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Occupy Gotham City

By Matthew Yglesias  

"Occupy Gotham City"

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Via Scott Thill, Anjin Anhut imagines Bruce Wayne joining the 99 Percent Movement.

This speaks, I think, to one of the central dilemmas of modern portrayals of Batman. Faced with a city plagued by misgovernment and lawbreaking, why would you think that training yourself in martial arts and getting a cool utility belt so as to better beat up criminals is a good way of solving problems? Bruce Wayne, by all appearances, is a drastically more powerful person than Batman even leaving aside the extent to which Batman depends on Wayne’s financial resources. The real world urban hero is someone like Michael Bloomberg, who’s put his financial resources behind a political and governance agenda that I believe has overwhelmingly benefited my hometown of New York City.

What Batman is saying here, unmasked, is that there are limits to where the Bloomberg model of elite-driven “with great wealth comes great responsibility to implement progresssive transportation policy” governance. At some point if Wayne takes the social justice agenda seriously he doesn’t just want to give money away or spend it on political campaigns, he wants to be forced to cough it up. It’s a concept not just of contingent human betterment, but of constructing some kind of better society. A just society in which public needs are met, as a matter of public policy rather than volunteerism, by those with the means to meet them.

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