The Rights and Utilities of Avengers

In Capitan America Civil War, the Avengers are plagued with a bad case of bureaucrats. I haven’t finished the movie, but at this point, the heroes are given an ultimatum by the UN. Either they can submit to the jurisdiction of the UN, or they have to renounce their vigilante activities.

This dilemma has really weighed on me. I’ve always been disappointed that superhero movies never acknowledge how much damage the superheros do, just to get one bad guy. Sometimes it doesn’t seem worth it in the end. Superheros are basically natural disasters. I’ll bet a ton of people die in the wreckage. I’ll bet a ton of people starve from losing their jobs. I’ll bet no one has insurance for disasters of this scale.

What would I do, if I were King of the UN? What would I do, as a superhero myself? That’s tough.

In the movie, the heroes are handed a ream of paper of the terms and conditions of the proposed agreement. First of all, they need to see a lawyer. Second of all, each hero needs to sign the agreement separately. What adds tension in the movie, is that they make it sound like they all need to sign it collectively. They make it sound like they need to be all in or all out. Even within the movie-universe this doesn’t make much sense because the membership roster of the Avengers is highly fluid. People join and leave on a regular basis.

The Avengers are needed most to fight SHIELD (the agency that is supposed to support superheros, but is constantly being infiltrated by Hydra). Even without the help of Hydra, SHIELD is prone to dropping nukes on New York City. It was Iron Man who sacrificed himself to stop a nuke that SHIELD launch on NYC. Having Iron Man on a leash would have effectively unleashed SHIELD. From a utilitarian perspective, it makes a lot of sense to allow the superheros to act independent of any higher power. We’ve been lucky so far to see only generous and kind people get super powers (except Scarlet Witch). Making them answerable for their actions won’t save more people.

It’s one thing to put people like Black Widow and Iron Man under the jurisdiction of the UN since she’s just a highly trained human and he’s just a guy in a suit. There’s nothing super about them. They can take a permanent vacation. It doesn’t work like that for Vision and Hulk. They couldn’t be normal if they tried. To force them to submit to a world government indefinitely… is slavery. It’s involuntary servitude. It’s pretty egregious to demand that superheros sign their life away because of who they are.

Finally, it doesn’t make sense to make threats if you can’t back them up. You can’t threaten the Hulk with imprisonment because he’s a demi-god. He does what ever he wants because only Iron Man can stop him. And Iron Man only barely stopped him at the expense of the Mega-Iron Man Suit. Thor definitely couldn’t be imprisoned. I doubt that Black Widow could be held against her will; she could easily escape.

As the King of the UN, I wouldn’t never propose such an ultimatum. As a superhero, I would never agree to such a thing.

What do you think? Right? Wrong? Pure poppycock?