Since World War II, Nazis have been the go-to villain for much of popular entertainment. One of the most iconic photos of the golden age of comics is one of Captain America giving Adolf Hitler a sweet cross.
If you look now, enemies of freedom are still plentiful. Just look at the recent bombing in New York. But heroes aren’t as willing to go after them as they once did. Why is that?
A New Era, A New Enemy
Unlike days of yesteryear, the enemy isn’t as clear for the entire population. Heck, we’re pointing at each other before we look at those who bomb us. The overwhelming majority of the country knew the Nazis were the bad guys back then. They were allied with the Japanese who launched a sneak attack and bombed Pearl Harbor. Just four days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Nazi Germany declared war on the United States. They became the aggressors and the enemy of the people of the United States. We knew they were the bad guys and Americans across the country joined in the fight against both the Japanese and Nazi Germany. Even kids were picking up cans for the war effort against the fascist.
After the United States defeated the Germans, a new threat emerged in the Soviet Union and global communism. Americans were once again united against the Soviet Union and global communism which threatened to end the world in a nuclear holocaust. Stories of the horrors of communism behind the Iron Curtain were even worse than the atrocities committed by Hitler. Communism was now the threat that united an entire nation and just like the Nazi threat it spilled into comics.
America’s New Enemies
Today, their isn’t the overarching threat of the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany. In fact, many Americans cannot figure out who the enemy is. There are definitely a lot of enemies still out there. Probably the most prominent is ISIS. The radical Islamic State has carried out terrorist attacks for nearly half a decade with major attacks in Nice, France and Manchester, United Kingdom. Communism is also still a threat, but many Americans now fully embrace it albeit they call it Socialism or Democrat Socialism in order to avoid the social stigma of communism. Regardless, it’s still the same ideology that causes mass killings and mass starvation all in the name of the great myth of equality. In fact, the ideology has lead to the death of over 100 million of our fellow brothers and sisters.
Our heroes reflect our values in a lot of ways. And I believe this is very reflective of their current impotence in tackling the threat of ISIS and other Islamic terrorists as well as the vile ideology of communism.
Don’t get me wrong, terrorists are mentioned, but they’re more of an afterthought than a real enemy for the likes of our heroes to tackle. I don’t see Captain America punching groups of terrorists. In fact, in a recent story line Captain America is attacking actual American citizens. He also targets people who believe in free markets and capitalism, which have been core American values since the foundation of the country. But what might have been the biggest abomination is that Marvel allowed Captain America to actually become a Nazi. Instead of taking on terrorists and obvious villains, Marvel turned the ideal of American Spirit, Captain America, into a villain. They actually made this one of their flagship event stories. They actively promoted this as their best idea.
Terrorists including ISIS commit crimes just as heinous as the Soviets, Nazis, and other communists. While they might not be on the scale of these heinous groups, they commit mass rapes, mass murders, and are actively engaging in an open-market slave trade. There are horrible crimes. Where are the heroes saving Yazidi girls before they’re sent off to the slave market? Isn’t this a big real-world issue that Marvel and other comic book publishers can tackle? I mean where’s Wonder Woman, the great Icon of female empowerment?
You Can Punch a Nazi, but Not ISIS?
This is the question. But why is that the case? Could it be that certain elements of the current comic industry are too scared to take a stand? It has become very politically correct to excuse terrorist attacks and even those who carry them out in our modern culture. Even in Sweden we see nations and cities accepting terrorists back with open arms.
There are those who claim that the threat posed by ISIS and other like-minded groups isn’t a reality. In fact, Canada just passed a motion to silence critics of Islam. Lorne Gunter of the Edmonton Sun described the bill:
While purporting to oppose all forms of religious discrimination, the only form specifically mentioned is Islamophobia. And no definition of Islamophobia is given, leaving the door wide open to the broadest possible interpretations – including public statements condemning radical Islamic terrorism and even academic papers questioning whether Islam truly is a religion of peace.
This is in Canada, just north of the border. While Americans might not feel the boot of government weighing them down for criticism, they are feeling societal pressure. Already voices in Europe are telling people they must “learn to live with terrorism.” Both the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and the London Mayor Sadiq Khan have told their people this.
Because of this, I find it unlikely that we’ll see Superman or Captain America stepping in against ISIS terrorists anytime soon. We’re just lucky that at this point they’re even mentioned in any panels. This inability to go after ISIS also might have another reason.
Why Aren’t We Able To Punch ISIS?
While there is political pressure to protect any kind of criticism of Islam including terrorists who work with ISIS to kill innocent people, there is also a political movement in the United States to paint anyone who does not kowtow to the dangerous communist ideology that has taken over the Democratic Party and much of its followers as Nazis. Nazis are the ancient enemy of the United States. Captain America got started punching Hitler (see above). What better way to destroy your political opponent in the minds of a poorly educated public than to label them Nazis. Why would you want to redirect the hate you have created to another opponent that is actually killing and murdering your fellow citizens. Why would you want to prop up this new enemy, when you can destroy your primary political opponent?
If Captain America decided to take on an ISIS-like group, then you just might be admitting that a significant portion of your ideology is wrong and all the time and energy you spent denigrating conservatives as Nazis could all be for naught. You would be erasing all the hard work you did to infiltrate and co-opt media companies to push the deadly communist ideology.
For a large segment of the population, which includes many comic book creators, it’s more important to fight your political enemies than those who want to throw you off buildings or stone you to death. In fact, the current writer of Captain America, Mark Waid, labeled Republicans as pedophiles. Waid isn’t alone. Marvel writer Gabby Rivera also espouses anti-white racism. This is where our discourse is at, and it’s pretty reflective in our comics. It’s why you probably won’t see Marvel and DC superheroes taking a stand against ISIS any time soon unless some significant changes are made.
What do you think? Do you want to see Captain America taking the fight to ISIS or did you enjoy him becoming Hydra Cap and the antithesis of everything he once stood for?