The Politics of Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy

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So, as the end of the month approaches, as with every month, I started perusing the NYTimes/IHTribune site to use up my 10 article a limit month when I cam across this little blog entry (reproduced in the spoiler).


So, while many of us have dismissed the bat-shit-crazy US-election conspiracy of the movies villain, the deeper themes of the movies themes are worth exploring.

So, from the political perspective, what do you make of the themes in Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy?

I think they are Batman stories and go along with the comics but more dark themed. I dont see any political theme in them really and implying there is one can be considered foolish. hell with a good enough imagination you can make every movie seem political.

The Gentleman:
A vision of human history understood as a struggle between superior individual wills, a tale of symbolic heroism and sacrifice set against the hopeless corruption of society.

James Gordon Jr.: Why's he running, Dad?
Lt. James Gordon: Because we have to chase him.
James Gordon Jr.: He didn't do anything wrong.
Lt. James Gordon: Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we'll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he's not our hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.

The Gentleman:
So, from the political perspective, what do you make of the themes in Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy?

I'd go with the fascist thing. Not 'real fascism', but the described 'positive individualistic fascism'. I don't know how to call it but it sounds really appropriate for at least 'The Dark Knight', don't remember too much from Batman Begins and haven't see Rises yet. That's not a negative thing, I like that 'ideology' and it's kind of an extreme version of how I see the world.

JET1971:
I think they are Batman stories and go along with the comics but more dark themed. I dont see any political theme in them really and implying there is one can be considered foolish. hell with a good enough imagination you can make every movie seem political.

It seems impossible to make a good, adult movie (like the Dark Knight) without reflecting in any way the views of the creators.

It's a reinterpretation, and it can go very far from the source material.

Y'See, adoring the captains of industry as capitalistic and ingenious individuals was and still is fine and dandy with some (See "Iron Man"), but the fact Bruce Wayne was born with a silver spoon in his mouth does put off some people away from him. He didn't earn that money, in fact - he squandered it on toys for him to play as Batman, but here is where we see the adaptation - Without Batman, the dark pit which is Gotham would have no bottom. You may laugh at a rich man beating the snot out of desperate street thugs with no clear path in life besides dying in a drive by shooting, but the sad reality is that the brutish and underpaid alternative is almost always inadequent. What Batman does is instill fear in others - for it is the reason why he chose this mantle - and prevent the crime.

It's not liberal at all - he doesn't use his money to prevent people from going down into crime, but he still fights against those society gave up on. He is an aristocrat, and a feeling of vengeance from his parent's death drives him to fight injustice. But you see character development in the Batman movies (before Nolan's) - how he grows past that petty feeling of vengeance. He is a vigilante now, someone who works against the establishment for the people. But then again, the establishment embraces him! I do think it's a conservative point of view.

Bane having taken misguided youth and down on their luck individuals to rally for his cause proved that he can fool people and make them serve his vendetta for him. It's not to say that the protesters are evil or wrong, they do want real change - bun Bane offers change in a different approach. Batman doesn't offer change - he offers stability. Corruption still exists and so does gang violence but on a much smaller scale, because they all fear the Bat.

It was a nice read. Thanks for that. I would also like to add that over-analyzing fiction is sometimes futile, as you'll never really know what the author wanted to portray unless you ask him.

The Gentleman:

So, while many of us have dismissed the bat-shit-crazy US-election conspiracy of the movies villain, the deeper themes of the movies themes are worth exploring.

So, from the political perspective, what do you make of the themes in Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy?

It's good you posted that video, because it proves how politically obsessed people see politics everywhere, even where its not intended. Rush is talking out his ass when saying the movie is liberal propaganda, and any guy saying it is "right wing" is speaking from the same place. I feel sorry for people so partisan that everything they see is through a heavily tinted pair political glasses. They cant just enjoy a good movie.

I'm pretty sure I read that Nolan himself said it was apolitical, he just played on contemporary fears and crises in each film. In the Dark Knight, it's an incomprehensible terrorist. In Rises, it's the kind of proletarian/libertarian uprising that so many have been spouting off for.

Hell, Rises is so topical I'm amazed the script was written years ago.

Danny Ocean:
he just played on contemporary fears and crises in each film.

For fun:
http://www.cracked.com/article_19402_6-mind-blowing-ways-zombies-vampires-explain-america.html

http://io9.com/5082236/zombies-are-red-vampires-are-blue

http://www.dailyfinance.com/2009/10/30/zombies-versus-vampires-battle-of-the-recession-monsters/

I could do this all day with 12 million hits on the subject for a bad search. Yes there is a trend but it has nothing to do with a director playing politics even if the fears may be political.

Well, Nolans Batman controls through fear... spies on people through their electronic devices... he commits fraud to funnel money from his company to fuel his hobby... he goes to other countries to kidnap people... but all of this is okay, because he is doing it.

This is definitely not a Liberal message.

This is why I like The Punisher... he doesnt hide his face and he fully accepts that what he is doing is wrong and that he will have to pay, but the world that he operates in is corrupt and "justice" cannot reach everyone. Thats where he steps in and even though he is acting justly, he knows that the world he wants to create has no place for him. Nolans Bruce Wayne is perfectly okay with faking his death after all the crap he has pulled (causing unimaginable emotional trauma to those who knew him) and going on living the good life. Luckily for Nolans Batman, The Punisher doesnt exist in his universe or that guy would be fucking dead.

As much as I love the design, acting and cinematography of Nolan's Batman films, I fucking hate the politics of them.

The Dark Knight ends with

The entire message of The Dark Knight is basically "It's ok to lie to people as long as it's for the greater good." This is a message that literally gets me frothing at the mouth. As someone who devoutly believes that those in charge should be held accountable, for me the truth is sovereign. It doesn't matter how ugly or nasty it is, at least with the truth you know where you stand. As soon as leaders and authority figures start lying so that 'people can have their faith rewarded' you go into territory where horrible events are hushed over so that people can carry on living their everyday lives without being 'burdened' by the fact that their leaders have just fucked someone else over.

And the ending to TDK conveniently decided to avoid a whole lot of pertinent questions:

The ending is one of those things that has retrospectively soured the film for me. There is so much to like, but the message of the film is just one that rubs me up in all the wrong ways. Nolan turns Batman from being a symbol of justice, however corny and ham-fisted, into a lying, deceitful agent serving his own purposes, who will use any tactic to get his own agenda. At least writers like Frank Miller had the nous to write Batman as a morally ambiguous character. Nolan tarts him up as a cross between Dirty Harry and John Galt, then acts as if this is something to be celebrated.

No thank you Nolan. If I were a citizen of Gotham, I would hate to learn that the supposes superhero has been covering up for killers and getting them turned into paragons of virtue. That is what they call propaganda.

TheIronRuler:
Snip.

Except that the comics frequently show Bruce Wayne doing things that are important to the reformation of Gotham City. For instance, he orders the quakeproofing of all Wayne-owned buildings, at a significant cost. There's also multiple instances of him either building businesses (job creation of a conservative mindset) or donating money to public projects (typically an excuse to put "Bruce" in danger, but following a more liberal mindset).

Politicizing Batman is rather pointless. Batman throws his money at whatever he thinks will bring Gotham up: most of the time we see that's his crime-fighting escapades, but we constantly hear about how he's missing charity dinners or whatnot, so he obviously spends money on the city up as well. It's just not as relevant since the point of Batman isn't to make social commentary: it's to get Batman to fight bad guys.

scotth266:

TheIronRuler:
Snip.

Except that the comics frequently show Bruce Wayne doing things that are important to the reformation of Gotham City. For instance, he orders the quakeproofing of all Wayne-owned buildings, at a significant cost. There's also multiple instances of him either building businesses (job creation of a conservative mindset) or donating money to public projects (typically an excuse to put "Bruce" in danger, but following a more liberal mindset).

Politicizing Batman is rather pointless. Batman throws his money at whatever he thinks will bring Gotham up: most of the time we see that's his crime-fighting escapades, but we constantly hear about how he's missing charity dinners or whatnot, so he obviously spends money on the city up as well. It's just not as relevant since the point of Batman isn't to make social commentary: it's to get Batman to fight bad guys.

.
Did you just correct me with information I didn't know existed? I only addressed the movies Batman was in. I didn't read any of the comics. Batman had been used and reused by many different authors and written differently, so you can only speak about a certain kind of Batman when you describe him.

Yeah, I find it's too hard to really enjoy a movie with a tinfoil hat on my head. Even if there is some sort of effort to push a relevant political agenda, I'm willing to bet the message goes over most people's heads.

From taking a writing classes in college, the first thing they tell you for the most part is your beliefs always filter into your work. How you view things how things are done, how things should be, what are the roles of men and women, can he let the homosexual population have it's same sex marriage, and so on and so on.

Even when spoofing something (ala South Park) your beliefs trickle in, and most of the time it's unintentional.

Gonna post this cuz I think its relevant

image

Havent seen the new Batman movie, but I hear theres some socio/political tones on it

Yeah, and guess what else? Star Trek is communist flower-child claptrap, Star Wars is about supermen dominating an entire galaxy in an eternal Holy War, Indiana Jones is about a globe-trotting thief.

...and? Who actually cares?

Perry Rhodan was about a fascistoid Solar Empire with the titular hero as the biologically immortal Great Administrator at the top, basically the "benevolent dictator" of all mankind (that has changed somewhat over the years). It's still a good series, though, yes, it does make me uncomfortable every now and then, especially in the older episodes.

People like fascistoid imagery. Just think of all the great heroes, the military leaders (be they from ancient Greece or from 19th century Prussia or wherever), the powerful imagery of marching troops (if they are "the good guys" in that fictional setting at least). This kind of imagery appeals to our tribalism, our ideals of strength and unity. I'm not surprised to see hero worship in a super hero movie.

Really, you just need to be a bit careful. Question that authority figure, be it real or fictional. Investigate. Don't let yourself and your critical thinking skills be overwhelmed by the imagery, that's all. Often easier said then done, of course.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
As much as I love the design, acting and cinematography of Nolan's Batman films, I fucking hate the politics of them.

The Dark Knight ends with

The entire message of The Dark Knight is basically "It's ok to lie to people as long as it's for the greater good."

I wouldn't go that far. I found the message to be that no matter who you are, you are human, capable of the very folly that you try to fight. Dent in TDK, like Batman, had risen beyond the simple human that he was and became a symbol of what they could be, and that is why he was targeted by the Joker to show humans their darkest instincts.

The lie is a means to insure survival. Look at the near-decade that followed: a peace, even if built on a lie, is still peace. Imagine those same eight years if the message given to the people was that nothing can change and that the City would never rid itself of the corruption and violence that dominated it for so many years.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
This is a message that literally gets me frothing at the mouth. As someone who devoutly believes that those in charge should be held accountable, for me the truth is sovereign. It doesn't matter how ugly or nasty it is, at least with the truth you know where you stand. As soon as leaders and authority figures start lying so that 'people can have their faith rewarded' you go into territory where horrible events are hushed over so that people can carry on living their everyday lives without being 'burdened' by the fact that their leaders have just fucked someone else over.

And the ending to TDK conveniently decided to avoid a whole lot of pertinent questions:

I'll deal with your questions in the spoiler:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
The ending is one of those things that has retrospectively soured the film for me. There is so much to like, but the message of the film is just one that rubs me up in all the wrong ways. Nolan turns Batman from being a symbol of justice, however corny and ham-fisted, into a lying, deceitful agent serving his own purposes, who will use any tactic to get his own agenda. At least writers like Frank Miller had the nous to write Batman as a morally ambiguous character. Nolan tarts him up as a cross between Dirty Harry and John Galt, then acts as if this is something to be celebrated.

No thank you Nolan. If I were a citizen of Gotham, I would hate to learn that the supposes superhero has been covering up for killers and getting them turned into paragons of virtue. That is what they call propaganda.

Moral ambiguity is the name of the game in this case. It's clear even at the end of the Dark Knight that no one wanted that ending. Batman wanted Dent to be the hero to save Gotham, as did Gordon. But the Joker won, and now you have to choose between two evils: The truth where everything goes back to the way it was, endemic corruption and violence, and the Joker having the last laugh or do you state a lie that will keep it all from falling apart?

Sometimes, all you can do is lie and tell them everything is going to be alright, because the despair of the truth can be worse than the lie.

TheIronRuler:

scotth266:

TheIronRuler:
Snip.

Except that the comics frequently show Bruce Wayne doing things that are important to the reformation of Gotham City. For instance, he orders the quakeproofing of all Wayne-owned buildings, at a significant cost. There's also multiple instances of him either building businesses (job creation of a conservative mindset) or donating money to public projects (typically an excuse to put "Bruce" in danger, but following a more liberal mindset).

Politicizing Batman is rather pointless. Batman throws his money at whatever he thinks will bring Gotham up: most of the time we see that's his crime-fighting escapades, but we constantly hear about how he's missing charity dinners or whatnot, so he obviously spends money on the city up as well. It's just not as relevant since the point of Batman isn't to make social commentary: it's to get Batman to fight bad guys.

.
Did you just correct me with information I didn't know existed? I only addressed the movies Batman was in. I didn't read any of the comics. Batman had been used and reused by many different authors and written differently, so you can only speak about a certain kind of Batman when you describe him.

Okay, just going off the movies, Bruce refuses to sign a deal with a company because they have gained money through illegal means, he funds children shelters and

All of that is from the movies and Nolan. The existance of those shelters is proof he's trying to stop people from going down the wrong paths.

The Gentleman:
I wouldn't go that far. I found the message to be that no matter who you are, you are human, capable of the very folly that you try to fight. Dent in TDK, like Batman, had risen beyond the simple human that he was and became a symbol of what they could be, and that is why he was targeted by the Joker to show humans their darkest instincts.

The lie is a means to insure survival. Look at the near-decade that followed: a peace, even if built on a lie, is still peace. Imagine those same eight years if the message given to the people was that nothing can change and that the City would never rid itself of the corruption and violence that dominated it for so many years.

See, here's the thing about writing fiction: you don't have to follow the rules of reality. Meaning you can write the most socially fucked up scenarios and, thanks to the theory of narrative causality, you can make it appear like the whole thing works.

Regarding Dent, and all hyperbole aside, he was just a DA. Yes, a very important DA, and one who tried to do the best for Gotham, but at the end of the day still just a DA. There is nothing so special about being a District Attorney that it can negate five counts of murder. Likewise, there is nothing so important about a single District Attorney that his reputation can dictate the rise or fall of an entire city. That is putting someone on a pedestal and subjecting them to hero worship that they do not merit or deserve.

The fact that Nolan wrote TDKR as being a period of 8 years of peace is irrelevant. He's the one with the biased agenda, so of course he's going to write that Batman and Gordon's conspiracy was for the greater good, and led to Gotham becoming a nicer place. My point is that this is not how things work. A city where the authorities have their murderous sprees covered up is a city where there is more corruption, not less.

[spoiler]

Now, sure, you could argue that the death of his girlfriend turned him loopy. But how do we know for sure? How do we know that there weren't already significant psychological problems before he even met the Joker, back when he was still a DA and putting away criminals.

His behavior as a DA was also emblematic of a different theme: the importance of belief. He believed in justice and that good always triumphs over evil. He was shocked back to reality with her death, but that doesn't necessarily make him crazy. It gives him a different understanding of the universe. There is no justice. There is no good. There is only the cruel reality of chance, symbolized by the coin.

Yes, but how do Harvey and Gordon know that? What gives them the omniscience to decide that Harvey's life before becoming Two-Face was a model of truth and honesty? How do they know that he wasn't corrupt already, just like seemingly every other official in Gotham? How do they know he didn't already have ties to certain criminal interests? This is the sort of thing a criminal investigation into the murders would uncover, and this is what they buried in their attempts to cover up his crimes. [/spoiler]

Even if it's the truth, do you really believe humanity is better knowing it, or would you rather keep the blind up and try to save them from that despair?

Fuck yes! Absolutely! The truth is not some political ideology, or some religious belief, or any other mindset that is liable to change. The truth is all we've fucking got. If we don't have the truth, then we don't have anything, as the truth is all there is. It doesn't matter that sometimes it's harsh. Life's fucking harsh. We should not allow our leaders to lie to us simply because we don't want to be challenged by the truth.

In Rwanda, 800,000 people were murdered over the course of 100 days. It's one of the grimmest, most sobering and disquieting incidents of the latter half of the 20th century. Nearly 1 million people killed in less than a year, over ethnic differences. That's a grim fucking truth. Would it have been better if our leaders had decided for us that we don't need to hear about the Rwandan genocide, as it's far too grim and depressing to bear thinking about? Fuck no.

In the UK, we've just bust open the can of worms that seemingly our entire media network, but particularly the parts run by the Murdoch empire, are corrupt and guilty of criminal offences. Several high ranking NewsCorp individuals have already been charged for criminal offences. Would it have been better if the authorities decided "Hey, those British people deserve to be able to read their newspapers without wondering if the proprietors destroyed evidence in the case of a murdered schoolgirl"?

Without the truth, we've got nothing. Every great advance in human history has come from pursuing the truth, whether it be democracy's admission that people deserve to choose their own leaders, or science's revelations that we are but a small planet in a large universe. The minute that Batman and Gordon decided that Gotham didn't need to know about Harvey Dent being a murderer, they placed themselves in a position of moral certainty, without any justification, and made choices on behalf of Gotham that should not have been made. There is no accountability with Batman and Gordon's plan. They covered up a crime, and no-one can hold them responsible for it.

He may well, as in the animated series, been going nuts long before he ever got his face burnt off. And here's the thing: if he had been brought to justice, an investigation would have been conducted to see if that was just the case. But as it is, Batman and Gordon are just assuming that Harvey was actually a swell guy before he started killing people, and his performance as DA was never negatively affected by the fact that he may well have been a but nuts.

Again, you make the clear mistake of assuming that killing a person requires a minor crazy, but all but a few of killers in the series are ever irrational killers. Falcone killed to preserve his business. Crane killed to preserve the League's plot. Raj and the League killed out of a sense of duty to fight criminals and the sources of criminality. In fact, in the entire series only the Joker killed impulsively, and even then there was almost always a rational reason behind it ("It's not about the money, it's about sending a message").

But once again, how do Gordon and Batman know this? They are making assumptions about a guy who they knew for only a brief period of time. Assumptions that a criminal investigation could find to be falsely grounded.

And this is the essential question: would you destroy all the good that came from a person just out of an adherence to ideology? That is the point of the latter two movies. Rigid loyalty to ideology, even when it is truth and justice, can destroy the very thing you hoped to save. If Dent, the White Knight of Gotham can be brought down, anyone can. There is no hope in that world, no reason to try again. "The Joker took our best and tore him down." Batman's a vigilante. The police force is hopelessly corrupt. The Joker won and the mobs continue to rule.

The truth is not an ideology. The truth is simply the telling of events as they happen, not as they should, could or would have happened.

And sorry, but those comments about Dent serve only to show the hyperbole surrounding his entire situation. He's one fucking DA. The spirits of Gotham's people do not rise and crash based on the status of one man. No man is that important, especially not an overglorified lawyer.

Moral ambiguity is the name of the game in this case. It's clear even at the end of the Dark Knight that no one wanted that ending. Batman wanted Dent to be the hero to save Gotham, as did Gordon. But the Joker won, and now you have to choose between two evils: The truth where everything goes back to the way it was, endemic corruption and violence, and the Joker having the last laugh or do you state a lie that will keep it all from falling apart?

Let me ask you a question: Suppose that it came out that in the last year of George Bush's first term, it turned out that he'd murdered five people and that the CIA had covered it up. America was caught in two wars in the Middle East, and the CIA decided that it was more important that America stay united behind a single leader during a time of crisis, rather than letting the truth of the situation be known? Would you support that? Because the presidency is a damn sight more important than any DA position, and the revelation that a President engaged in serial murder would possibly enough to throw the country into anarchy.

Do we let murderers off simply based on how important they are as people? Because the minute we do that, we abandon the notion of justice as a force that applies to everyone, and instead embrace the notion that it only applies selectively to those we want it to.

Sometimes, all you can do is lie and tell them everything is going to be alright, because the despair of the truth can be worse than the lie.

"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."

John 8:32

I'm not normally one to quote Bible passages, but in this case it's apt. The truth is not a political ideology. It is not a religious mantra. It never changes to suit the times, it never switches allegiances, it never becomes a lie. With the truth, you always know where you stand. You may not like it, it may bring you to the point of despair, but at least with the truth you have something from which you can rebuild yourself. A lie is liable to change at any second, and is therefore a terrible thing on which to broker a city's peace.

Think about it. Batman and Gordon's entire peace could have been undone at any point by a plucky police officer who decided to investigate the murders in his off-time, or by a lucky security CCTV camera that happened to catch one of the shootings on tape, or by an investigative journalist looking deeper into the issues than what was given to the media. A lie is like shifting sand, and is a terrible thing on which to base justice.

It actually seem fairly moderate in terms of politics.

Aside from condemning both rampant inequality and revolution, it on one hand features a vigilante who runs around beating up criminals as its hero, but at the same time quite clearly criticises how convicts are viewed (ferry scene in nr. 2), and what locking them up forever can do to them (Dent act coupled with them subsequently joining Bane in nr. 3).

With a big stiffy for societal order and noble lies, it's ultimately socially conservative, but with some moderate messages attached, and the convicts-aren't-monsters-unless-made-so-by-society thing that is outright liberal.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
The truth is not an ideology.

But what you propose, truth at any cost, is. The lies of life are what allow of humans to live.

Life will get better.

Your vote counts.

Success is determined by your own actions.

We'll pull through this.

It isn't as bad as it looks.

Robert Oppenheimer and his colleges sought the truth of the universe in the nature of the atom, and, in turn, discovered humanity's potential to not just kill millions of lives in a single instant, but destroy all life on this planet. Do you truly think that every person in the world would be better with the kind of epiphany that he had?

Sometimes you have to lie. To strangers. To your friends. To yourself. We lie because the alternative is despair and surrender to fate. That is the lie that becomes the end of that movie: You have the choice between the truth that the Joker won and humans are beyond redemption, only a small push from the madness he embodied, or the lie that humans are good and can endure even the harshest times and still come out good in the end. If you believe that the rest of humanity chosen the truth, then you're only lying to yourself.

Capcha: face the music...

The Gentleman:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
The truth is not an ideology.

But what you propose, truth at any cost, is. The lies of life are what allow of humans to live.

No, the lies of life are what allow us to carry on ignoring the very real problems that face us.

The third world will not get better until we face the truth that our western society is built on the resources and work of those in less fortunate countries, and that we cannot allow multi-national companies to screw over those people just so we can have cheap smartphones and coffee.

Climate change will not get better until we face the truth that we are responsible for causing the ice-caps to melt, and that we need to find energy sources that don't throw up millions of tons of gases into the atmosphere every year.

Those who live life based on lies are in for a rude awakening. Because as I said, the truth is constant, whereas lies change all the time, and being constant it will inevitably catch up with you.

Life will get better.

Life is what you make of it. If you don't strive to make it better, you can't expect anyone else to make it better for you.

Your vote counts.

In most democratic countries it does, even if on a tiny scale. It counts to you even if it doesn't affect any great change. Because no matter what happens, at least you can say to yourself that you made your choice, and whatever happens now your conscience is clear because you exercised your right to vote.

Here in the UK, we unfortunately do not have a voting system where everyone's vote is counted. Fortunately many of us are aware of this, and rather than simply rolling over and being content, we are actively calling for proportional representation to be coming the polling standard, as opposed to FPTP, in order to allow everyone's vote to be counted.

Because wherever the truth is covered up by lies, you will find people campaigning to get it heard.

Success is determined by your own actions.

I know enough about high level business to know that this is a lie. I also know enough that is not a necessary lie. Where success is bred not by actions but by vested interests, then it is up to people to campaign to change the status quo and to make it so.

Your post has done nothing to prove me wrong. All you have done is provided a set of convenient mistruths that people use to justify all sorts of wrongs, then claimed that those lies are necessary. They are not. Where authorities, companies and multinational interests are lying to us, we should not accept those lies as being for the benefit of society. We should campaign against them, and hold them to the standards which we believe are necessary in a modern, civilised society.

Robert Oppenheimer and his colleges sought the truth of the universe in the nature of the atom, and, in turn, discovered humanity's potential to not just kill millions of lives in a single instant, but destroy all life on this planet. Do you truly think that every person in the world would be better with the kind of epiphany that he had?

Yay, appeals to emotion.

It's worth noting that for all nuclear weapons have been painted as the greatest catastrophe in human history, they have only ever been used once in an act of warfare.

More importantly, the research that Oppenheimer and his colleagues did also led to the advent of nuclear power, and the possibility of one day harnessing nuclear fusion.

You can demonise nuclear research all you like, but I dream of the day when humanity as a whole is able to benefit from clean, renewable energy that doesn't contaminate the world with carbon emissions, and which allows us to lead progressive lives without melting the ice-caps in the process. Nuclear power is already the most effective way of combating climate change. Nuclear fusion would be even more effective. Both of those things would not be possible without Oppenheimer.

Your claim has all the moral truth of saying that by discovering gravity, Isaac Newton is responsible for every dropped bomb in the history of modern warfare.

Sometimes you have to lie. To strangers. To your friends. To yourself. We lie because the alternative is despair and surrender to fate. That is the lie that becomes the end of that movie: You have the choice between the truth that the Joker won and humans are beyond redemption, only a small push from the madness he embodied, or the lie that humans are good and can endure even the harshest times and still come out good in the end. If you believe that the rest of humanity chosen the truth, then you're only lying to yourself.

Yay, more appeals to emotion.

You're using far too much hyperbole. The Joker did not prove that all humans are beyond redemption. He simply took one man and put him through so much torture that no-one would be surprised that he ended up snapping. Painting this as some Miltonesque fall of divine proportions is the very picture of melodramatic exaggeration. If you take someone and torture them to the point of madness, then of course they are going to snap. This is not some arcane knowledge. This is something we have known for thousands of years.

If Gotham was made aware that the Joker killed Dent's girlfriend, caused half his face to be burned off, then blew up the hospital where he was staying and rubbed it in his face, then there is no reason that they couldn't sympathise with Dent's plight. People are actually very good at sympathising with those who have been through absolute hell. More importantly, however, they would be able to sympathise while still holding Dent accountable for the wrongs he committed. As it is, the entire city of Gotham is being lied to, and Dent has not been held accountable for his crimes, and is being held up as something he is not.

Superhero fiction in general is conservative, because it promotes the status quo and "family values." Criminals are not people who felt into bad times through circumstances or some bad decisions, they are villains who are there to be punched. Ditto with the mentally ill; they aren't sick people in need of help, they are monsters.

That being said, I did see politics in both the Dark Knight and Rises, but not in the black and white way that other people in the thread have mentioned. TDK was about what happens to a society when it is under attack by a terrorist. The society is put under strain and Batman has to compromise his principles, even if its only once, to keep everyone safe and stop the violence. Is that an endorsement of stuff like wiretapping and waterboarding? I don't think so: I think it's a very realistic look at the world that we live in. Real people have to make real decisions on these very kinds of issues and lives are at stake. The movie did a great job reflecting that problem.

As for the Dark Knight Rises, politics were more in your face and at the same time were less black and white. Occupy Wall Street is often compared to Bane's forces, but I think this time it could have been a commentary on the radical Left. Their leaders often talk about things like "freedom and justice for all" but a lot of the time they are really part of the League of Shadows. Or something. I haven't quite finished ruminating on the matter.

In a very general sense, I would suggest that action films intrinsically tend to right-wing values, and superhero action movies probably more than average action movies.

If you look at left-wing values in a very simplistic, common view - collectivism and egalitarianism - then the concept of a maverick hero who can overcome where communities or their institutions cannot (and often corrupt and/or ineffectual) is pretty anathematic. Although it goes further than that.

Agema:
In a very general sense, I would suggest that action films intrinsically tend to right-wing values, and superhero action movies probably more than average action movies.

If you look at left-wing values in a very simplistic, common view - collectivism and egalitarianism - then the concept of a maverick hero who can overcome where communities or their institutions cannot (and often corrupt and/or ineffectual) is pretty anathematic. Although it goes further than that.

I'd also add that superheroes usually tend to operate outside the law, or at odds with the local law enforcement, and generally try to sex up vigilantism.

If you believe that justice should be meted out by a (mostly) transparent organisation which follows the law it enacts, and can be held accountable for any wrongs it commits, then the idea of some vigilante masking up and dishing out violence in the name of 'justice' can come off as somewhat quasi-fascist. Superheros only seem to be fans of the law only when it suits them. Stealing a TV to buy food is bad, but anonymously beating people up on the street is fine.

There's also the fact that in comics, the police and other law enforcement agencies tend to be portrayed as highly slow/ineffective/corrupt, whereas the heroes tend to be idealistic, driven individuals with incredibly physical attributes, lantern jaws and strong convictions. Because as we all know, state-funded law enforcement is the devil, whereas private law enforcement is the bees knees.

The Gentleman:
...
Sometimes you have to lie. To strangers. To your friends. To yourself. We lie because the alternative is despair and surrender to fate. That is the lie that becomes the end of that movie: You have the choice between the truth that the Joker won and humans are beyond redemption, only a small push from the madness he embodied, or the lie that humans are good and can endure even the harshest times and still come out good in the end. If you believe that the rest of humanity chosen the truth, then you're only lying to yourself.

Capcha: face the music...

If humanity is that pathetic, then it'll need to shape up.

The information age is upon us, far fewer grand lies can remain buried forever, and no lie stand unchallenged. And when exposed - as indeed happened here in the third film - the string of lies will undermine the credibility of the authority telling them. In the end, nothing positive they say will ever be trusted, for good reason. Only reality offers stability and gains that can't be undone - with interest - with a few words.

...or worse yet, the population will eat it up, and the system can tell them whatever it wants. Including that it's all the fault of the Jews/Tutsi/etc., and that exterminating them is the answer. Grand lies either undermine authorities, or serve them rather the population. Only access to the truth allows for democratic control and seeking actual answer to deal with the problems reality pose. The lie have no place in politics or civic society at large, though people can of course cling to whatever delusions they want in their personal life, so long as they affect only themselves.

And there are indeed times, rare as they might be, where the rational thing to do would be to terminate ones existence, to be spared a future where suffering is the only option. Why would it be a bad thing to let people realize this, and give them the choice to terminate their existence to be spared this pain if they want?

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

The Gentleman:
I wouldn't go that far. I found the message to be that no matter who you are, you are human, capable of the very folly that you try to fight. Dent in TDK, like Batman, had risen beyond the simple human that he was and became a symbol of what they could be, and that is why he was targeted by the Joker to show humans their darkest instincts.

The lie is a means to insure survival. Look at the near-decade that followed: a peace, even if built on a lie, is still peace. Imagine those same eight years if the message given to the people was that nothing can change and that the City would never rid itself of the corruption and violence that dominated it for so many years.

See, here's the thing about writing fiction: you don't have to follow the rules of reality. Meaning you can write the most socially fucked up scenarios and, thanks to the theory of narrative causality, you can make it appear like the whole thing works.

Regarding Dent, and all hyperbole aside, he was just a DA. Yes, a very important DA, and one who tried to do the best for Gotham, but at the end of the day still just a DA. There is nothing so special about being a District Attorney that it can negate five counts of murder. Likewise, there is nothing so important about a single District Attorney that his reputation can dictate the rise or fall of an entire city. That is putting someone on a pedestal and subjecting them to hero worship that they do not merit or deserve.

That would be true in every city of the world except Gotham. Before Dent started putting the mob away, the mob had enough power so that Falcone could murder the richest man in the city in a room with a judge and two cops and he wouldn't even be charged with it. This is a city that for decades the mob has managed to corrupt every level of government and law enforcenment. Anyone who oppossed them found themselves at the bottom of the river, trying to stand up to the mob was suicide.

Dent wasn't just the DA, he was the first man to legitimately and legally challenge the mob and both survive and actually win. Before Dent the mob was, for all intents and purposes, completely untouchable. No cop, no prosecutor, and no civillian would dare to cross them. People just accepted that things were never going to get better and to just be happy with what they had. Batman may have given them a small bit of hope, but it was Dent who openned the floodgates and proved that things could get better and that people were starting to believe that Gotham could become more than the corrupt hellhole it had been since the Wayne's deaths.

The fact that Nolan wrote TDKR as being a period of 8 years of peace is irrelevant. He's the one with the biased agenda, so of course he's going to write that Batman and Gordon's conspiracy was for the greater good, and led to Gotham becoming a nicer place. My point is that this is not how things work. A city where the authorities have their murderous sprees covered up is a city where there is more corruption, not less.

One, only one man had his spree covered up. Two, only two people were involved in the cover-up, and one of those people took all the blame for it. Three, there is less corruption because the mob in Gotham has been destroyed. That was the whole point of Dent's gambit, he can take the low and middle-level mobsters off the streets for over a year. The mob doesn't have any income anymore, they can't afford to replace the people they've lost, the police have the half of their collected funds that the Joker didn't burn, and three of the big bosses are dead (two to Joker, one to Dent). So the mob can't buy off cops to look the other way while they kidnap DAs, or smuggle in weapons to kill DAs, or convincing people to turn a blind eye while they threaten to kill Billionare Playboys. Four, exposing Dent's crimes destroys all of the hope that the people of Gotham had that the city can be a better place, that was Joker's entire plan. If the best that Gotham has can fall so far, what hope is there that things can get better? Every criminal Dent ever locked up in his career is back on the streets, the mob will easily reclaim what it's lost, and things will slide back into that hell-hole it was before Batman returned to it.

Batman knows because he's done his homework on Dent, and wouldn't have thrown that fundraiser if he didn't honestly believe that Harvey was on the level. Gordon knows because he's seen Dent's work at Internal Affairs, where Dent spent his entire career there looking into corrupt cops. And if he did have any sort of criminal ties the mob would have exposed it the second he started going after Falcone.

Even if it's the truth, do you really believe humanity is better knowing it, or would you rather keep the blind up and try to save them from that despair?

Fuck yes! Absolutely! The truth is not some political ideology, or some religious belief, or any other mindset that is liable to change. The truth is all we've fucking got. If we don't have the truth, then we don't have anything, as the truth is all there is. It doesn't matter that sometimes it's harsh. Life's fucking harsh. We should not allow our leaders to lie to us simply because we don't want to be challenged by the truth.

That is a very naive worldview. Let me show you why it is so;

In the Vietnam war there was an incident in which American fighter planes were attacked by Soviet fighter planes. This information was kept secret from the US public out of fears that it would escalate into World War III.

Now according to you they should have released the truth, consequences-be-damned. No compromise, not even in the face of armageddon.

Just because it's the truth doesn't absolve you of the consequences of telling it. If you know that telling the truth to someone standing on a ledge will make them jump, you're just as responsible as they are for their death.

In Rwanda, 800,000 people were murdered over the course of 100 days. It's one of the grimmest, most sobering and disquieting incidents of the latter half of the 20th century. Nearly 1 million people killed in less than a year, over ethnic differences. That's a grim fucking truth. Would it have been better if our leaders had decided for us that we don't need to hear about the Rwandan genocide, as it's far too grim and depressing to bear thinking about? Fuck no.

Not even remotely comparable; there is no downside to letting us know that such a horrible thing happened. It wouldn't suddenly push the population to abandon all hope and let the mob come back in and turn it all into their personal playground again.

In the UK, we've just bust open the can of worms that seemingly our entire media network, but particularly the parts run by the Murdoch empire, are corrupt and guilty of criminal offences. Several high ranking NewsCorp individuals have already been charged for criminal offences. Would it have been better if the authorities decided "Hey, those British people deserve to be able to read their newspapers without wondering if the proprietors destroyed evidence in the case of a murdered schoolgirl"?

Again, not even remotely comparable. Exposing that exposed the crimes of dozens of individuals and showed that money does not buy the law. Exposing the truth didn't let the entire mob back out on the streets and cause the civillian populace to be at their mercy again.

Without the truth, we've got nothing. Every great advance in human history has come from pursuing the truth, whether it be democracy's admission that people deserve to choose their own leaders, or science's revelations that we are but a small planet in a large universe.

And I could point out an equal amount of advances built on lies.

The minute that Batman and Gordon decided that Gotham didn't need to know about Harvey Dent being a murderer, they placed themselves in a position of moral certainty, without any justification, and made choices on behalf of Gotham that should not have been made. There is no accountability with Batman and Gordon's plan. They covered up a crime, and no-one can hold them responsible for it.

Except you keep missing the fact that Gotham would be objectively worse if Dent's crimes were exposed. When a DA gets investigated every last case he ever touched is put under a microscope, and with the entire mob now back in full swing you can bet that they'll use all their power to get every last criminal Dent put away out on the streets again. The people of Gotham will see that there is no point in trying to be good, because the mob will just take it all away from you like they have been doing for decades.

Tell me, what did Gotham have to gain by learning the truth about Harvey Dent? Does the truth make the pain of losing loved ones any less? Does the truth protect the people of Gotham from the mob? Does the truth stop Gotham's police force from giving in and looking the other way when the mob tells them to?

What good is the truth if it brings nothing but pain, misery and death to people and steals away their future? Your moral absolution is fine on paper, but blind adherence to it does not make you a good person, if it comes down to telling a lie to save the entire human race you are not a good or just person for telling the truth.

He may well, as in the animated series, been going nuts long before he ever got his face burnt off. And here's the thing: if he had been brought to justice, an investigation would have been conducted to see if that was just the case. But as it is, Batman and Gordon are just assuming that Harvey was actually a swell guy before he started killing people, and his performance as DA was never negatively affected by the fact that he may well have been a but nuts.

Again, you make the clear mistake of assuming that killing a person requires a minor crazy, but all but a few of killers in the series are ever irrational killers. Falcone killed to preserve his business. Crane killed to preserve the League's plot. Raj and the League killed out of a sense of duty to fight criminals and the sources of criminality. In fact, in the entire series only the Joker killed impulsively, and even then there was almost always a rational reason behind it ("It's not about the money, it's about sending a message").

But once again, how do Gordon and Batman know this? They are making assumptions about a guy who they knew for only a brief period of time. Assumptions that a criminal investigation could find to be falsely grounded.

Batman, being as paranoid as he is, investigated him (and we saw him doing just that in the beginning). Gordon has had a long history with Dent and knows him from his days in Internal Affairs. And if he had the slightest bit of dirt in his history either the media would have exposed it or hte mob would have used it to blackmail him when he put the screws to them.

Both men knew Harvey Dent well; Gordon from experiences in watching him work and Batman from investigating him to see if he was on the level. You honestly think Batman would be willing to hand protection of the city over to a man he wasn't 100% sold on?

And this is the essential question: would you destroy all the good that came from a person just out of an adherence to ideology? That is the point of the latter two movies. Rigid loyalty to ideology, even when it is truth and justice, can destroy the very thing you hoped to save. If Dent, the White Knight of Gotham can be brought down, anyone can. There is no hope in that world, no reason to try again. "The Joker took our best and tore him down." Batman's a vigilante. The police force is hopelessly corrupt. The Joker won and the mobs continue to rule.

The truth is not an ideology. The truth is simply the telling of events as they happen, not as they should, could or would have happened.

Your belief that the truth should always be told consequences be damned is an ideology. I wonder what would happen if the fate of every last human being in existence came down to telling a lie, how your belief in always letting the truth be known will treat you, if it's going to be that comforting guide or shackles that make you wipe out humanity.

And sorry, but those comments about Dent serve only to show the hyperbole surrounding his entire situation. He's one fucking DA. The spirits of Gotham's people do not rise and crash based on the status of one man. No man is that important, especially not an overglorified lawyer.

You keep discounting how hopelessly corrupt Gotham is. Cops meet opennly with mobsters, crime bosses can buy off security to get a gun into a courtroom to murder a DA, if a person goes missing for more than a day people automatically assume they're at the bottom of the river. And nobody can make anything stick because the mob will just buy off whoever they have to in order to get their guys off.

Dent is important not because he's DA, it's because he's the first man to legimitately challenge the corruption that became routine for decades and surivive. He's a living example that you can try and make Gotham a better place and that it can work. The Mayor even spelt it out when he mentioned the only reason the charges against the entire mob stuck is because people had enough faith in Harvey Dent and his ability to pull it off.

You don't seem to understand that sometimes it comes down to just one man; without George Washinton the Continental Army would have collapsed during the war, or rebelled against Congress after it. Without Ghandi India would not have left British rule as it did, without Martin Luther King the civil rights movement would not have been as sucessful, fuck to Goodwin this without Hitler Germany would never have become the economic powerhouse it did.

One man with a lot of charasma and enough will can change the world. That is the time of person that Harvey Dent is; the one person who can make Joe and Jane Gotham believe that a better future is impossible after decades of evidence to the contrary.

Moral ambiguity is the name of the game in this case. It's clear even at the end of the Dark Knight that no one wanted that ending. Batman wanted Dent to be the hero to save Gotham, as did Gordon. But the Joker won, and now you have to choose between two evils: The truth where everything goes back to the way it was, endemic corruption and violence, and the Joker having the last laugh or do you state a lie that will keep it all from falling apart?

Let me ask you a question: Suppose that it came out that in the last year of George Bush's first term, it turned out that he'd murdered five people and that the CIA had covered it up. America was caught in two wars in the Middle East, and the CIA decided that it was more important that America stay united behind a single leader during a time of crisis, rather than letting the truth of the situation be known? Would you support that? Because the presidency is a damn sight more important than any DA position, and the revelation that a President engaged in serial murder would possibly enough to throw the country into anarchy.

Not a good comparison; Dent committed those four murders on the last day of his life, his importance was not as a DA but as a symbol whereas in Bush's case there are over a dozen people in a line to replace him, Bush was never a symbol and to be honest the idea that it would be enough to throw the country into anarchy is just hyperbole to the point of hilarity.

If Bush murdered five people, the world wouldn't end, Americans wouldn't believe that the country was unsalvagable and Dick Cheney would become President.

You're getting hung up on Dent's job and not on his position as a symbol of hope. The only symbol Bush ever was was as a symbol of incompetency.

Do we let murderers off simply based on how important they are as people? Because the minute we do that, we abandon the notion of justice as a force that applies to everyone, and instead embrace the notion that it only applies selectively to those we want it to.

Err, what justice? Dent died. If Dent survived and they covered it up, that would be different, but he died. He got off with nothing but a broken neck.

And what is Justice? Something to punish the guilty or protect the innocent? Is it a rigid set of rules or a flexible spirit? Can blind adherence to Justice bring about Injustice?

Sometimes, all you can do is lie and tell them everything is going to be alright, because the despair of the truth can be worse than the lie.

"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."

John 8:32

I'm not normally one to quote Bible passages, but in this case it's apt. The truth is not a political ideology. It is not a religious mantra. It never changes to suit the times, it never switches allegiances, it never becomes a lie. With the truth, you always know where you stand. You may not like it, it may bring you to the point of despair, but at least with the truth you have something from which you can rebuild yourself. A lie is liable to change at any second, and is therefore a terrible thing on which to broker a city's peace.

I call bullshit; if the truth brings death on an untold scale and a lie keeps them alive, who in their right-fucking-mind would ever pick the truth?

I reiterate my previous point, if you're standing on a rooftop next to a man about to jump off to his death, and he asks you a question that you know the truth to, whilst knowing that telling him the truth will make him jump, what do you do? If you tell him the truth does that free you from the consequences that it entails? Does that mean that you hold no responsiblity for that man's death?

And if so, where does it stop? At what point does telling the truth cross the line into bringing injustice? Or is it one of those things you never compromise on, not even in the face of armageddon.

Think about it. Batman and Gordon's entire peace could have been undone at any point by a plucky police officer who decided to investigate the murders in his off-time, or by a lucky security CCTV camera that happened to catch one of the shootings on tape, or by an investigative journalist looking deeper into the issues than what was given to the media. A lie is like shifting sand, and is a terrible thing on which to base justice.

Well apparantly Dent never went past a CCTV camera, and the only evidence that would link Dent to any of the crimes would be eyewitnesses, of which there are; Gordon and his family, the latter of which left Gotham over the lie, Batman whose taking the blame for the crimes and is already an illegal vigilante, and the one corrupt cop Dent didn't kill, who is obviously not proud of selling Rachel out to her death and would keep quiet out of her own guilt. The only evidence linking Dent to any of the crimes would be the gun that was used to kill the dirty cop and Falcone's driver, and all that proves is that Dent held the gun that killed them. Gordon could just say that Batman had it, Dent struggled with him and stole the gun before firing off one round at Batman, at which point the gun residue wound up on his clothing. Beyond that there's no evidence to link Dent to any of the crime scenes; both victims had come into contact with Dent before so any hair samples being found there is inconclusive, ditto fingerprints on the car, and all that stuff decays very quickly.

Simply put after a few months there would be no evidence left to contridict the offical story.

The Gentleman:

So, from the political perspective, what do you make of the themes in Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy?

I agree it is a Conservative movie. Your post of Douthat reminds me of Thomas Sowell's book on the vision of the anointed. He condemns liberals for being Utopians searching for something that can never exist. The vision of conservatives, or the benighted, realize there are trade offs and that we look for the best possible world.

Gotham is corrupt, but the alternative brought by Bane (even without a ticking time bomb)is worse.

See also Die Hard 4. The kid wanted to see what would happen if we could start over, wipe the slate clean. With everything haywire, John McClane admonishes him that he's gotten his wish, and it sucks.

Bane's and indeed The League of Shadows' motivations are ones I can wholeheartedly get behind. The structures that govern western society are decadent and corrupt. But that does not justify wholesale anarchy.

As always with those who would put in place any kind of society that resembles being socialist, they have the ends right but screw up the means. Shame really because imagine what mankind could accomplish without all the socio-economic back-biting that goes on these days. If we lived in a truly united world, there is nothing we as a species could not eventually accomplish.

Danny Ocean:
I'm pretty sure I read that Nolan himself said it was apolitical, he just played on contemporary fears and crises in each film. In the Dark Knight, it's an incomprehensible terrorist. In Rises, it's the kind of proletarian/libertarian uprising that so many have been spouting off for.

Hell, Rises is so topical I'm amazed the script was written years ago.

That's because western society has been politically stagnant since the 80s basically.

Alandoril:
Bane's and indeed The League of Shadows' motivations are ones I can wholeheartedly get behind. The structures that govern western society are decadent and corrupt. But that does not justify wholesale anarchy.

As always with those who would put in place any kind of society that resembles being socialist, they have the ends right but screw up the means. Shame really because imagine what mankind could accomplish without all the socio-economic back-biting that goes on these days. If we lived in a truly united world, there is nothing we as a species could not eventually accomplish.

Of course, Bane does not really believe what he is publicly saying. His intention from the beginning is to destroy Gotham and he is not trying to build a better society. In fact he is probably sabotaging any efforts by the people to organize into anything beyond gangs and warlordism.

The League of Shadows does not seem to have any plans to build a new society. Rather their strategy is to destroy what they see as a failed society and hope that something better will arise from the ashes. They do not really seem to have a vision of they want society to be.

I think it is telling that the rioting and looting does not really start till Bane releases the Blackgate prisoners. Only then does law and order fully break.

I absolutely hated the political theme behind this movie. I worked extensively in the occupy movement, particularly with occupy Seattle and Occupy Everett. With that in mind let's make some comparisons between the occupy movment and the dark night rises.

The occupy movement was a political protest against corporate greed, the corruption of Wall Street, and corporation's control of politics. Protesters advocated putting politics back into the hands of the people, not corporations.

In the Movie the Dark Night Rises, Bane takes over the city with an angry mob that systematically execute corporate executives. Bane says that he's giving the city back to the people, not corporate executives.

The occupy movement was fought by police on every front. The police daily attempted to infringe on our constitutional right to assemble and our right to freedom of speech. In many cases the police fired rubber bullets, gas canisters and pepper spray into crowds of peaceful protesters.

In the movie there is a scene where an army of police officers face off against Bane's mob. It was a hyper glorification of police action, showing them as liberators for good, rather than reflecting the actual police action.

The politics behind this movie was a clear attempt to label the occupy movement as a villainous mob of homicidal rioters.

Shaoken:
HOLY MOTHER OF SNIP

Rather than respond to your every point, I'm going to quote Imperator, who sums up pretty much everything I would want to say in one beautiful post:

Imperator_DK:

The Gentleman:
...
Sometimes you have to lie. To strangers. To your friends. To yourself. We lie because the alternative is despair and surrender to fate. That is the lie that becomes the end of that movie: You have the choice between the truth that the Joker won and humans are beyond redemption, only a small push from the madness he embodied, or the lie that humans are good and can endure even the harshest times and still come out good in the end. If you believe that the rest of humanity chosen the truth, then you're only lying to yourself.

Capcha: face the music...

If humanity is that pathetic, then it'll need to shape up.

The information age is upon us, far fewer grand lies can remain buried forever, and no lie stand unchallenged. And when exposed - as indeed happened here in the third film - the string of lies will undermine the credibility of the authority telling them. In the end, nothing positive they say will ever be trusted, for good reason. Only reality offers stability and gains that can't be undone - with interest - with a few words.

...or worse yet, the population will eat it up, and the system can tell them whatever it wants. Including that it's all the fault of the Jews/Tutsi/etc., and that exterminating them is the answer. Grand lies either undermine authorities, or serve them rather the population. Only access to the truth allows for democratic control and seeking actual answer to deal with the problems reality pose. The lie have no place in politics or civic society at large, though people can of course cling to whatever delusions they want in their personal life, so long as they affect only themselves.

And there are indeed times, rare as they might be, where the rational thing to do would be to terminate ones existence, to be spared a future where suffering is the only option. Why would it be a bad thing to let people realize this, and give them the choice to terminate their existence to be spared this pain if they want?

@ Shoaken, I would also ask the following question about your argument:

You say in one sentence that Dent has effectively broken the Mob and rendered them ineffective. Yet in another sentence, you claim that the Mob is still a powerful entity, and 'back in full swing'. Which is it? Either the Mob is done for, in which case a review of Dent's cases would serve only to reinforce the judgement that these people should be in prison. Or the Mob is still in full swing, in which case it's obvious that Dent never achieved what everyone is praising him for in the first place.

Also, you claim that Gordon knows Dent is a swell guy because of his days at Internal Affairs. Would those be the same days where the cops gave Dent the nickname 'Harvey Twoface'? Because as far as I'm aware, giving someone the nickname Twoface is a pretty big hint that they're not the paragon of moral virtue people would like. Perhaps Dent changed from his days at IA. But the point still stands: if Dent's time at Affairs led him to get the name Twoface, how does that suggest that his history is clean enough that Gordon can assume he was never corrupt or a bit looney while DA?

JET1971:
I think they are Batman stories and go along with the comics but more dark themed. I dont see any political theme in them really and implying there is one can be considered foolish. hell with a good enough imagination you can make every movie seem political.

Agreed, people are seeing things that are not there.

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