There is a scene in the newest installment of Batman, where Catwoman and Batman capture a corrupt cop responsible for killing Catwoman’s friend. They uncover a plot that a criminal mastermind is behind the entire government of Gotham including the mayor, district attorney, and police department. After Catwoman hears the entirety of the plot she tells Batman to go kill the criminal mastermind and raises a gun to the head of her friend’s killer to get “vengeance” for her friend. Batman knocks the gun away and tells her no, not that way. He then says, “Cross that line, you’ll become just like him.” This is a common hero trope for many superhero movies: they could get what their unbridled passions desire, but they have to restrain those feelings in order to set an example and to do what is morally just. There are even times when their mercy comes back to hurt them later but what makes them heroic is that they stay true to their principle; they do not let their emotions control them. In today’s overly political climate, it is easy to want to surrender ourselves to the moment and to play the same games the other side does or to “hit back.” Using the ends to justify the means does not make us moral; achieving our goals by sacrificing our principles, while expedient, will come back to hurt us in the end. Like my mom always said, “just because your brother hits you, does not give you the right to hit him back.”
The Left was so aghast that Donald Trump might win a second term that they were determined to do whatever was necessary to stop him. The mainstream media lied, misdirected and suppressed whatever information they thought might hurt Biden. Social media companies also jumped onboard and suppressed what is now verified as fact. The Left weaponized the government against Donald Trump before he was even in office. The IRS targeted conservative organizations. The progressive Left has no problem using whatever means they have available to justify the result they want. We should not stoop to these levels because it then justifies their actions. In the wake of a shooting in El Paso, TX Representative Dan Crenshaw advocated for unconstitutional red flag laws. “Go woke, get broke” was a quote by Governor DeSantis when he used the weapon of government force against Disney. Republicans in Congress are now advocating for a Women’s Bill of Rights. What if a conservative organization was targeted by a governor based on their political views? Would we not justly be in outrage? If they advocated for a Transgender Bill of Rights, would we not say that special rights should not be given to special groups? If we no longer stand on principle, then we have crossed the line to becoming a Progressive and they can rightly point at our hypocrisy.
The Founding Fathers were very aware of human nature and how the passions of the people can enflame them to act in ways that are against their deeply held beliefs. In Federalist Paper #1, Hamilton warns us that demagogues are often the ones who turn tyrannical due to the obedience required by their followers. In other words, once they crossed the line, a republic is no longer an option. But one of the more interesting discoveries I had reading the introductory Federalist Paper, is Hamilton’s critique on the faction that took extremist views of anti-government and pro-liberty. “The noble enthusiasm of liberty is too apt to be infected with a spirit of narrow and illiberal distrust. On the other hand, it will be equally forgotten that the vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty.” He notes that liberty and the governments have mutual interests and that there is a danger of either side becoming too powerful. A common theme throughout the Federalist Papers is the acknowledgment of the danger passions and factions will have on the proposed government but a consistent call to instead commit ourselves to reason. For this Constitutional Republic to work we must have virtuous citizens and a core civic knowledge of the government bestowed on us.
An excellent example of staying reasoned and working within the authority of the Constitution is the FORMULA Act by Senator Mike Lee from Utah. Amidst the formula shortage, Senator Lee proposed legislation to reduce duties and tariffs on foreign formula and reduce the regulations surrounding importing formula. He is not only showing that Republicans actually do care about mothers and children but also that liberty and freedom of choice is the best way to do it. He recognizes the proper purpose of the federal government (duties and tariffs) and works within the powers granted to the federal government. He did not propose for a bureaucracy to fix the effort (or hand millions to a corrupt FDA) nor did he try to hand formula out for free. He rightly pointed out the idiocy of WIC (the supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children) only allowing parents to have limited selections of formula brands and attempted to fix it as well. He proposed well-reasoned legislation in a time where emotions and passions are running high and is attempting to fix the part of the problem the federal government should be responsible for.
To go back to another Batman reference, in The Dark Knight Batman is again faced with the opportunity to kill the antagonist Joker or capture him instead. He fights off the incredible instinct to kill the Joker and turns him over to the police. While in custody of the police, the Joker reveals that he has abducted Batman’s love, Rachel, and kills her. Later on, Batman throws him off the side of a building in the middle of a fight but quickly grabs a grappling gun and saves the Joker from falling to his death. As Batman hoists the Joker up, the Joker said, “You just couldn’t let me go, could you? …you truly are incorruptible, aren’t you? You won’t kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness.” To all the Freedom-Loving Citizens of the US, we must be incorruptible in our principles, standing firm on the bedrock laid by our Founding Fathers. We cannot cross the line and use government force to justify the ends. We cannot fight like the Progressives do. We must stand above the fray, because if we succumb to their actions, we become the very people we sought to oppose, and the line cannot be uncrossed.