Superhero Morality Essay
?I intend to prove that superheroes are not immoral for not abiding by the law. I am defining immorality as going against was is accepted as good behavior. Superheroes are very simply people who defend and protect those in need with their extraordinary abilities. Superman, Batman, the Flash, Ironman, Captain America, Thor and many others have graced us with their entertainment in movies, comic-books, and television shows. Their purpose is to save mankind in ways that “ordinary” people can’t. Superheros are not ordinary so they should not have to abide by laws that ordinary people put into place.
People are not supposed to go out and take the law into their own hands. Essentially that makes them criminals. But let me ask a question. If somebody has a broken arm and can’t open a door isn’t it your moral obligation to open the door for them if you can? The same thing applies to superheroes, when the law is incapable of stopping people that are hurting people who are unable to defend themselves and the superheroes can, isn’t it their responsibility to stop them? As Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben said “With great power, comes great responsibility. ” Take Batman in the series the Dark Knight.
For years gangs ran the city with the law being incapable of doing anything because everyone was afraid of testifying against the gangs. People were being killed, stores were being robbed, children were being forced to watch their parents die. Enforcers of the law were in the pockets of these criminals. Crime ran the city, until one citizen decided to do something about it, Bruce Wayne. Now Bruce was not a cop, he technically had no authority to go about eliminating crime lords but the people with the authority to take out the crime lords were incapable of doing it because of the law itself.
Law is supposed to help keep order in the world, but in Gotham it was keeping the crime in order. So Batman rose. Superheroes are the only ones that can standup and make a change when the law is ultimately hurting the people it was designed to protect even if it is technically breaking the law. Some disagree with superheroes being exempt from the law. Especially in a land of democracy superheroes should be on the same ground as “ordinary people”. Saying that superheroes don’t have to abide by the law is welcoming chaos. If they can do it, why can’t ordinary people?
Since Superman can fly into a hostage situation why can’t an ordinary man like John? John might think that he has the ability to negotiate or stealthily get the people out of the dangerous situation because he negotiates for his job or sneaks out of his house a lot to see his mistress without his wife ever knowing. He has a special skill set that someone on the police force might not have. Using the logic of “if you can do it you should do it” it would be John’s responsibility to go into that hostage situation to save those people.
Saying that it’s okay for superheroes is hypocritical because anyone can be a superhero. It would be different if we were saying that only people with abilities no one else can attain could be a superhero. Superman and Thor are perfect examples. Both of these superheroes attained their powers from their lineage. They can do what normal humans cannot. But superheroes like Ironman and Batman are ordinary people with rich banks. So saying they can take the law into their own hands is giving the okay for everyone to take the law into their own hands which ends in chaos.
The law was put into place to give structure to a naturally chaotic world. Ultimately if there is chaos more bad behavior is going on than good behavior. More immoralities than moralities. Most laws punish what isn’t good behavior like killing, stealing, or forging which i bad behavior. Bad behavior is breaking rule, in this case a law. Those actions are immoral, so law is a good compass for what is moral and immoral. We cannot hold people who break these law accountable if the very same person that brought them in broke laws as well.
That’s why warrants and other measures exist for the people that are trained to enforce the law. Using Okham’ razor it simple. People that break the law are criminals. Superheroes break the law. Superheroes are criminals. The issue with that argument is that superheroes are not normal people. They are different hence the “super” before the hero. If John the unfaithful husband that has a job in negotiation went into the hostage situation and succeeded in getting the people out he would be considered a hero not a superhero. Superheroes achieve what should be impossible.
Batman and Ironman are a different type of superheroes but they are superheroes because of their gadgets and genius minds. The men themselves a Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark are not superheroes because they cannot achieve superhuman acts without their gadgets. If, a men, they were to save people they would be considered heroes. But when these men put on their suits and use their genius minds to power them they become superheroes. Because superheroes are not normal people they abide by different rules/laws. A sort of superheroes code. One for example is not
killing. I can say this and be correct because law is not the decider of immorality. Stealing to feed ones family is a good behavior, the act is not immoral but the person can go to jail for it because stealing is against the law. Lying is immoral, but there is no law against lying. The reasons for laws is the prevent chaos, but the reason superheroes rise is because there is chaos. In the Justice League cartoon show Wonder woman left her homeland to stand beside the other members of the Justice League because the world was in turmoil.
If the law was doing what it was supposed to do, preventing chaos, superheroes wouldn’t need to exist. But the law fails at doing that, which is why superheroes have to step in. There I also an utilitarian view. Superheroes have a choice. Either they follow the law perhaps letting innocent people die or be harmed because the law prevents them from stepping in which would most likely hurt many or they step in and eliminate the issue which would probably only hurt a few (which would be the villains most likely).
I have proven that superheroes are not immoral for not abiding by the law by explaining that superheroes are not normal people so the law applies to them in a different way. Superheroes have a responsibility to abide by their own moral compass and live up to the responsibility of their power. Normal people can be heroes but they have to abide by the law so chaos won’t arise. Superheroes rise because there is chaos that the law can’t control. And since immorality is being defined as going against what is being considered good behavior it immorality is relative not a law so the superheroes are moral however they choose to save people.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 25 November 2016
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