Saturday, July 26, 2008

So that's why I always liked Batman the best...

...Because he's a libertarian hero.

Unlike Superman, who often seems to waste his immense powers on relatively minor villains, Batman/Bruce Wayne pays attention to the importance of opportunity costs. For example, he goes after the bigwigs of Gotham organized crime, not the smalltime petty thieves. He consistently attacks the most powerful villains he can realistically take on with the resources available to him.

The Batman story is also an interesting quasi-libertarian commentary on the shortcomings of government. Like the Mafia portrayed in The Godfather, the necessity for Batman's sometimes dubious methods arises because of the government's failure to protect people and their property against predation. This point is effectively emphasized in both The Dark Knight and Batman Begins. In that respect, Batman is similar to The Godfather in conveying skepticism about government, its motives, and its ability to effectively fulfill even the core "minimal state" function of protecting the public against violent crime.

In two important respects, Batman's message is actually more libertarian than that of The Godfather. While the latter portrays private protection firms (such as the Mafia) as being basically similar to government in their predatory nature, Batman's crimefighting activities are depicted as being both more noble and more effective than those of the generally incompetent and corrupt Gotham authorities.

This quotation is lifted from the generally excellent Volokh Conspiracy, a legal/political blog with refreshingly libertarian leanings.


Have you ever noticed that Hayek looks a lot like Alfred, Bruce Wayne's butler?

I always figured Alfred must be the brains of the operation. If Hayek is Alfred, there's no doubt.

(If you can't be bothered to figure out anything else about Hayek, look up his analysis of the Calculation Problem that dooms attempts to decide what ought to be produced or what "fair" prices really should be. Despite modern defenses of socialism, I still think that this is the fatal flaw, and also a big reason why anything other than modest social welfare programs go quickly to Hell. Or better yet, the road to Hell is necessarily paved with good intentions coupled with unforseen consequences and inadequate data.)


At Saturday, July 26, 2008, Blogger Ψ*Ψ said...

Have you seen Dark Knight yet?

At Saturday, July 26, 2008, Blogger David Eaton said...

No, but Sam and I plan to see it this weekend. People I know who have seen it loved it.


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