April 20, 2016, by Anne S
Marvel’s civil war – unlimited power and no supervision
Should superheroes be subject to government oversight? Robyn Muir and Ibtisam Ahmed from the School of Politics and International Relations choose their team and explain why.
Robyn Muir is #TeamIronMan and in favour of regulation
The issue of regulation is something that surrounds us all, but what is it? Is it monitoring individual conduct or is it the check-up of actions to ensure safety for society? We have come to a point in the Marvel Universe where the concept of freedom is being stretched to its limits. By providing superhero regulation, we can focus on improving not only the lives within society, but also the lives of superheroes, similar to the way countries are beginning to look at drug regulation to improve society and the way individuals use cannabis. For Team Iron Man, it would not be Tony Stark that is regulated, but merely the way and the reasons he uses the Iron Man suit. This is not necessarily taking away decision making or individual autonomy – it is simply asking superheroes to account for the consequences of their actions.
Ibtisam Ahmed is #TeamCap and against regulation
The pro-regulation stance actively silences a crucial aspect of superheroes – namely, that they are human. There is an obvious difference between having control over Captain America’s shield and Steven Rogers as an individual. Taking away the decision-making capacity of heroes is a direct violation of their bodily autonomy to utilise their skills in the best possible way. Not to mention the fact that agendas will always come into play, similar to how British government policy regarding scientific innovation has recently come under fire. From a more pragmatic, security-based perspective, the concern with regulation is that the authorities that make the decisions have no contextual expertise that would make them qualified to control what our heroes do. Suggesting potential targets and holding heroes to account for the consequences of their actions is one thing, but pre-emptively ignoring their knowledge in the field is not only foolhardy but potentially dangerous.
Join Robyn and Ibi for an open conversation about the ideological civil war of the Marvel Universe on Tuesday 26 April 6.30pm in B63, Law and Social Sciences. The Popular Culture Lecture Series is free and open to all.
Poster Art by Kevin Tiernan