Vigilante Scenario #3- The State Has Enacted Evil Laws

Welcome back, fellow heroes!

As opposed to the previous categories, this category is less a hero acting in support of some aspect the state fails to cover and acts in opposition to the state itself.  There is an ethical case to be made for opposing the state itself, but it must be done in such a way that retains the heroes ethical superiority without falling into mere extreme partisanship.  To put it bluntly, it doesn’t make sense for members of the Tea Party to become vigilantes.

Not what I meant at all.....

In Alan Moore’s noteworthy comic V for Vendetta, Moore places his readers in a totalitarian England; a merciless dictatorship in which the secret police exercise brute power and the government controls all media as well as the means of production. Continue reading


Vigilante Scenario #2- The State has failed to enact certain good laws.

Greetings fellow super-chums!


I apologize for the long delay between posts.  There have been a number of situations recently in which it has been more heroic to do other things than write this blog.

Like meeting Stan Lee. Sorry, I couldn't resist.....

Now that those challenges have subsided, I hope to commit to writing a little more often.  But as superheroes, we all know that if trouble arises, we have to drop whatever we’re doing and respond to the call.  I know you guys understand.

Of course, sometimes you can't procrastinate too long


Anyways, we were discussing situations in which it’s ethically acceptable to be a vigilante.  Last post, we discussed situations in which the state has good laws, but fails to Continue reading

Vigilante Scenario #1- The State has enacted good laws, but is failing to enforce them.

Now that we have a definition of vigilantism, it seems apparent that an individual or group’s actions as a vigilante must take into account the context in which the individual acts.  Any look at the efficacy of a vigilante’s actions must first consider who should defend the values being violated as well as the quality with which they accomplish that task.  First, society has appointed a group of men and women for the purpose of creating just and fair laws as well as a trained and controlled force for the purpose of enforcing those laws, the government and the police.

Both have their sillier moments....

It is not the vocation of the individual citizen to create laws or enforce them.  Whenever possible, enforcement of values and laws should be left to those who society appoints to enforce them.  For example, if I learn two criminals are on their way to beat up my neighbor, the proper course of action is not to wait on my neighbor’s doorstep with a shotgun.  Instead, I should contact the police in order that they might stop the attack.

See? All better!


Continue reading

When Should You be a Vigilante?

No discussion of heroes would be complete without a discussion of the phenomenon of vigilantism.  Even though heroes are found among fire departments, police, and the armed forces, many of our superheroes serve independent of all three.  While this trend is by no means universal, of the top 20 selling comic titles of April 2010, only one, The Walking Dead, does not directly feature a vigilante or group of vigilantes.[1]  Moreover, of the top 20 selling comics of all time, only #19, Scrooge McDuck, does not feature a vigilante, but rather features the only slightly less plausible talking millionaire duck.

Never thought you'd see him here, did ya?

(Side Note: Scrooge McDuck is more of a vigilante than I give him credit for.  After all, he was featured in a plot exactly like the movie Inception)

The concept of a superhero taking on evil without the help of the police is simply too embedded in the modern imagination to completely separate the roles of vigilante and superhero.


Moreover, real life examples of vigilantes such as Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Social Ethics- How to Act in a Socially Heroic Manner

Greetings, heroes!

Now that we’ve covered one example of fighting crime without fighting, I want to point to a hero who has cleared the way for socially conscious heroes past and present.  Back in the early 40s, DC comics came up with an idea for a hero who was a billionaire by day, had a teenaged sidekick, was summoned by a signal in the sky, and had a specialized car and airplane. The character even had an arch-villain who had a clown theme.  His name was Green Arrow.

Not who you were expecting?


Of course, it took DC editors about 30 seconds to remember they had a hero exactly like that.

minus the rockin' Van Dyke, of course

Realizing that they had two characters who were exactly the same, DC made a bold move in the late 1960s to separate the two characters.  They decided to make the Green Arrow socially conscious and a defender of the rights of the poor and the oppressed as well as a street-level fighter of evil. Continue reading

Social Ethics- How to Stop Violence…without Throwing a Punch

In the course of your heroic adventures, you may be forced to use violence.  That’s ok, after all, there are times and situations when violence is not only ethical, but necessary.

"A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone...unintentionally."- Oscar Wilde


We’ve written before about the necessity of violence in certain situations, but this doesn’t mean violence is a panacea, or a cure for all that ails society.  And there are situations where violence is certainly acceptable.   But to be a true hero, you will not only respond bravely to situations that call for violence, you will respond heroically to prevent violence when possible.

Believe it or not, this guy is a Mennonite


There are two ways you can stop violence without throwing a punch, and both of them are so effective they are changing the way the police in the United States opperate. Continue reading

Social Ethics-or how to punch poverty in the face!

As heroes, we are called to battle evil in all forms.  When we do this on an individual level, its pretty easy.  After all, when there’s a guy in black with superpowers holding up a bank, its easy enough to know that he needs to be stopped.

Not what you were expecting, eh?

But some problems go beyond individual actions.  For example, what if there was a law banning one race or gender from voting?  Or if only a few people were allowed to vote?  Or if hospitals were paid based on the number of visits, not the number of patents, so that patents were dismissed without proper care?  Or if they valued a gender only for its looks?

It's shocking how easy it is to find these

Since you, as a superhero, must fight evil in all its forms, it means you need to take on problems at both the individual level and at the societal level.  Continue reading

You Pick the Subject!

Greetings, heroes!

Hopefully by now there are plenty of topics to pique your interest and motivate you to ever more heroic deeds.  And believe me, we have plenty more where that came from.  Our top heroes are working around the clock to come up with the best superhero’s guide this world has ever seen!

We couldn't make him leave even if we wanted to....


We have plenty of great superhero posts coming up for your edification and entertainment, including:

-Why Batman could never kill the Joker

-Heroic definitions of justice

-Social ethics, or how to punch poverty in the face

-Superhero Religious ethics, or Holy Flying Capes!

-Heroic Prank Phone Calls:

Hello Commissioner Gordon. Is your toilet running?


And more!

However, we want your input, too.  After all, plenty of you heroes out there face challenges everyday.  We want to know what you’re dealing with and share our years of wisdom and heroic escapades.  What superhero subjects to you want to read about?  How can we help you be more heroic in your everyday lives?  Write in, true believers, and we’ll do our best to answer your questions!

Joining a Team- Putting your Connections to Heroic Use

Greetings Superheroes!

As we discussed in the last post, just being a part of a team increases your social capital, thus making you more likely to give to charity, trust another person, and act in an altruistic manner.  Thus, even a somewhat lame superhero can contribute as a member of the right team, even if they don’t do much.

Anyone need to talk to a fish? Anyone?

 But if just being a part of a team is heroic, just imagine how effective your actions can be!  Through our example of Wolverine, Continue reading