Progressive Hypocrisy & Mutant Registration

This past week, Comicsgater (and fellow Bleeding Fool contributor) Edwin Boyette posted the following on Twitter:

 Naturally, the unfunny Twitter Left saw an “opportunity” … and took it:

That’s how you react when someone makes a completely valid and intelligent point … and you have no real response.

Three years ago when “Captain America: Civil War” was at the box office, I wrote the following:

[H]ow is it that “progressives” are so in favor of taking away law abiding folks’ means to protect and defend themselves, yet are loath to even register super-powered mutants with the government?

Former X-Men writer Chris Claremont was the first to raise the spectre of a “mutant registration act” back in the classic X-Men #141-142, “Days of Future Past.” The dystopian “future” of 2013 came about as a result of Senator Kelly’s assassination by the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. But the resulting passage of the “Mutant Control Act” was declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court, so the government (presumably the legislative and executive branches working together) brought back the Sentinel program. 

Kitty Pryde, who traveled back to 1980 to prevent Kelly’s assassination (in the comics; in the film version it was Wolverine), said “bless ’em” regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling while recounting to the X-Men how the future comes about. Moira MacTaggert says about the Act “Registration today, gas chambers tomorrow.”

Senator Kelly pops back up in X-Men #158:

MacTaggert’s immediate reply to this is “That miserable, sanctimonious sod!”

The first X-Men film has Jean Grey debating Senator Kelly thusly: Kelly makes an analogy to possessing and registering firearms, whereupon Grey retorts that we don’t require registration for people to live. But many mutants are much more dangerous than guns! Including most especially Ms. Grey (see “X-Men 3: The Last Stand”)!!

Eight years before that, I wrote:

The X-Men — and mutants in general — have long been Marvel’s metaphor for the dispossessed, disenfranchised, and oppressed. Until recently (with the massive “Civil War” epic), one item had been frequently and conveniently brushed aside in the mutant debate: That these “oppressed” citizens often had abilities to cause incredible — and widespread — destruction. Clearly, guys like William Stryker go to extremes in addressing the situation. But it always seemed to me that there was lacking that “moderate” voice — that sensical viewpoint that bridged concern for civil liberties with that of the general security of the American public. Consider the first “X-Men” film: In one of the flick’s first sequences, we see [X-Man] Jean Grey arguing with Senator Robert Kelly about possible registration of mutants. Kelly makes an analogy to possessing and registering firearms, whereupon Grey retorts that we don’t require registration for people to live. She’s right, of course, but would we so require such if super-powered mutants actually existed? It is easy for you to sit behind your computer, act all morally superior and say “No way, man! That is a clear violation of civil rights and inherently immoral.” But, of course, if a dude like Magneto (and his allies) were out there randomly causing widespread havoc because of his own hatred of homo sapiens, you’d probably have second thoughts!

In addition, comics journalist Tom Spurgeon had written:

When I was a kid I liked it when Captain America saw a high government official commit suicide. I thought that was way deep, man. But I never go there when thinking about Watergate. While [“Civil War” author] Mark Millar’s Captain America and I may both worry about civil rights and the dispensation of power in the United States, the moment this leads Cap to take out a battalion of Secret Agents to buttress his point he’s kind of lost to me as a potential partner-in-ideology.

Now, maybe Mark Millar will be the first writer to use the specific metaphor he has at his disposal to say something insightful and constructive about those issues, but I suspect that as in the past the real world comparisons exist primarily to flatter the entertainment value of the superhero comic, not so much to say anything that isn’t, well, kind of dumbassed. The same way that the X-Men or similar series can only go so far when speaking to identity and outsider issues before people begin to realize shooting raybeams from your eyes really is different enough from sexual or racial identity to kind of limit any insight to be gained, I can’t imagine a point of view emerging from Civil War that isn’t constrained or made foolish by these characters’ very specific fantasy identities.

To which I concluded: “Indeed. If you can’t see a difference between, say, having misgivings about your neighbor merely because he is black, and your neighbor because he sometimes inadvertently projects beams of concussive force from his nostrils which, at their weakest, hit like a Mack truck moving at 60 mph, then you have problems!”

Problems like Mr. Aaron Hellvarez has, obviously. 

For the social justice warriors, it’s much easier to react emotionally — and score “bonafides” points with your SJW buddies — than to actually think.

Dave Huber

A ComicsGater long before the term ever existed, Dave is a retired teacher who now concentrates his efforts on shining sunlight on politically correct craziness at college campuses.