Triumph of the Will


Matthew Yglesias wins the coveted Metaphor-of-the-Day Award with this compare-and-contrast of last-throes neoconservative philosophy and the powers of Hal Jordan.

As you may know, the Green Lantern Corps is a sort of interstellar peacekeeping force set up by the Guardians of Oa to maintain the peace and defend justice. It recruits members from all sorts of different species and equips them with the most powerful weapon in the universe, the power ring.

The ring is a bit goofy. Basically, it lets its bearer generate streams of green energy that can take on all kinds of shapes. The important point is that, when fully charged what the ring can do is limited only by the stipulation that it create green stuff and by the user's combination of will and imagination.

Suffice it to say that I think all this makes an okay premise for a comic book. But a lot of people seem to think that American military might is like one of these power rings. They seem to think that, roughly speaking, we can accomplish absolutely anything in the world through the application of sufficient military force. The only thing limiting us is a lack of willpower.

The source of Yglesias' ire is this Reuel Marc Gerecht essay, which is predictably nutbar. What's less predictable is the entry of a liberal pundit onto well-trod Reason turf. Nick Gillespie used superheroes to discuss culture and plenitude in 2003; two weeks back, Jesse Walker unpacked his many thoughts on Superman in America and in his new blockbuster movie.