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Captain America?

The Blog



Captain America?

Scott Alexander

Spoiler alert – I have an inner geek!  I actually have boxes of old comic books in my basement from when I had subscriptions.

And one of my favorites was Captain America.

Not for the flag waving original, but the cold war version of the 80’s.  I still have the issue when he surrendered his red, white, and blues and donned a black suit/shield.  I think it was vogue then to have heroes expose their dark side.

In the latest movie, we find that the issues of 2014 haven’t changed much from the 1980’s except for the technology.  The supersoldier who was supposed to take orders from his government is realizing this:  who you take orders from really does matter.  Or simply stated: Principles matter. 

The movie does a great job of raising the question of freedom vs. safety. 

It is a timely conundrum.  In the wake of any tragic school shooting, we rehash the debate over keeping our children safe.  I tend to believe that NO ONE disagrees with the notion that our kids should be safe.  So, if we take safety and focus on it solely, then the answer is easy:  Build our schools with no windows, don’t let the children outside to play, armed guards at every entrance with metal detectors, outlaw backpacks, strict adherence to uniform dress codes, school issued books and utensils only. 

Uh oh – safety doesn’t sound so pretty does it?

There is no such thing as a single variable problem in our complex society.  Therefore, every situation is dynamic.  And in any dynamic interaction, we are both winning and losing at the same time.  In the above scenario, we are gaining safety but compromising freedom. 

True leaders understand the complexities with which they are faced.  They also know that small adjustments create momentum that will be self-sustaining if the adjustments are based on sound principles. 

This is why I love this latest superhero movie – the action is intense, the character is developing, there’s a sense of realism and a tie to our lives now – in short, it is very entertaining. 

But more importantly, the movie makes you think, it makes you ask questions…and questions move us along the path toward understanding our principles.

Interestingly enough, this particular conundrum/principle is definitely not new:

“They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

These words were written by Ben Franklin in 1755!