Monday, May 10, 2010

Iron Man as a Libertarian Superhero ???

I saw Iron Man 2 over the weekend. 
The first movie in the series was great, but I only gave the sequel a 6 on the 10 scale.  Lots of stuff blown up, but no plot to care about, and no characters to care about, only one-liners strung onto a skeletal storyline. 

But the first 15 minutes of that movie are freakin' awesome.  Awesome.  Libertarian greatness is the only way to describe it. 
It seems that Congressman Henry Waxman a government dweeb wants to take away Tony Stark's Iron Man "unregulated weapon" for the good of the people, despite peace being preserved with Stark running around fighting evil on his own. 

Here's Kyle Smith, who disagrees with me about the first movie, describing the Congressional hearing that follows:

Meet Tony Stark — Capitalist Tool. I liked “Iron Man,” and liked it even more the second time I saw it, but it didn’t overwhelm me. And I felt it was a little wishy-washy on questions of capitalism and patriotism.

Not so with “Iron Man 2,” in which Tony Stark is a Randian hero who all but goes Galt when seemingly the only force that could ever defeat him — the U.S. government — begins to make the outrageous demand that his Iron Man technology is somehow public property. Because … well, it’s really important. And everyone knows that when it comes to important stuff, only the government can be trusted to handle it.

Stark makes the argument that the opposite is the case. He says he has made national defense a triumph by privatizing it (!). Yes, he actually uses the word privatize, and though I part with pure libertarians about this subject (no, I don’t think cops and the military should be privatized), to hear a superhero outlining such a bold stance is a tonic to say the least. (As I write virtually every time the subject is a superhero movie, these things are so predictable that I can barely pay attention to the latest by-the-numbers plot.)

Moreover, Tony is unapologetic about getting rich (he’s simply smarter than the competition), openly mocks the senators who are grilling him about his alleged selfishness and warns the government about handpicking winners in the weapons business (such as Sam Rockwell, who plays a rival industrialist who, though this is never explicitly mentioned, has obviously won Pentagon contracts by buying off lawmakers). He notes that evil-axis-dwellers such as the Iranians and the Norks are five to ten years from developing Iron Man technology, and that the cocky-but-inept Rockwell character is “more like 20″ years away.

In a very Howard Roark/Galt-ish moment, Stark chastises the government that it cannot take away his private property.
This section of the movie will be a YouTube classic within 15 minutes of being released on DVD.  Hopefully sooner.  Anyone hauled in front of Congress for a show trial should take notes.


Stephen M. Smith said...

Sounds like the movie Iron Man is a lot better than the Iron Man of Marvel's Civil War.

TarrantLibertyGuy said...

I didn't see Iron Man, but Iron Man Dos, looks good. Howard, Mickey Roark looks awesome as a crazed maniac who uses all sorts of artificial means to change his body... so not a real stretch for him.

But the trailers look pretty compelling.

libertarianhawk said...

I liked the movie, but showing the government so weak annoyed me. There's a lot of tools the Feds could use against Tony.

Taylor Goldblatt said...

that was def one of the best parts of the movie, i was surprised