Of course. I’m an American. So’s Cap. We both believe that:
(a) the individual is more important than the group;
(b) the natural law trumps the statutory; and
(c) government, even at its most wonderful, is evil.
That being said, the way Captain America: Civil War starts out, I’m kinda in Tony Stark’s camp. See, it’s a good idea to have some type of independent body keeping an eye on powerful, semi-autonomous organizations that tend to the imperial. We used to have one here in the US called Congress but it’s now more interested in sharing imperial power than protecting us peasants. Doesn’t negate the idea, though, especially when the powerful, semi-autonomous organization is capable of overthrowing small―and not-so-small―countries, the way the Avengers can.
So, I was a bit put-off by Cap’s initial opposition to the Accords. Being the good soldier, he knows full well that civilian control of military forces is de rigueur. Yes, that was S.H.I.E.L.D’s job, and, yes, they’re gone, but the principle remains and it’s a matter of Cap expanding his definitions a bit. His balk seemed contrived, just a way to move the plot along. And I think that’s a failure of the script.
See, the real issue isn’t rogue superhero groups running about willy nilly saving mankind from certain annihilation. Not at all. It’s authoritarian centralized governmental structures using rogue superhero groups to make us peasants toe the line. That’s actually the issue in the original Civil War comic series on which this movie is based. If Cap had more clearly expressed it, then the choice would have been more stark (no pun intended). Do you believe in freedom, or do you believe in control?
And, yes, granted, Cap raises a protest about government agendas, but it’s weakly done and passes right on by, mostly because these are post-modernist times and people are choosing government agendas and centralized control over personal autonomy. We want Daddy Government to give us a job, a car, money, an X Box, our own doctor and hospital, six month’s vacation, free movies, a PhD, and a personal police force to beat up anyone we don’t like. So what’s Cap’s problem here?
See, Cap comes from the Generation of Common Sense. It’s a dying generation, fairly well discredited, but its members tend to quick and decisive action based on the now discredited sense of right and wrong and good and evil. You’re sitting around Avenger’s HQ when you hear about this guy Crossbones
who’s going to steal a zombie apocalypse virus and release the Saviours so, suit up, let’s go…at least, that’s what members of the CS generation would say. There’s just no time to send an application up through the Screening Committee of the UN’s Branch of Weird Threats for staffing and discussion. Crossbones is going in six hours. UN approval is going to take six months. And, even then, there’s a greater than 50% chance that the UN’d say, “Disapproved. Resubmit in 90 days for final disapproval.”
So, go. Stop Crossbones.
And get blamed for it.
The UN is all mad because there’s a bit of collateral damage when the Avenger’s respond to the Chitari and Loki and Ultron and all the other apocalyptic-sized world conquerors’ attempts to conquer the world. Same way the police get blamed nowadays when they arrest drug dealers. So, monitor the police and the Avengers and criticize them for trying to stop genocide. If the Avengers would just stop showing up, if the police would just stop responding, then all crime would end and Thanos would say, “Oh, sorry to bother you, carry on.”
Have we lost our collective friggin’ minds?
Yeah, we have.
Because the world is now devoid of even a sliver of Common Sense; it is now mediocre, envious, and small-minded. Nothing is anyone’s fault. You are now what you look like, not what you believe. And someone has to approve.
Which is the single biggest change to American life in my memory. It used to be that we could do anything we wanted as long as there was no law against it. Now, we can’t do anything unless somebody says we can. Permits for lemonade stands, people. Permits. For lemonade stands.
So a distressingly large percentage of people hear the Cap and Tony argument and go, gee, Cap, you’re being like a bitter clinger or something. I mean, gosh. People could get hurt. Yeah, Crossbones will get the vial of terror virus but at least the Wakandans would be okay. Just let the UN do their job…
Suit up, Cap, I’m coming with you.