anyone the agency deploying the drones has determined could be a threat. The person who uttered that line is determined to do all he can to stop these devices from being deployed.
So who is the champion of liberty fighting this latest scheme to take away our liberty for phony promises of security? Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul? Senator Rand Paul? Representative Justin Amash? No, the line in question was uttered by Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, and is spoken in his new summer blockbuster The Winter Solider.
In addition to the action and larger-than-life (but still very human) characters that audiences have come to expect from Marvel’s films, The Winter Soldier‘s plot reflects the current debate on whether we really need to trade freedom for security. As the line suggests, Captain American comes down squarely on the side of freedom.
The drones in question are to be deployed by the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division (S.H.I.E.L.D.) the mysterious government intelligence agency that is a staple of the Marvel Universe. Captain America’s objections to the program are born out as it turns out that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been infiltrated by a sinister group who believes humanity is unworthy of freedom and must have order imposed on them by a strong government. (No, the organization in question is not the neoconservatives or Organizing for America.)
Since this is a summer blockbuster comic-book movie, the politics take a back seat to the action. Still, it is great to see objections to the surveillance state working their way into pop culture. Even better, Captain America has grossed over $150 million dollars in less than a month and gotten positive reviews. So, except for a few neocon writers, the film’s pro-liberty politics have not hurt it at all.
Hopefully, more mainstream filmmakers will learn the lesson from Captain American’s success and, instead of filling their films with pro-statist messages, will learn that, to paraphrase Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul, freedom is popular at the movies.