Social Ethics- How to make the best of it

Over the last few posts, we’ve discussed how to act in a socially heroic manner in regards not just to addressing the effects of social ills, such as crime, but also their causes.  The answer lies in being a superhero both politically and on the street.  Sometimes that means being a politician, and sometimes that means being a superhero.

Shown: Political Superhero

This naturally leads to the question: how do we make the greatest effect, where we are, given the resources we have?  This may be the greatest arguement for superheroes, or possibly the best arguement against them.  For example, let’s look at the ethics of being batman.

We strive for only the most sophisticated humor...but this was too easy

Cracked recently did a video on why Batman may be a bad thing for Gotham, and the argument goes something like this:

Pros- He has saved the city from destruction on multiple occasions

Cons- He embezzles from his company, he violates privacy regularly, he has had little effect on the overall crime rate, and abuses his wealth to exercise power over his fellow citizens.

And sometimes the Batmobile breaks

But one argument stood out: Batman/Bruce Wayne has a ridiculous amount of wealth.  Wayne Enterprises is a leader in so many fields that they could probably employ half of Gotham and use the leftover money to fix world hunger, provide immunizations, and make sure no one ever goes without fresh water for the next thousand years (seriously, a well costs $1,750-$6,000, depending on where you drill.  And it saves many, many more lives than Batman ever has).

That means our most effective hero in some situations looks less like this:

And more like this:

Editor’s note: did you even try to find a good picture?
That’s Bill Gates, whose foundation has provided money for vaccinations, to fight malaria, and to create dirt powered batteries (I’m serious).
But wait a minute, Batman has saved all of Gotham on numerous occasions as Batman.  So doesn’t that mean that for all the money embezzled, all the times he stole our privacy…that he’s making the right choice?  Like it or not, some times call for a Bill Gates, and others call for a Batman.
Herein lies the great difficulty of the superhero lifestyle: you need to realize that you must always be choosing what task is the best for you to take up at the present moment.  And there is no shame in moving back and forth from vigilante to philanthropist.  Dante Aligheri, Italy’s greatest poet, writes in Paradiso that it is acceptable to abandon vows- as long as the thing gained by forsaking the vow is greater than the thing given up.
So for example, Oliver Queen aka the Green Arrow became mayor of Star City in addition to being its superhero.  He did this to tear down a wall, erected by the previous administration, which cut off the poorest of Star City from the rest of the town.  As mayor, he did something he couldn’t do as a superhero, yet he did the heroic thing.
So here’s the thing: when the world needs a vigilante, only a vigilante will do.  But if the world doesn’t need a vigilante, there are better ways to use your time.  So when should one be a vigilante/superhero?  We’ll cover that next time on:
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