Sunday, June 16, 2013

Man of Steel

First of all, wow.  Just... wow.  Second of all, one of the signs of a great movie is that it is written in such a way that people can project their own beliefs and thoughts to it.

To me, that's what Man of Steel was.  I saw so much of what was happening in our world now and warnings against the path we are going down.  Warning, possible spoilers ahead. 

Start from the concept of what happened to Krypton.   Here was a culture that reached for the stars and beyond.  Then, 'for the betterment of the collective', children began being born unnaturally and 'designed' for specific roles in society.  The idea being that they would ultimately be happier that way and society would become even greater.  But the reverse happened.

The reason was because without the variable of choice; without the variable of unpredictability, new ideas stopped happening.  No matter where in society these pre-determined fatees were going to take place, their knowledge, their ideas were only based on pre-existing knowledge and there was no incentive for them to create new or better methods for anything. 

It's reflective of Aldous Huxley's - A Brave New World.  When people stop having new ideas and find happiness in slavery, society stops moving forward.  It was essentially a sci-fi version of the Soviet Union and what their problems were.

When the Kryptonians stopped reaching for the stars and began trading freedom for security, they ultimately got neither.  Just like Ben Franklin said would happen.  Since no new technologies were coming out, since they more or less disbanded their space programs, since no new resources were being discovered, resources were eventually used up.  This lead to the collapse and destruction of their entire culture.  Just like the Soviet Union.

It was essentially a functioning Fabian Socialist Republic, with genetic tinkering paving the way.  We face all of these things with the road we are currently on. 

There was a line by Russell Crowe where he talked about what if a child didn't want to be what society told him or her to be, but aspired to something greater?  Well, where are we now if that's not the case?  Between corrupted teacher's unions providing a piss-poor education and a university academics preaching concepts of victimization... teaching our kids they can't make it without help?

Is it coincidence that the giants among us don't finish the brain washing in college?  I don't think it is.  They reject the idea that they can't do something or that they shouldn't and reach for the stars.  The worst than can happen is they fail.  But our current culture teaches us to fear failure; teaches us to give up our choice and freedom for security.  Don't take risks, you might fail.  Just accept the job we think you should do.

Then, obviously, there's Superman.  He was always a very christ-like figure.  From his adopted parents names (Joseph and Mary), to a miracle birth, choosing a life of honest labor like Jesus chose carpentry, assuming the mantle of something greater only when confronted with the potential fall of mankind, ultimately volunteering to sacrifice himself to save mankind, working to set the example for mankind to follow.


There was a lot about personal integrity; essentially doing the right thing even when no one is looking, and personal responsibility; something we sorely need to get back.  They also emphasized that the individual is the most important thing, not any collective.

Zod was a collectivist, willing to do anything bad or good to protect his collective.  The ends justified the means; a Saul Alinsky reference.  He even says that no matter how great or terrible his choices or actions, they were all for the the betterment of Krypton.  Well, how can you make terrible choices and do terrible things and expect the society you uphold to not have that reflected.  We, as individuals, have to strive to be the best version of ourselves and as a result, as a collective we will be great.  It's the individual that makes the collective, not the collective that makes the individual.  Zod and Krypton had reversed the roles of what makes a culture great. 

I also loved that on Krypton their children were not their own, that they were society's children.  Melissa Harris Perry and Hillary Clinton could learn a thing or two about parental responsibilities from Krypton.  When you remove a parent's responsibilities and pretend that it takes a village to raise a child or that your children are not your responsibility to raise, but society's, the society becomes built on a house of cards and cannot stand. 

And again, this is me projecting onto the movie.  I'm sure everyone can project their own spin.  I'm sure environmentalists will get a 'see, we shouldn't overuse our resources' message instead of a 'we shouldn't stifle creativity and imagination' vibe from the fall of Krypton, but that's what makes it a great movie.

Edit** (06-15-13) - Case and point.  Here, in Superman's home state of Kansas, immigration activists marched on the home of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.  So, first off, they invaded private property without invitation.  Then they left the shoes of 'fathers' he's deported.  So second, they defaced private property.  Third, they littered.  Fourth, they a protesting a guy for upholding both state and federal law.  Not just a guy, but the Secretary of State for Kansas.  Their protest broke 3 laws and they were protesting a government official who was following and upholding the law to break a state and federal law.

If that weren't enough, their message was, "everyone should have human rights, including food, shelter, medical care, education, and a job”; that “the common good is more important than privilege for a few".  That sounds great as a sound bite, but any person with an ounce of common sense could think those through and find they don't work.  Ayn Rand once said the easiest way to determine whether something is right or wrong was to ask one simple question.  'At cost to whom?'

So, let's dissect this with an eye to Krypton.  'Everyone should have human rights'.  Ok, but what are human rights?  Who decides what constitutes human rights? Is this a moving mark or is it a static?  Because the Founders set a static line that many progressive are now saying is a moving mark; or a 'living constitution'.  And, if you're religious, there is nothing 'living' or 'transient' about 'Though shalt not covet'.  And, if you're superman, you should be insulted because you're not human so none of these arbitrary rights would apply to you.

'... including food, shelter, medical care, education and a job.'  At cost to whom?  I mean, the purpose of a job is to supply food, shelter, medical care and an education.  So, if you have those things, what is the point of working?  What is the incentive to work?  Native Americans had no money and worked all day to find, hunt or grow their food; build and repair their shelter; there was almost no medical care and education was based on observation.

Who raises, grows, makes, packages, ships the food?  Who decides what kind of food?  Who decides what kind of shelter?  Who pays for the shelter?  Who builds it?  Who pays the teachers?  Who props up the education system?  Who pays for doctors; who were losing in droves now thanks to Obamacare?  Who decides what kind of job you're guaranteed?  What if you don't like the job they guaranteed you?

The problem with guaranteeing a job is apparent when you observe the Soviet Union and Krypton.  Everyone was guaranteed a job, but any desire to reach for more didn't exist.  You just did what you were told for the greater good, because the collective was more important than the individual.  That is not freedom.

And sure enough... '... the common good is more important than the privileged few.'  No, it's not.  The needs of the many do not outweigh the needs of the few.  It's a good sound bite, but another name for that is tyranny.  If your life belows to everyone and not yourself, then you are a slave.  When people aren't allowed to dream, society ceases to grow and develop.  On Krypton, they predetermined who would have what guaranteed job.  Their society collapsed.  The Soviet Union eliminated free will and freedom of thought and their society stagnated and collapsed.  Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea... and on and on.

China is the one exception because of Hong Kong.  The Chinese have learned that freedom of thought, the opportunity to aspire to more is a gift; not a curse, and they are giving their citizens incrementally more freedom and the results are amazing.  They still have labor camps.  They still kill their citizens on live TV.  The still hide information from their people.  But, it's only a matter of time before the people figure it out.

So, the answer to who the cost is burdened on when it comes to guaranteeing jobs, is you.  It's at cost to you.  A guaranteed job means no chance excel; no chance to climb the ladder; no chance to change jobs... no freedom.  A guaranteed job is another way of saying slave labor.  'But slaves didn't get paid'.  Are you? 

Slaves had their basics like housing food taken care of.  Roman slaves even got a small amount of money because Roman slave owners found that when they did this, it allowed the slaves to by themselves distractions and keep up the illusion of happiness.  What you get now is the illusion of payment. 

I say illusion because, while you earn a pay check, most of it is taken from you.  Between the first 3 months to the first 6 months of every hour you work; depending on what tax bracket you're in, goes to the federal government.  They leave you just enough to let you buy things to distract yourself and make you think you're happy.  They've even let you think you're buying a house, but do you actually own the property if you still have to pay taxes on it?  The easiest way to find out is to stop paying those taxes.  Whether you think you own that land or not, they can repossess it.  If you owned the property, how is that possible?

It's a shell game, designed to be too complicated to understand for the average person, and to keep them too busy from giving it the proper thought it deserves.  If these protesters got their way, it would open the door to mandatory work to pay for your 'benefits'.  Human rights would be equivalent to no rights other than to work.  Nothing to look forward to but to work for your fellow man and never yourself, because the person in the most need would be the most entitled under a system that promotes 'from each according to their needs from each according to their abilities.'  Because your life would not belong to you because '...the common good is more important...'

These ideas sound good when they have no logic or thought applied to them, but just remember Krypton.  Remember the Soviet Union.