I believe that two such articles written by Thomas Millary and appearing in recent Weather Vanes crossed this line.
The opinions expressed diverge so far from mainstream thought and attitudes that they move from ridiculous to irrelevant and finally become irresponsible. This threshold has been crossed by Millary at least twice in the month of November in two articles that analyzed movies.
One article featured a glorification of the violent methods used by the terrorist V in V for Vendetta, and the other lauded the actions taken by Bane in “The Dark Knight Rises.” Both articles talked about the violent methods that are needed to overthrow capitalism and both idealized a state of revolution.
I would argue that neither this outcome nor the methods that the author advocates are endorsed by the EMU community. The assumption that the overthrow of the current domestic order is desirable is at the heart of these articles.
However, at no point does Millary justify or defend this assumption. The articles both speak vaguely of capitalist oppression, but neither gives any concrete reason why we should throw away a system that has resulted in both broad freedoms and general prosperity.
This seems to be a glaring omission since the capitalist democracies across the world, from Europe to Japan, have led the charge in technological developments, human rights, and personal freedoms. In fact, many of the problems that we experience now are not because of the ideals of our society, but because we fail to live up to these ideals.
To not even address this in an opinion piece which calls for a violent overthrow of our system is at best a glaring omission, and at worst an intentional disregard of widely held attitudes and beliefs.
If it stopped here, these articles would merely be irrelevant and badly argued, but the articles do not call for a vague protest of the system, or gradual reforms. No, the voice of these articles consistently calls for violent revolution in the form of V and Bane. Despite idolizing Bane, these articles fail to mention that Bane is a vicious terrorist who erects Kangaroo courts, sentences innocent people to death, and rules through fear.
Bane’s revolution is not what Millary imagines it to be. It is not an uprising of the people, it is the opposite. It does not lessen oppression but increases it. Millary seems to imagine that if this revolution played out in real life the outcome would be different, but history tells us that it would not. From the French Revolution to the Arab spring, revolutions are dangerous affairs which are just as likely to result in oppression as they are in liberation. Yet the article ignores this fact and goes so far as to conclude with the sentence, “Sometimes starting a fire is worth dying for.” This is not ridiculous, it is scary.
We live in a world where we have the means to exact revolutionary violence, no matter how unwanted or misplaced. When Millary calls for us to die starting a fire, he may believe that he is simply making a bold rhetorical statement.
Unfortunately, too many fires have been started when a troubled person picks up a cause and a gun. Because a call to arms may be taken seriously, our community cannot afford to ignore this attitude.
Opinions and ideas have power. When reading this person’s articles, it is easy to forget that revolution means death and chaos. In war zones, parents are killed, children are raped, and people pray for peace. This is the world created by “heroes” like Bane and V.
Instead of focusing his talents on calls for us to create this misguided nightmare, I believe that Millary would would be better off calling for the reforms and changes that can lead us to a better tomorrow.
We can make a difference, but if we believe that our voice can only be found in violent revolution, then a better world becomes not just unlikely but possible.
-David Yoder, Opinion Editor